I made it halfway through January 11th before I repeated a tabata for the January Tabata Challenge. My original goal was a week, but then I kept thinking of other exercises I could do – especially when I went to the gym and had access to more equipment.

And, to be honest, I could have kept from repeating myself on Monday by doing a set of sprints instead of walking lunges. But I wasn’t feeling well, and I didn’t want to challenge my lungs with running of any kind. Or I could have done american kettle bell swings, which are distinct from russian kettle bell swings. I could even have attempted a set of double unders, but I still can’t do two in a row with any consistency (double unders are my next goal after I get a pull up).

So, with the no-repeats streak broken, I went with sit ups and push ups on Tuesday morning, the first morning that I actually got the exercises done after I woke up instead of waiting until the end of the day – a trend I hope to continue.

I’ve been feeling like I have the cold that never ends, and there’s no way I would have kept up doing 2 tabatas a day this month without the challenge. I’m on a streak, and streaks are powerful. Each day’s exercise seems smaller and not as challenging when viewed in context as pieces within the larger challenge. The form of the tabatas themselves work that way as well – all I need to do is 20 seconds, 8 times. That’s hardly any time at all!

The first set is easy. Maybe the second set, too. Once it starts getting hard, you’re on a roll. Four sets? That’s halfway – you can’t quit now! It’s over before you know it, and one more day of the challenge is complete.

And from the perspective of now, I plan to keep going. Maybe not every day, but I can see and feel the differences in my body as I focus on doing those 2 sets each day, no matter which exercise I end up doing. There isn’t really a reward for doing this challenge. No one is going to hand me a prize if I complete it. But I already feel like I’ve won.

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