The One Push-up Challenge


Stephen Guise isn’t a neuroscientist, or any kind of scientist for that matter.

In fact, his humble background includes working in customer service and IT. He’s simply a man who started experimenting with personal development strategies and kept it up for 10 years. He’s now a notable author who specializes in small positive behavior changes.

Guise calls these changes “mini habits.”

His first and most famous mini habit was “The One Push-up Challenge.”

Although his ultimate goal was total physical fitness and a 30-minute a day workout routine, Guise found this goal too overwhelming. Instead of starting a workout program, he decided to do a single push-up every day. When he did one push-up, he found he was compelled to do more. Since his muscles were warmed up, he then did some pull-ups. “Why stop there?” he thought, and did a short ab workout while he was at it.

For a year, he continued to do one push-up a day at a minimum. If he climbed into bed to sleep and remembered he hadn’t done his push-up, he would roll over and do the push-up on his bed. Over time, he noticed that working out became easier, he felt stronger, and his muscles were more conditioned.

All it took for Guise to feel successful was making a small, achievable goal.

No matter what change you’re trying to create in your life, there’s an equivalent to “The One Push-up Challenge.” Maybe it’s reading one page of a book a day, learning one word in another language a day, or eating an apple every day for an afternoon snack.

What will your “push-up” be?