Archive | 7:10 AM

Starting a new habit–and keeping it up

12 Jan

I swear to you–I am lazy. I hate logistics. I don’t want to do things. BUT I do cardio 7 days a week and do strength training at least 4 days a week, and recently, every single day. I want to give you the tips that worked for me, because trainers are too crazy, people that love to exercise are the exception to the rule, and it’s hard to sustain it if done the wrong way (too much, too hard, too soon).

Go to bed earlier!

People need adequate sleep. Stop screening, and go to bed early enough to get 7-9 hours of sleep. Every night.

Lack of time” is actually a priorities problem.

There are 24 hours – lets give us a very good rest of 9 hours = 15 waking hours.

OK, you have a job, and have to drive to that job, shower, take care of the kids, all your logistics: 9 hours of work 3 hours (?) of logistics = 12 hours of time you HAVE to do stuff.

15-12 = 3 free hours

The Mayo clinic wants adults to get 30 min of exercise every day.

That 30 min of exercise is less than 17% of your FREE time. It’s 7% of your waking hours outside of work. I suggesst you do your own personalized math, and write down what percent of your day it is. My personal percent is 1% of my day is 10 min. So like, nothing at all! And when I’m feeling tired, lazy, or defeated–I remind myself it would be 2% of my day.

Write your goals down.

Be reasonable. Be specific. Have a realistic timeline and write that end date. You can have a big dream. But it’s better to write a goal or 2 with the big dream in mind. Have a plan of what smaller steps you need to take to reach the ultimate goal.

OK, now that you know it’s not that much time, think about WHEN a workout could fit in your schedule. Since you went to bed earlier and you’re rested–you could do it first thing in the morning!

Which I do recommend. Because:

-it starts your day in a productive way

-you don’t have to worry about dressing out & everything, or sweating at work/in public

-starting before your brain is awake gets the exercise done before you can think of excuses NOT to do it

-working out 1st thing wakes you up, and also sweats out in toxins. Get rid of that salt from dinner, that after dinner alcohol, and any sugar from dessert. SWEAT. it. out. It’s true, you’ll automatically feel better, endorphins aside even.

-do it before you’re tired or fatigued or have a bad day

So you have the time, you carved out a spot in your schedule to always do your workout, now TAKE IT EASY!

I don’t want you to go hard. Overdoing it is a sure way to have an unpleasant experience, get tired, be sore, and dread the next workout. Don’t burn yourself out! It’s difficult enough just to put on a sports bra and sneakers. Just do enough. You want to stair step your progress over time. And when you’re beginning a new goal-remember you’re just on the very first stair step. Don’t pole vault up to the top–because remember what happens after you clear the bar? You fall, fall, fall all the way down and land on your back. Instead, we’re looking to stand at the top of those stairs. Progress slowly!

The big, big thing to starting a habit is to do that habit every. single. day.

All days. As you know, I’m big on not breaking the chain. And I’m really gung-ho on it because it has worked for me. I have run every single day in a row for the last SEVEN years. I did it with flossing my teeth, because I was lazy-ing out half the time, and I’ve now accumulated 203 days in a row. It works because not doing the habit on one day isn’t just messing up that day, it’s fucking up a string of days, a record. And who wants to throw away a week for a moment of weakness? Or longer? This also works because people say a new habit is ingrained after 26 days of practicing it. So it’s science too.

In the past, it has helped me to attach my goal, let’s say doing ab work, to something I absolutely have to or want to do. I cannot shower until I do my crunches. That way, you’re putting your new goal on something that’s already a habit, so it’s likelier to stick.

Remember, it’s better to do a light or short workout rather than skipping. Just. do. something.

That means if you’re sore–don’t skip! Go lighter. Or shorter. Or easy.

One last thing–plan ahead. If you have a big presentation early in the morning, plan to do the workout after work that day. If you’re going on vacation–remember to pack your running clothes. Part of starting and maintaining a habit is planning ahead for those irregularities.

Starting a habit is more about training your brain than it is about training your body (at first).

And seriously. Just keep your appointment with you and if you do only 8 min of biceps–that is A-OK–congratulate yourself for accomplishing another day. Don’t get all down on yourself and quit. Just keep swimming.