The Confidence : Competence : Participation Loop

Can it all start with one pushup?

One email?

One healthy meal switch?

I’d venture to say yes.  Because if not there…then where?  I don’t recommend waiting for “a sign” or your roommate dragging you to the gym or your loved one sitting the family down for a “health intervention.”  It is very unlikely to take that shape.

Without boring you with the gritty details of the phenomenon, it is pretty simple:

More confidence breeds more competence

More competence breeds more confidence

More competence and confidence increases your likelihood of participation.

But the trick, naturally, is where to begin?


I would say with participation.


Think of it like this:

You cannot conjure confidence in a topic with which you have no competence

You cannot conjure competence before you begin the activity

But you CAN do ONE pushup.  Right now.  You can do a single pushup and then let it sit there.  Check the box.  Get it done.

Tomorrow, you do two.  The next day three, and so on.
At the end of a year? Well, that is 365 pushups in a day.  That is actually quite the herculean feat.  But more importantly you would be building your confidence/competence/participation loop daily with small doses.  Technically you could be more competent than MOST if you simply started today and didn’t stop.  There we go!  I just solved your fitness!


But seriously though, this is what I hear too often:

  • I need to get in shape before I start….going to the gym! (????…kind of a weird one, but it’s real)
  • I don’t have time
  • I will start when things settle down
  • I can’t afford fitness


Which of these excuses prevents you from doing a pushup right this moment?  Seriously?  You don’t have (at most ) 10 seconds?


So I’ve gone on and on about pushups, but what about “fitness and health and weight loss and so on.”


Turns out they are all the same.  Every single one.

Today you go for a 15 minute walk

Today you DON’T consume that [particularly processed guilty pleasure]

Today you call up a friend and invite them to the gym/park/trail for a workout

Today you call up a local gym and schedule an intro session

Today you do a pushup

Today you drink more water

Today you track your calories


And of starting from square 1, your competence immediately increases by 10,000%.  Embrace your victory.  Tomorrow, do it again.  Level up.  The next day, again.  Level up.  365 days later, let me know how it turns out.  It is inconceivable that if you simply started tracking your calories today (and nothing else) you would fail to make progress.  The simple act of monitoring your intake has incredibly powerful compound impacts – if you let it compound.


Did you drop the ball at day 289?  Never fear, you can pick it back up again.  It is totally ok to fall back a couple steps, dust yourself off and continue on your loop.  If you do, you will succeed.  If you don’t, you may end up back at square one.  But even then, all is not lost.  Most people hope to live long and healthy lives – so is investing a year to gain 10 good ones a worthwhile task?  You could fail 10 times in 10 years and still, in your 11th year, get the equation right and find health and fitness for life.


If you hit 365 days you may find that you are a different person on the other end.  You perceive your circumstances differently.  You look in the mirror differently.  You evaluate something that used to be impossible as very possible.  I’ve seen the transformation happen hundreds of times.  It could happen for you as well.

And it could all start by doing ONE pushup right now.


Coach Eric

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Categories: WOD

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