Monday, September 03, 2012

“Be Strong!” Challenge

I mentioned in my post I'm 50 Years Old and Still Can't Think on my Feet that in my 50th year I was challenging myself to become a stronger person. The start of this project was delayed due to a bout of insomnia I was dealing with during July and August. With only 3-5 hours of sleep per night it was all I could do just to make it through the workday let alone work on a strength challenge. Revanche of A Gai Shan Life was even kind enough to write Insomnia: the old companion a post about how she conquered her own insomnia. Then as mysteriously as the insomnia came on it left and I’m sleeping better. In the mean time I’ve been reading a couple of books on insomnia and will share any lessons or remedies that work for me in future posts. One thing I now know for sure – I will never “Be Strong” if I can’t get a handle on my insomnia.

To help give my challenge kick-start I discovered a great article on Building Inner Strength by Ran Zilca on Psychology Today. It is so good I have to share.

Zilca defines being strong as:
A strong person has great capability at facing challenges. Being strong means having the resources, the mental skills, and the physical capabilities to confront difficulties of all kinds. When you are strong, you have the ample excess of energy and stamina, so that when facing a challenge that depletes you of energy and inner strength, you still have enough left in you to act.
He then gives us some initial things to think about when starting to build inner strength:

1. Strength is the opposite of aggression:
Strong individuals do not need to act aggressively because they feel that they have the power and skills to take over the details of a situation and bring it to a close. Aggression is a means of covering weakness. 

2. Mental and physical strength cannot be separated:
To build inner strength you must build both physical endurance and mental muscle.

3. The first step is identifying your natural strengths:
I have already made some progress identifying my strengths. Please see my posts:

Discovering my Strengths
Who are you meant to be
Determining my Myers-Briggs Score

4. Mental strength is harder to track:
Zilca recommends taking notes. I don’t need to take notes I have this blog to record my progress.

He closes with “Be strong!” a phrase I am now adopting as the title of my challenge.

My “Be Strong!” project begins this week. My first task is going to be to take part in the push up challenge I’ve joined on twitter. It involves -

Doing 1 more push up every day than you did the day before. I started last week with 6 and am now up to 10. If you would like to participate or follow along, the twitter hash tag is #pushupchallenge.

This is a good challenge for me since one of the reasons I put off taking a yoga class (and probably why I keep injuring myself) is because I have almost no upper body strength. The yoga instructor at my gym loves planks especially side planks, in the past when I attended PIYO I used to spend a good portion of the class sitting on my butt or laying on my mat.  

I have a few ideas for future “Be Strong” tasks, but am looking for additional activities or challenges. If you have a recommendation or are interested in writing a guest post about how you achieved greater inner strength please leave a comment below or email me at


  1. I like the idea of the push-up challenge, as I struggle to do *one* good one! :-)

  2. I'm so glad to hear that you are sleeping better. I definitely am not sleeping enough and it is affecting everything. You are doing great with the push-up challenge!! That's awesome and keep it up. I like that idea that mental and physical strength can't be separated. I find that very true.

  3. Thanks for stopping from SITS! :-) I love the idea of the push-up challenge, I may join you!

  4. Rachel,
    Yeah I know, but we all have to start somewhere. One is a start.

  5. Christine,
    Thanks for stopping in and for your comment. I am going to try to balance mental challenges with physical. If you have any ideas or activities that work for you please share.

  6. Chelle,
    Please do. @Budgetingbabe has created a FB group for the challenge at: Joining a group helps me stay accountable.

  7. Tami,
    You should join. I am now up to 14. I have taken Nicole of @budgetingbabe's advice and broken them into two groups. Today I did seven then a couple of hours later I did seven more. Makes it easier.

  8. Great to see more doing a pushup challenge. I'm up to 30 a day though I did 100 yesterday just to see how I'd do. I've been doing daily pushups since July and am really starting to feel a difference in strength. I break them up throughout tye day too.

  9. C-
    I am now up to 18. You've inspired me to set a goal of 100 by the end of the year. Thanks for stopping in.