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How This Simple Habit Crushes Activity Goals

You know you’re supposed to exercise but who has the time?

You have the desire to live healthier but you know this whole gym thing is annoying.

It takes so much time.

You’ve got to pack your clothes, you’ve got to drive to the gym and pay for a membership. Then you have to actually work out. Then drive home? Wait, what should I do first? I guess I’ll run or hop on the bike. But for how long? My ass hurts on this seat!

Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to go to the gym and still lose weight? Wouldn’t be nice to never drive to a gym or overpay for a membership? Isn’t that what all fit, healthy people do?

We all grew up with certain ideas about exercise. I’d like to challenge the idea that you have to run or sweat profusely around strangers in order to “work out”.

While gyms offer a great service and have a variety of equipment — all that equipment can be a barrier to getting healthier.

This is what I mean — by reducing the complexity of your workout routine you can focus on just doing the work so you can…

  • Feel good in your body
  • Make consistent progress
  • Save money
  • Save time
  • Move on to the next thing in your life
  • AND no one will have to look at you when you exercise

The time you spend working on your body doesn’t have to annoy you. There are ways to ninja physical activity into your life.

I’ll show you how.

How can I add more physical activity to my day?

Heres the thing — We are all busy.

Which is to say nothing of the cult of busy we’re living in. You’ve got to do it early in the day.

Unless you’re habit stacking, this will be hard to do.

Think about it, you’re starting something new.

As far as your brain knows this could be a waste of time. Sure it could be right but what if it was dead wrong? You’d be sabotaging yourself.

The key to all new habits is to start small.

One way to make a habit impossible to follow is by telling yourself you’ll get a certain result in a short period of time. The most common way we do this is by selecting an outcome based goal. Such as these.

  • I want to lose x amount of weight, in x amount of time
  • I want to eat less fat, carbs or sugar
  • I want to quit drinking soda and energy drinks

Results are important but planning in this way sets us up for disappointment.

We’ve all done this.

I would get so frustrated at my inability to lose weight consistently then go all in on a exercise habit. Saying “NOT THIS TIME MoFos!”

I once had a somewhat successful running habit. (stopped after an injury and weird medical stuff when I was 19) So here I am over 15 years later, trying to ramp up to where I was. Going for short runs and jogs since I was sooooo out of shape.

Like many people I grew up only being exposed to cardio cardio cardio. Run all the time. Is’t it great!?

No! it’s not freaking great. It’s clear that not everyone enjoys cardio. Not everyone who goes to the gym enjoys going there. Look at all the people who sign up in January every year… and don’t come back.

I have asthma so running has always been a love hate relationship. Love the feeling of running fast, especially with gusts of wind on a sunny day. Yet hate the feeling of, you know, not being able to breathe 😉

How can I introduce exercise in my life?

So what’s this simple habit? Dude it’s walking (Strength training using your own body weight works well too). That’s it. No equipment. No cash. Can be done anywhere, even indoors. Also you don’t even need to power walk or make sure you’re walking as fast as possible. I’ve done lots of walking over the last few years.

Now for a while I was also eating too much which negated some of the progress I would have made.

You see, there is a sweet spot between eating for pleasure and exercise for enjoyment. You can have fun doing both.

It’s totes possible.

But definitely not easy.

Should you be active everyday?

Sitting is the new smoking.

Besides food, nothing contributes more to weight gain and cardiovascular disease than sitting down in front of your TV or computer all day. Of course never before have we had access to as much amazing entertainment and addictive distractions. That’s without getting into the consequences of mobile devices like smartphones.

Which is to say nothing of the habits we have of eating and drinking while we’re watching a great show, movie, video or gaming. These habits compel us to think how nice it would be to have our favorite snack, or drink — right now.

So yes of course you should be active everyday. It wasn’t apparent to me until recently that our bodies are meant to be in almost constant motion. We rest at meals and while winding down at the end of the day. But other than those times, moving is always better.

I’ve implemented a simple strength training habit this year in addition to walking more (which includes taking the stairs as often as possible at work).

I noticed how much better it felt moving around. A lot of us who are over weight don’t like lots of physical activity because it reminds us how our bodies feel. We may say: Man, I really need to get into shape. Or something much more derogatory and mean. Lets be honest, we are often super critical of ourselves.

This is a great time to challenge those negative self criticisms. By challenge I don’t just mean to ask if its true because we all believe what we believe.

However, we can start to be more gentle and accepting of ourselves. Self compassion can be a secret weapon in the fight for your life. The fight for a better version of your life.

Is 5000 steps enough?

Nope!

You can get this just walking around the house. My lowest steps on my laziest days (from the couch to the kitchen) were somewhere in the 2000 – 3000 stage. We are talking about an entire day here. I’ve had plenty of 5000 step days too, I just do my best to avoid them instead of indulging in them as often as possible.

So what is enough?

I don’t think you should define a certain amount but use your body’s senses to determine that. You will know when you get too tired during your walks. Or runs, or bike rides, or whichever physical activity you chose.

Getting started is always the hardest part. We always feel the momentum from how we’d like to spend our time. The key is to find a way to do it everyday or as many days as possible during the week. The more we commit to at least doing it on those days — the more likely we are to have that habit bleed into other days.

When I started walking more, I scheduled it into my commute. This forced me to do it at least on weekdays. Then I got a job that made more sense to drive to so now I have no walking during my commute but I still find a way to get in my steps. Luckily my job isn’t exclusive to my desk, although I do spend most of the day chained to it.

I take three walks per day on weekdays. One during each break including lunch. We don’t have too many flights of stairs at work but even the few that we had would exhaust me. Yet as my legs got stronger I realized that I can handle the stairs much easier than I could just a few months ago. It reminded me about gene expression and how we can encourage our bodies to change based on our environment.

Fact is, being active will never take all your free time away. Even though it will require a more creative solution if say you have to watch your kids. It’s still doable. None of our lives are exactly the same. So your solution must be customized to your life.

Now you have a simple habit you can use everyday to get the physical activity your body needs to improve.

Remember to start small here. If you’ve lived most of your life sitting at a desk or a couch like I have this will take time. Be patient and kind to yourself whenever starting a new habit. Especially one that takes you away from modern comforts like TV and gaming.

I’m always listening to music or podcasts when I go on walks. Make it fun but make sure you don’t push yourself too hard. You want this to become something effortless that you enjoy.

Have you tried starting an exercise habit before? What have you tried? What has worked for you?

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had with starting and sticking to an exercise habit?

Share your story below with our community 🙂

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