Setting Up For Success

I had a lovely walk today on the nearly deserted streets of Athens, which, if you’ve ever been, is quite a treat. I didn’t have to contort mid step to get around colliding with people walking in the opposite direction. I didn’t have to mutter under my breath at people walking too slowly or completely blocking the sidewalk for little or no reason. I was only yelled at once in a language I couldn’t identify, but since this has never happened while walking the busy streets with Chad (who stayed up late last night and elected to stay home during my walk), I’ll call it a fluke. Or someone who just hates girls who wear sunglasses (I have no idea what he said – for all I know, he was just really loud and gruff about liking my t-shirt or was astounded that I wasn’t bundled up like everyone else; Canadians for the win – it was 19 degree weather and everyone else was in jackets).

Since I enjoy the process of getting there, I decided to visit the square where the Athens Free Tour starts. It looked like half the people in town where there, shopping at the flea market, since nearly everything else in town was closed (Boxing Day is more of a North American thing that has only creeped into some parts of Europe). Before I ran away due to claustrophobia, I did see some break dancing Santas.


That made braving Monastiraki Square totally worth it.

Upon arriving home to be buzzed in by my very sleepy boyfriend (who still hadn’t been to bed in fear of not hearing me buzz in and essentially locking me outside forever since you need a key to lock the door and we only have one – and leaving the door unlocked is not an option), I had a sandwich and realized I wasn’t feeling very well. Really not great. Was I just procrastinating and didn’t want to do the workouts I have scheduled today?

The unscheduled two-hour nap I fell into while trying to rewarm my body proved that I wasn’t just procrastinating. I mentally pushed my workout schedule back, which I hate doing, but when you are actually sick, you need to take care of your body and listen to what it is saying.

That being said, I hate missing a workout, especially since I am so determined to look awesome at my brother’s wedding in April. I decided that I would still move the bulk of my workout to tomorrow, but since Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays are my Hundred Pushups training days, I decided to at least get Week 3 Day 2 done. The program consists of 5 rounds with a short rest period between each, and according to my schedule, I was meant to do 14-rest-19-rest-14-rest-14-rest-AMRAP (as many reps as possible). I delighted myself by accidentily doing 20 reps while my mind wandered off in the second round. I also took some extended rest periods, to make sure I wasn’t pushing my body more than it wanted. When it came to the AMRAP round, I told myself that I wasn’t going to do the minimum (which, according to the program, in this case was 19). Too often I’ve used that number as my goal instead of telling myself that I can surpass it.

So that’s what I did. I decided to try to do more. The most I’ve ever logged in one set on Fitocracy is 25, but those weren’t in a row (part of a HIIT challenge). I decided to try for 26, just so I could have a new high score.

A funny thing happened. I got to 20, which was more than the minimum, and I was still going. I got to 25 and knew it was just one more than my goal. I got to 26 and said, “Screw this, I’m doing 30!” (In my head, because I can barely breathe with proper form, let alone talk while doing pushups.)

And 30 is what I did. I couldn’t believe it. It used to be for the longest time that all I could do was 10. The thing is: I probably could have done more – I had just never tried.

After a break, I tried again to see if I could hit 30. I did it again!

For anyone who wants to rain on my parade, sure, I could probably work on my form to get a little lower than I currently do. I’m also horrible at tighter grip pushups, and prefer having my legs slightly apart (it feels like I engage my abs more) than right tight together. I could be a pessimist and get caught up in those details, but for once, I am going to be excited about this achievement. I am very used to being a failure at fitness, and this success feels really good. It has my mood elevated. I even decided to toss in a few burpees and squats while I’m at it, taking lots of breaks to listen to my body.

If there is one tip I can give anyone who is trying to achieve a goal, any type of goal, it is this: don’t be happy with doing the bare minimum. That doesn’t mean that you should set out to break world records on your first try, but if you want to get better, you need to work at it. Aim to get better every time you try, because it is not about perfection, but progress.

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