My 100x Day Push Up Failure

As you’ve probably realized by now, I get super pumped up about taking on new goals ;)  It doesn’t matter if I have ten already going on, or just one – if I come across something that excites me I jump right in.  And such was the case last week when I came across this 100 push ups a day one.

Now, maybe I was over confident or maybe I was just being an idiot (don’t answer that), but for whatever reason I thought I could revert back to my teenage years and just rock these pushups out w/out a sweat.  After all, I was the king of them back in the day! Unfortunately I was dead wrong this time around… I nailed the first 10 w/out any problem whatsoever, then slowly got out the next 20, but by the time we hit 30, and then 35, I thought my arms were gonna explode and it would be the ultimate end of my blogging career :(  What the hell happened to me??  And why did it take me another 1/2 day just to eek out 5 more in the end?

I was in shock.  And pretty embarrassed, if you want the truth.  I decided to give it a rest for the remaining day and try again in the next morning.  But that was even worse. I think I made it to 11 or 12 until my body just gave in and I hit the floor…

Why share all this with you today, and let everyone know I’m a big wussie?  Cuz it’s a PERFECT example of how *not* to take on a goal. And you better believe it relates to handling your finances too.

Don’t Go “All In” With Your Goals From The Start

If you’re anything like me, you get super excited about stuff and just want to kill it and start feeling all proud of your self and what not – but don’t fall for it! Take things slow and build up to your goal while your body/wallet gets used to things.

It’s the one major area I failed at myself when handling my money after college. I kept trying to save $100 every paycheck, and would xfer it over into my savings every 2 weeks, but at the end of the month I’d always end up xfering it all back and feeling like a failure!  It took me forever to realize that I was biting off more than I could chew, and as soon as I dropped it to $50/mo, I was *winning* every single month.  It was awesome. And more importantly, I felt like I was accomplishing something.

Small Steps Add Up!

When I was relaying this push up debacle w/ my brother, he told me I should start as tiny as I could, and then slowly do more every day incrementally.  Initially I hated the idea cuz I could do more than 1 pushup a day for sure! (it’s like telling someone to start saving just $1.00!), but the idea of starting from ground up and slowly letting my body get used to it did seem nice.  And after 5 days in a row now, I’m proud to say I’ve met every day’s goal so far ;)  I do the previous day’s # of pushups, and then add 1 more on top of it.  So today I’ll do 6, and then tomorrow I’ll do 7, and then 8, 9, etc. It’s definitely not something to start bragging about anytime soon, but I must admit I’m feeling a helluva lot better then when I was doing 35 and dying.  And I guarantee at day #35 I’ll be doing them even easier!

Make Sure To Look Forward to Your Goals! 

Not all goals will be crazy exciting, but the more you can get jazzed about something and really be proud of your accomplishments, the more odds you’ll succeed in the end.  I would much rather be sitting here telling you I’m nailing a hundred push ups a day, but after that first shot at it all the remaining joy I had was sucked out. I really wanted to give up.  Doing a handful a day, though, and slowly getting better and better is a completely different feeling :) Not only is it more exciting, but it’s also DO-ABLE! And the same goes for saving money or cutting out debt every month too.

I know we always talk about how small things add up over time and what not, but it’s totally true.  And I think it’s important to remind ourselves of it so we can be proud of our accomplishments and keep striving to get better.

My 401(k) Lesson

I can’t remember if I’ve ever blogged about this or not, but back when I was like 21 or 22 my dad kept trying to get me to sign up to my company’s 401(k) plan but I kept “forgetting” to do it because I never thought it would amount to anything.  And working at Continental Airlines at the time, the only thing I could think of was “Every $25 saved could be a round trip ticket anywhere in the country instead!”  I had no concept of long-term savings or retirement, but I eventually gave in and did it and to this day it’s been one of the best things I’ve ever done.

For one thing, I totally forgot about it once it was set up, so it took no effort on my side whatsoever to keep “being good” about it all.  It evaded my thoughts for a good 6-8 months until my dad asked me – yet again – if I had done what he had advised of a handful of months earlier.  I proudly told him that I had, and when I went to see what was in there I had a good $700-$800 saved up!  It was incredible!!  And it totally changed my perspective as well.  The fact that you could not only KEEP money for so long like that, but that it could also GROW and grow too was a beautiful new concept for me.

I continued this practice of 401(k) investing for the next 8 or 9 years, slowly upping the % when I could, and especially when my employers would match a good chunk, and by the time I went to xfer the money out into IRAs instead (when I went solo), I had over $179,000 in it.  WOW.  All from incrementally adding in more, and taking advantage of both an excellent investing vehicle and TIME.  If there’s anything that can really work in your favor (and even against you, actually) it’s TIME.  You set up all those processes and work towards your goals slowly over the years though, and another 10, 20 years from now you’ll be thanking yourself like crazy.

So whatever it is you’re working on these days, remember to be excited about it and keep taking things slowly cuz it def. all adds up. We’ll see how much better I get with my crazy push up goals over here, but regardless you can bet your sweet ass I’ll continue to save! Better to work on it sooner than later too, cuz Lord knows we’re not getting any younger ;) Who’s with me?

(Photo by greggoconnell)

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  1. Adam April 16, 2012 at 7:30 AM

    Love this post J$. I saw you mention this challenge on your facebook and was surprised by how easy you thought it would be…I LOVE that you called yourself out on it with this post.

    You’re absolutely right about momentum and progress over time being more important than setting yourself a HUGE goal to tackle immediately….it can be so scary/daunting.

  2. J. Money April 16, 2012 at 9:35 AM

    Thanks bro! Yeah, gotta share all the fails along with all the wins or it would be too fake ;) And I’d say I have a good mix between ’em both over the years, haha… we do the best we can though, eh?

  3. GB @ In Budgets We Trust April 16, 2012 at 11:16 AM

    I’ve heard of that challenge before! One of my girlfriends did it to get beautiful arms for her wedding! At first I thought, why would a girl want to do a hundred pushups a day, but I quickly realized the gender flaw in that thought process. Finances and pushup goals aren’t a mens only thing anymore :)

  4. Jen @ Master the Art of Saving April 16, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    I totally agree with you on this one, aside from making the idea of starting out saving a dollar sound bad. That’s pretty much what I did to get started (back in the day) and over time I was able to increase it.

    I don’t think I could do 100 push-ups either. ;-) Good luck getting to 100, it all adds up.

  5. Sarah L April 16, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    J$, you should issue a financial challenge for the next month for your readers, a la Ramit’s Save $1000 in 30 days challenge from back in the day. I want a fun, new challenge to do. Sure, I can do a challenge by myself but it’s far more fun with some company! Then we can share all our wins and failures together :)

  6. Andi April 16, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    Dude! You can so do this. You just have to take some reasonable steps towards your goal. Try the Hundred Pushup Challenge ( It’s a six week training program to build you up to doing 100 pushups a day. Six weeks from now your post could be, “Naaailed it!” :)

  7. Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager April 16, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    Let’s do this! No more happy hours for me and hopefully some nice new paint for my new house :)

  8. Aloysa @ My Broken Coin April 16, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    I tend to jump all in into something and then I burn out. So, I totally can relate to the fact that small steps add up. Those small steps will take you further than any big jumps. :)

  9. retirebyforty April 16, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    Great job with your 401(k). You might want to fix the header, it says 410(k).
    Yeah, I know what you mean about the push up. I could only do about 30 in a row too. I should start with 5 and +1 everyday.

  10. Matt, Tao of Unfear April 16, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    There’s a great lesson here about respecting your own limits—something I fail to do all the time (i.e. comment on 50 blogs a day, while writing posts for my own, and writing guest posts, and managing marketing, and keeping up with social media, and, and, and…) I definitely gave up (temporarily) after all of that.

    My fitness goals, however, have been going much better (although, I definitely won’t be doing 100 push ups a day any time soon). Down 15 lbs. in the past two months. I’m now back down to my lowest weight in college. :)

    But, in other news, how’s it been? I got burned out and neglected my blogger duties, and I haven’t been around to read much the past couple of months or so.


    P.S. There’s this chick who I think is into me, and I found out that she has a maxed out credit card and no financial skills to speak of, and the first thing I thought was “budgets are sexy.” Turns out, it’s literally true. Maybe you should switch up your slogan. “Can’t get a boner if you’re a serial loaner”? ;)

  11. LB April 16, 2012 at 10:49 PM

    I would totally do a $1000 in one month challenge or something similar if you came up with it. I don’t know how I would get it done, but I would make it happen. I tried the 100 Sit-up challenge and totally blew that away, but then again I also killed myself doing it. (Unrelated: Now I am never allowed to do another sit-up again, because of a surgery I had.) No way I could do that many push-ups; maybe I could if you gave me A LOT of extra time. :)

  12. Leigh April 17, 2012 at 12:04 AM

    I started maxing out my 401(k) last year and I’m LOVING watching the balance go up each month. When $1500 goes into an account each month all year, the balance sure shoots up quickly! Having over $180,000 in your 401(k) still seems super far away for me, but I’m sure it’ll be here before I know it!

    I’m really excited about buying a condo this year or next. It’s fun looking at places and it’s exciting to think about the fact that all of the money I’ve spent the last few years saving up in cash will go towards something tangible and real pretty soon!

  13. SavvyFinancialLatina April 17, 2012 at 2:34 AM

    @ Leigh that’s so awesome!!! I can’t wait until I start contributing to my 401K either!

  14. J. Money April 17, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    @GB @ In Budgets We Trust – Damn right! Haha… did she accomplish 100 a day?? And whip my ass?? If you still talk to her, tell her I’m proud of her and I bow down! :)
    @Jen @ Master the Art of Saving – Okay okay, I’ll agree – saving even $1 is good ;)
    @Sarah L – Ooooh I like that! Maybe I will :) Though I think I’m already doing the “30 day goals” every month too, so maybe it can be merged with that? We’re only on month #1 right now (where I gave up lottery tickets), and I plan on dong a new mission come the 1st again. We’ll see!
    @SavvyFinancialLatina – Yup!
    @Andi – Oh cool, I’ll check it out thanks :) I’ve def. heard of it before, but never spent the time poking around… will do so after I post these comments up.
    @Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager – Woo! Then come over here and help ME paint :)
    @Aloysa @ My Broken Coin – I think you’re right on that one ;) We gotta remember how we operate so we can do our best to avoid all the nonsense we put ourselves through! Haha…
    @retirebyforty – Thanks! All fixed up ;) And yes – go for it! I’m up to 6 a day right now, so you can join me and do it together :)
    @Matt, Tao of Unfear – Ahahhahahaha…. omg dude, you crack me up!! Haha… Love that. You should totally hook her up with some financial knowledge in return for some non-financial payments ;) And oh – I still have your guest post btw! Haven’t forgotten about it, I’ll ping you soon as I should be able to post it up sooner than later now. Glad things are well! (And congrats on losing 15 lbs already – that’s great!)
    @LB – Oh no, really? NEVER again? That’s crazy, but at least you’re all in one piece :) I like the $1,000 goal too – it’s a great one to strive for. Even if we don’t do it on this site here, you totally should try starting May 1st! Even if you fail and get, say, $500 more, it’s still a lot more than you had before! ;)
    @Leigh – Wowww good for you!! You’ll get to $180k for sure, without a doubt doing that :) That’s incredible!
    @SavvyFinancialLatina – You totally should!

  15. RJ April 17, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    J Money. Like the new challenge about the pushups. Check out this app on the phone (android) – Push Ups by Rittr Labs. It has totally worked in increasing the amount of pushups I can do. My goal is to do 125 continuous pushups. I did 209 pushups today (with breaks of course…haha), but it is training you to do them continiously through your training. And best part is it is free. Not normally one to plug a something/product, but this is worth a look.

  16. BusyExecutiveMoneyBlog April 17, 2012 at 9:53 PM

    J, I am naturally impatient. As such I have trouble with not going “all in” on new goals. So I am very selective about the new goals I take on. Don’t want to be a quitter.

  17. J. Money April 18, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    @RJ – Oh yeah? Well that’s cool! 209 pushups is no joke!! Way to go yo :) I don’t have an android phone, but I’ll see if there’s something similar for the iPhone. Thanks for the info!
    @BusyExecutiveMoneyBlog – I know, that’s the downfall of taking on so many things – you end up stopping a lot of them and then feeling bad :( I need to be more selective too, though the only problem there is then I’ll *not* try things out that in the end I would have succeeded in! So I guess it’s just finding that happy medium.


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