In life, as in fitness, the focus on quality is rarely an advantage to getting momentum, at least to get started.
It’s hard to turn something that takes time and is laborious at the start into a habit. This is particularly true at the beginning of a challenging journey. Over time the shift in quality becomes essential and should be among the top priority.
In my personal life, the focus on quality and values, as a whole, began with Covid. I began restricting my social interactions. I allocated my time only to people I valued the most. My circle of friends got smaller but more meaningful. The same also happened with my fitness routine, with almost a year’s offset in timing. I swapped my ridiculous 150-pushups series for a more qualitative series of 100 pushups.
Focus On Quality: yes, but Not So Fast!
Initially, ignoring quality was part of my strategy to quickly establish a solid habit. I had this idea that the key to starting a habit is to approach it with a “better than nothan nothing” attitude.
The fitness routine I started because of covid comprised a series of 150 pushups in a row. 150 was an impressive number for me, and I used this ego trick to stick to my daily 150-pushup series. The quality of my pushups was second order. At that time, my primary goal was to stick to a fitness routine to make it a habit.
No Shame, No Gain
The beginnings were laughable. My pushups were poorly executed. Many would-be tempted to laugh at me when looking at me doing this 150 pushup series. I knew it, but for some reason, I was almost shameless. The focus on quality was not my priority at this stage. At the gym, between two lockdowns, I had the habit of happily executing my 150 pushup series despite my ridiculous pushup forms and making loud noises from excruciating pain. Maybe there is some truth in saying “no shame, no gain.” I believe so. Read more about that topic here: why being shameless helps achieve goals.
Not Fooling Yourself With Excuses Is The Key Factor
Tired, lazy, and busy: not fooling myself with excuses was the key. In some circumstances, I was below my average physical and mental condition. I kept showing up for this daily pushup fitness challenge or, more accurately, for my daily workout routine. I knew that consistency was vital to building a habit. My training frequency, which was supposed to be daily, kept getting better. “Cheat days” became rarer and rarer. My lack of focus on quality to prioritize the build of the habit was paying off. My “led-by-ego” strategy was working.
Stop Cheating Once Your Habit Is Established
In July 2021, I looked at the videos of my daily workouts from the beginning. I could see a massive improvement in the pushups forms, but I could still see that I was still cheating on some aspects. For instance, my back was not properly straight during the whole pushup series. Also, I was still using some of the lower parts of my back to get some momentum on the way back to the upper position. It was gentle, but it was still cheating.
Why I Dropped My 150 Pushup Series
One day I was lazy. I did not want to do my 150 pushup series. I told myself that I could compromise. After all, doing (almost) ideally 100 pushups is as rewarding as unproperly executed 150 pushups. It makes the pushups series’ duration slightly shorter, even if the push-up movements are slower as I lean forward, go deeper, and push higher up to improve the quality of the push-up forms.
I decided to downsize my daily pushup challenge from a series of 150 pushups to 100 pushups: this was when I started to focus on quality. I did not want to fool myself anymore with a more straightforward exercise. I tried to focus on quality for a similar – if not better – outcome for my body. That’s the main reason I made this shift towards more qualitative pushups.
It’s never too late to be better. It’s also never too late to start doing pushup-ups, a classic exercise that can help you get stronger.