I couldn’t do one pull-up. My dad’s hack fixed that brilliantly.

One of my friends was lamenting that he can’t do one pull-up. Another friend playfully retorted:

But I bet if you reeeeeeally wanted to you would. 🙂

She’s right… sort of. But she didn’t say how.

Back in the day, though, my dad knew how.


In the 7th grade — when I was humiliated that I couldn’t do even one pull-up in gym class — my (very strong!) dad was low on sympathy but ready with a solution.

Days later, he installed a pull-up bar on my bedroom door. And then the conversation went like this:

Me: But I told you, I can’t do even one pull-up!!!

Dad: I know. Just do as much of one pull-up as you can, every single time you enter or exit your room.

Me: 🙁

Dad: 💪

In less than a week I could do a pull-up.

And by the time the next pull-up test came ’round at school, I was able to do FOURTEEN (14) pull-ups (!), more than almost everyone else in class, including the bullies, the jocks, bullying jocks, and the jockeying bullies! (you can clearly tell how much fun in my early years as a young nerd)

So what did I learn from this?
What can you, humble reader, learn from this?

Persistence pays off, sure, yeah, blah blah blah.
But chopping something into smaller, easier, slower, lighter, less-scary blocks AND THEN DOING IT REPEATEDLY ON AN UNAVOIDABLE CUE… that is the useful answer!

Or, more specifically…

  • It should be something you really want to do or achieve, not something your spouse tells you you ought to do :D.
  • It can be reasonably broken down into slower / simpler / easier / less-scary chunks.
  • You can tackle it multiple times a day.
  • And, ideally, the trigger is clear and — even better — physically associated with the task.

In this case, a pull-up bar above my door fit all of the above! I wanted to show up my mocking classmates, it’s possible to do a quarter or half a pull-up, with the bar being above my bedroom door the practicing was accessible, the trigger was clear/unambiguous (anytime I entered or exited my bedroom), and the pull-up bar was staring me in the face!


Have you tackled a challenge in a similar way? What did you achieve, and how did you achieve it?

P.S. — Here’s one that’s similar to the one I have on my study door currently 🙂

What do you think?