Over the last month, several fellow fathers joined me participating in the 30-day HERO Challenge, where we witnessed the value of committing to one simple, daily practice. We got to watch first hand the exponential growth possible with small iterative habit improvements, and the power of routine practice.

Whatever goal you want to reach, or behavior you want to improve, PRACTICE the things you want to get good at — even if you have to start in very small ways. If you commit to it every single day, you are bound to see transformation over time.

Take it one step at a time, and eventually you’ll find yourself in a whole new world.

One person who has really proven this for me recently is Andrew (watch below) who shares his journey sof habit change and personal transformation on his video channel Sorting Myself Out. He’s been incredibly transparent and very inspiring.

Andrew helped inspire me to set a monthly behavior change goal EACH MONTH, to drill a 30-day habit change challenge around it, and gather an accountability group of guys around me to help keep me pointed at my target each month.

So August became the Heroic Dad Pushup Challenge. Throughout September, I’ll be waking up bright and early for a cold shower each day at 7am! (Have the discipline to join me?)

But before we start our next 30 day challenge, my friend and fellow HERO Project member Brandyn Shoemaker and I promised to award the dad who made the most progress on this pushup challenge with a little gift from the Heroic Dad store. So, with that, please welcome Brandyn to the blog:

And the Winner Is…

August 18th marked the end of the #30DayHero Challenge. It was 30 days of sore arms, squirmy kids, frustration, and joy. We also did a ton of pushups.

The challenge was simple: for 30 days do pushups with your kids, or with your kids on top of you. Some of the dads even did pushups with their wives on their backs. Props to those guys.

On the surface it was a pushup and physical fitness challenge, but it went much deeper than that. While physical fitness is extremely important, the challenge was really a way to build good habits with our kids.

Traditional wisdom says “Your kids won’t listen to what you say, they’ll do what you do.” We’ve all heard it, and it’s become one of those cliche sayings we don’t even pay attention to, but it’s true. We’re all guilty of telling our kids to go out and play and be active while we’re sprawled out on the couch binge watching Rick and Morty, or to clean their room while we have piles of laundry sprawled all over our room. (I might not be speaking from experience, don’t judge me.)

So with the challenge we aimed to create something that would force us to build good habits, teach our kids the importance of building good habits, and bond with our kids all at the same time.

I think it worked.

The challenge ended about a week ago, but the pushups haven’t. Earlier today my three year old hopped on my back and told me to do pushups. My one year old got next to us and started doing his own version of the pushup. You should see it, his form is AMAZING. We all had fun while doing something productive. The best part of the 30 days was watching the habit form in my little man. There were days I would forget but he was right there to remind me.

We had a good group of great dads that stuck it out with us the entire 30 days. All of us had good days and bad days. We all had days that we didn’t want to have anything to do with a pushup, but we did them anyway. It felt great fighting through the struggle.

It was extremely inspiring to watch all of the dad’s daily photos and video check-ins. Everyone worked hard and everyone gave it their all. At the end though, one father stood above the rest. He’s even starting his own pushup challenge to build off of what he accomplished in the #30DayHero Challenge.

Christopher Wolf worked hard all month, built a strong new habit, bonded with his kids, and maybe most importantly, he won a comfortable new Heroic Dad tshirt!

heroic dad

(If you want a Heroic Dad shirt, head on over to the store. At checkout just use the code “HERO” for free shipping on anything. I won’t even make you do pushups every day for a month.)

When the challenge started I struggled to do 5 pushups. STRUGGLED. It was embarrassing. It still is. But by the end of the 30 days I was doing 25 pushups with a 40-pound wiggleworm on my back.

I hated pushups. Pushups were the enemy. I’ll be honest, they still are, but I’m not afraid to do them anymore. I can drop down with my little man and knock some out anytime, anywhere.

What are you struggling with right now? What do you want to teach your kids? Whatever it is, do it. Do it everyday and soon enough it will change from a struggle to a habit.

“I hadn’t really done any exercise in about 2 to 3 years,” said winner Christopher Wolf. “I’ve been following a ketogenic diet since October of last year, and I’ve lost about 50 pounds. But all of that was due to food, none due to exercise.”

“I’ve had a real serious battle for about 10 years with anxiety, most of it being health anxiety, that culminated in 10 to 15 major panic attacks — several of those resulting in hospital visits because I was convinced that I was having some sort of cardiac event.”

“My heart is fine, but somewhere deep in my mind I was convinced that that wasn’t the case, and that kept me from doing anything physical. I walked slow, I was very hesitant to play rough with my kids for fear that raising my heart rate to I would trigger something.”

“I saw this challenge as something I could control. It was just doing push-ups every day. I could do five or ten, and have little to no change in my heart rate and be fine. After doing that the first couple days, and then passing 20 or 30 about a week into the challenge, I started changing that deep-held belief about what I could and couldn’t do safely.”

Day 29! I did 50 push-ups a day early! #heroicdad #30dayhero

A post shared by Christopher Wolf (@aaaarrrrgggghhh) on

Chris is now launching his own September pushup challenge to increase his one-set pushup max from 50 to 80. “Just goes to show that facing your fears head-on is generally one of the most effective ways to overcome them,” Chris shared. “This is probably one of the five most important things I’ve done in the last year.”

Final Note from Cody: September HERO Challenge!

Every month at the HERO Project, we drill incremental habit change and gather accountability groups to help you connect with others and become the best version of yourself!

If you want to join me for the next 30-day HERO Challenge, we will host the group inside my mentor David’s private group The Warrior Way.

From my coach David DiFrancesco:

“I thought it would be appropriate to bring one of my favorite ‘tests’ to this group as a way of starting the initiation process. A step in proving you’re worthy and have been tested. It’s something I’ve done with all the guys I’ve trained for Navy SEALs and something I’ve personally done every New Years Eve at midnight. A cold water swim in the ocean for about 20 minutes in trunks. (one year I even got to enjoy having a shark swim with me)”

“But as I’m here and you’re, well, there and perhaps not near a convenient, freezing cold body of water, I’m thinking of the next best thing. After a great conversation with Cody today we’re putting this idea into action as a part of his next 30-Day Hero Challenge. Beginning this coming Monday, September 4th, we’re all going to take a bracing cold shower first thing upon rising. It’s probably (well, most assuredly) the last thing you’ll want to be doing, but the very practice of making yourself do something you don’t want to do, along with a little bit of physical discomfort will have a host of benefits in your mindset that we’ll be discussing over the coming weeks and certainly as we wrap it up at the end of September.”

“I’m going to be with you along the way and will be following up with you each day as we go through this testing together. Feel free to share your own experiences on what’s happening for you and what you’re discovering. As I tell the SEAL guys, you are not going to get through the days ahead relying on only yourself. You’ll get through it as a team, a tribe. So tribe, let’s get to it!”

It’s completely free to join The Warrior Way on Facebook. Join me and David here all through September for a cold shower challenge. I’ll be waking up early every day at 7am and starting my day with a cold shower for a month!