I have a confession to make: I really dislike planks. Correction: I really disliked planks. For those of you who do not know what a plank is, it is an exercise move in which you are basically in push-up position and resting either on your a) wrists or b) forearms for a specific length of time or for as long as you can hold it. (Click image below to be taken to “How to Do the Perfect Plank” via Greatist.com)
The purpose of doing plank is to strengthen your physical core (a strong core is essential for maintaining balance, good posture, preventing injury and more) and the beauty of the pose is that it engages your whole body. The reality: plank is as much (or perhaps even more of) a mental exercise as it is a physical one.
Planking challenges us to stay in the moment.
Planking confronts us with discomfort and pain.
Planking gives us the opportunity to breathe when it is tough.
Planking gives us plenty of opportunities to give up and call it quits.
For quite a while, plank and I were not friends. We’d meet every so often in yoga class but outside of it, we were basically strangers. Why? Because our meetings were uncomfortable and sometimes painful. Time seemed to go by excruciatingly slowly and truth be told, I did not find it fun…at all. Insert 2014 and something shifted. I shifted and was in a new headspace. All of a sudden, my acquaintance plank was on my mind…a lot. I wasn’t interested in being estranged anyore. Rather, I wanted to befriend him and perhaps actually become buddies. And so, I gave myself a M.I.H. Challenge. My clients are no stranger to these. (Shout out to Jeremy O’Krafka of MENTORNetwork who inspired me to take on this challenge. He has mastered planking for up to 7 minutes!)
What’s a M.I.H. Challenge (or Opportunity)? M.I.H.=Make It Happen It’s a challenge or opportunity (whichever you prefer) that when accepted and done, moves us forward in an area that we may be struggling in. It’s a tool that takes that which has paralyzed us and transforms it into something that propels us. (For even more M.I.H. Goodness, check out Rockstar52 for 52 weeks of Make It Happen Mastery! Click HERE for a FREE preview.)
My M.I.H. Challenge: Do ONE plank daily for a minimum of one minute. I figured, what is ONE minute out of my day? Though it may be uncomfortable, I was confident that I could endure the discomfort for 60 seconds. PLUS because I was starting with ONLY one minute, I really had NO excuse. Excuses are inhibitors that never lead to excellence. My trick? I pick a song that I really like and listen to it while I plank and on more days than not, I do it FIRST thing in the morning (PLAYBIGPLAYNOW!).
Where am I now? The plank challenge has been amazing. This one minute exercise has become part of my day and with each plank completed, I feel stronger, more energized, and proud of myself. (I am up to planking for 1.5 minutes). The reality is, this experience has been less about the plank and more about confronting something that I was letting hold me back from excellence. It was about making a commitment and honouring it. Now I find myself seeking opportunities to plank throughout my day. I CAN….I AM….I WILL…
I hope this will inspire you to reflect upon areas in your life that you may be avoiding and challenging yourself to meet, greet, and overcome them once and for all. Incredible things await when we commit to doing one plank at a time.