It’s customary to break one’s NYE resolutions around January 19. Seriously, there’s research on this. I am determined to stick to one of them at the very least: my +1 pushup challenge.

For the uninitiated, the +1 challenge started in Iceland in 2013, when a number of medical students, home for Christmas from their semester in Copenhagen, decided to challenge each other to a little contest: for the next year, they’d do one additional pushup every day. For every month, there was one break allowed, so one break in January, twelve in December. On Dec 31, they’d do 400 together instead of the 375 pushups they’d have to do.

A clever company (not linking them) started selling calendars with the number of pushups printed into each day and a handy checkbox to mark off the day. The latter actually makes sense: accomplishments acknowledged are much better for the brain than those simply performed. A small task like a reward or simply a checkmark can help tremendously to reinforce the habit.

But since I am a bit of a nerd, I wanted something more: make my phone do the calculation work for me. Luckily there’s Shortcuts for iOS (comes standard) and even an imbecile like me can do this.

Seriously, this is about the simplest thing to use Shortcuts for, still it shows something important: most people don’t use Shortcuts, despite there being a vast ecosystem of amazing shortcuts and it making your phone so much more productive. Maybe that’s another resolution for 2021: get more in touch with the inner nerd.

If you still want mine, it’s here (needs to be opened on a phone or iPad).

Next up, I added it to Siri, made it tell me how much I had to do that day, and I was all set.

Part two of this is more involved: I want to track, how this ever-increasing amount of pushups influences my blood glucose levels, sleep, muscle soreness, muscle mass, and weight/body composition. For this, I am using three things: a Freestyle Libre to monitor my blood glucose, a Withings connected scale and blood pressure monitor (to get HRV), and my Apple Watch (also for sleep, HRV, etc.).

This will be a topic for a March post, when some data is available.

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