So it’s the end of the year and the end of a decade, it’s also the end of me be doing my 100 reps a day challenges that I have been posting on social media for the past 5 months under the hashtag of #Team100. So when things that come to an end its good to look back and reflect a little on what they have taught you.
I know it seems strange to be stopping a physical challenge for the new year when many are thinking about starting one, but after more than 150 continuous days of posting videos of me doing exercises, I think its time to move on. I will, however, be trying to continue the habit of doing a 100 push-ups, or sit-ups, or squats, or even the dreaded burpees a day, I just won’t be filming them anymore.
These challenges have been an interesting experience that has not only got me fitter and stronger but has also given me some useful insights into the challenges, issues, and barriers that everyone faces when trying to increase their physical activity. It has also given me some ideas of how to overcome these issues and barriers myself and for those I see and manage as a physio.
There is no doubt that participating in any daily physical activity is difficult for many reasons. Things such as lack of time, motivation, resources, support and encouragement being the most common, and for patients, there is also pain and disability to consider, all things I have discussed in previous posts here.
I have personally found these challenges not only physically difficult at times causing me pain, soreness, and fatigue, but I have also found them extremely challenging due to there monotony, boredom, and just the time it takes to do and film them, with my work, travel and other training commitments often getting in the way. It’s been these time and boredom factors that I have found far harder to deal with and overcome than the soreness and effort ones, and I’m sure it no different for many of our patients.
So what have I found to be the solution to overcome these time and boredom barriers to daily repetitive, and challenging exercise? Well don’t get too excited as its nothing that clever, or special, or groundbreaking, in fact, it’s something rather plain and simple… its accountability.
Without a doubt, I think the biggest reason for me being so committed, dedicated, and disciplined with these tough and sometimes boring challenges for more than 150 consecutive days is that I made a rather large and public declaration to 1000’s of you on social media that I would do them.
I’ve found that there is nothing like some public accountability to others and a little bit of peer pressure to get you up off your arse and get shit done. I know many think that motivation, discipline, and resilience which I have discussed before here and here should be internal, but do not exclude the external factors that also contribute to someone being a tough, steely-eyed, disciplined, and motivated fucker.
I think it’s far easier to let yourself down than it is to let others down, and the more people you have the opportunity to disappoint and let down, I think the less likely you will.
Don’t get me wrong there are also a host of other positive motivators for declaring and posting these challenges on social media in front of 1000’s of friends and strangers that I have found beneficial as well. The likes, comments, reposts, and seeing others taking part in the challenges themselves were all huge positive motivators for me, especially seeing a 93 year old grandma doing her arm raises…
However, as nice as it was to get encouraging comments, 100’s of likes, and many reposts during these challenges, the bigger motivator for me was my fear of being thought of or being called a letdown, a disappointment, or a loser for not doing them. I know many motivational or behavioural experts will say that positive reinforcement and motivation always outperform, outlast, and outweigh negative motivators, but after doing these challenges I’m not so sure that’s true for everyone.
I now often use what I have learnt about the powerful effects of accountability from these challenges with many of my patients. I now often ask patients to consider not only just telling their close family about their rehab program and schedule, but also to consider posting it on their social media for all of their close and not so close friends and family to see.
Social Media Rehab
I ask patients to make a pledge on social media about their rehab and then film themselves doing it and post it online so as many others can see it. I explain that hopefully, it will give them some motivation to get it done, as well as give others the opportunity to watch and encourage them with it. It will also give them a visual record of their progress so they can see how they are improving over time.
I know this is only an anecdote, so don’t take my word for it at all, but I would guess that I see many of my patient’s adherence to rehab rates go from around 30-40% to 80-90% when they do this.
I also think this is a great way to help not just patients succeed with their rehab but also ANYONE succeed with their goals or resolutions.
New Year Resolutions
The new year is often a time when many make resolutions to get fitter, lose weight, or make some other lifestyle change, and I see many resolution naysayers and sceptics saying they are a waste of time, don’t last, and so don’t bother. This pisses me off no end!
I have discussed the issues with new years resolutions before here and how they often don’t last, with some studies showing 25% don’t last even 1 week and only 8% are actually achieved for many reasons which I won’t go into again.
However New Years resolutions don’t fail just because they are made in the new year, resolutions fail just as often (if not more often) when they are made at any time. Again the reasons and solutions for these I’ve discussed in my other blog which you can go and read if you want here.
Personally I have loved doing these 100 reps a day challenges, and I would like to thank all who have joined in, especially the legends that are Bill Vicenzino and Andrew McCauley who have without doubt been the two most committed and dedicated members of #Team100.
In summary, I think if more physio and healthcare professionals were to engage or experience a monthly physical challenge like #Team100, or even just try and do the rehab protocol or program they ask their patients to do, they will get great insights into the barriers and issues their patients face.
More importantly, if more physios experienced for themselves what they ask their patients to do, I think it would hugely improve their rehab programming and planning. I think many physios will soon recognise the stupidity and irrationality of what they often ask patients to do, and they won’t roll their eyes as much when patients tell them that they haven’t done their exercises.
So once again thanks to everyone who joined in, supported, shared, commented or just eye-rolled at my monthly 100 reps a day challenge. I wish you all a Happy New Year and good luck with any goals or resolutions you have made for 2020 and hope you consider the power of social media accountability.
As always thanks for reading