“Arrgh! I just blew my diet! I can’t do this! It’s too hard for me. I’m such a loser.” “Working out is too hard. I’ll never be able to keep it up!” Have these statements or something similar ever crossed your mind? We can be very cruel to ourselves when it comes to our inner voice and just because it’s us giving the verbal abuse, doesn’t make it any less damaging than if it was someone at home or work dishing it out. Just like abuse from an external source, this kind of negative self-talk can have some pretty serious effects on an individual.
Some of the harmful effects include:
- increased stress and anxiety
- increases feelings of depression
- decreased self-esteem
- limited success in whatever you’re trying to accomplish (let’s face it, you’ll talk yourself right out of trying)
We are what we believe ourselves to be. So, don’t diminish yourself. Change is difficult and you will have ups and downs. Expect that. It’s part of the process. However much you do, it’s more than you’ll be doing if you quit and every little bit helps. Tell yourself how well you’re doing as you challenge yourself to change. Be your own friend.
Note: maybe you start a negative self-talk jar (like a swear jar) and every time you talk down to yourself, you have to put in a dollar. Save the money up to do something that makes you feel good about yourself.
There all kinds of “Challenges” running about on the internet. They are set periods of time in which you do or don’t do something throughout that time. Challenges can be great ways to jumpstart a program. Most people can do something difficult to attain a particular goal. However, before you jump on the bandwagon, there are a few considerations that you should take into account.
- Don’t just do a challenge because it’s out there. I saw a “30 minute plank challenge” on Facebook that was ridiculous. First, there’s no point to doing a plank for 30 minutes and second, couldn’t you choose a challenge that is more meaningful and more likely to help you reach your goals?
- Choose a challenge that sets up behavioral change beyond the timeframe. Say you want to eat better, maybe the challenge is to eat no processed foods. For a short time this might be a good one and, beyond the end of it, you’ll be in better control and better aware of eating at least less of those food items.
- Choose to prepare for something. Maybe you want to train for a certain event such as a race or a hike or an obstacle course. Couch to 5K is an example of that.
- You can create your own challenge. Don’t get hung up on looking for a set program to do. Just create your own.
- Do it with a friend. Doing things that are challenging are typically more successful if you have the support of, and share the experience with, a friend.
- Choose a timeframe that is realistic. If the chosen timeframe is too short, it is either unrealistic to reach your goal or it’s not much of a challenge. Many programs run 6, 8, 12 weeks (don’t ask me why, but I don’t see many 10 wk programs). These lengths give enough time to accomplish something meaningful.
- Review your success once the challenge is done. After you complete your challenge, you should take a good look at what you’ve accomplished and appreciate the effort that you put into it. Maybe it wasn’t perfect. That’s okay. It’s not all or nothing. Look at it in percentages. In example, if you meant to eat breakfast every day and you only did it half of the time, that’s still 50% more than you were doing before. Or, you were training for a running event and you only could get in 3 of the 4 miles per day that you set out to do. That’s still 75% of your goal. In both examples, good for you!
Challenges, something done or not done for a set period of time, may be a way to change your behaviors or accomplish something on your bucket list. Think about what change would be meaningful to you and set up a challenge to get yourself started.
Good luck, and please let me know if you could use some help with this.
Push ups have long been a standard for assessing strength, muscle endurance, stroking egos, and now even serving as a way to bring attention to the 22 veterans that commit suicide every day (started by a group Honor Courage Commitment). One of the big reasons is that it is great exercise that challenges the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core muscles and requires no equipment. The problem is that if you are just starting out with strength training, your body weight will probably be too much to do an effective push up. Even modified (from your knees) push ups may be too much. Well, there’s another way to create the push up progression that’s right for you.
It’s about the angles. Without getting into the physics of it, the more inclined your body is, the less you are directly opposing gravity and the easier the movement is. So, by adjusting the body angle, you can select the challenge level that is appropriate for you.
Start your push up program at a staircase, with your feet close to the bottom step. Lean forward and reach out placing your hands on the step that allows your body to be in a strong, straight plank position. Space your hands so they are just outside of shoulder width. Pick a target number of repetitions that you want to be able to do on the floor (let’s say 22). See how many push ups you can do at this angle. Do one set of as many as you can every day (yes, you can do them every day). When you can do 22 reps, move to the next step down on the staircase. With each completion of 22 reps, continue the progression to the next step until you are doing them off the floor. Et voila! Push up king!
Of course you don’t have to stop there. Once you are doing full push ups on the floor, you could then go back to the steps and start working on your one-arm push ups.