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Just start with one

I have always had a weak upper body. Even when I was doing pretty hard core strength training, my upper body was a struggle. Yet, I’m also a full-time human, and it felt like too much to add yet another workout to my already crammed week. Luckily, my friend had felt the same, and he shared his trick to tackle an insurmountable task: Just start with one.

To back up, this friend used to be a colleague, and used to do pushups every hour at work when we worked together. I was always an observer from a distance. But, when we were talking this week about how many he had built up to per hour (27; 216 per day). I was curious about how he’d built to that in what seemed like a super-short time. I can barely do one, so over 200 in a single day seemed impossible. I asked him his trick, and he said to start with one. Then, next week, do two. And so on. I started that day, marking on my whiteboard my progress. One was not easy, but each time I do one (now two), I make a mark on my whiteboard. I’m already feeling stronger, and I love the simplicity of the approach.

This got me thinking–what else could benefit from the “start with one” approach? Each time I make a mark, I feel good. A week after I started doing push ups, I saw this quote from Arthur Ashe: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

And now I’m wondering what else can I accomplish but breaking down the task into its simplest parts, and starting with one. For me (and my friend), it was push-ups. For my sister, it’s selling one piece of furniture at a time (in pursuit of #vanlife). What can you accomplish if you start with one?

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