In part one I shared with you my new fitness rules. For 66 days I would;
1. Get out of bed and exercise
2. However I wanted
3. for 30 minutes
I chose 66 days because researchers had found that this is how long it takes the average person to develop a habit that is nearly automated. See link to the study in part one. This daily exercise habit would become, I hoped, a part of my day in the same way that showering or browsing Reddit each night for four hours became regular and routine. Eventually, I would just do it because it’s what I do. Not because I should, not because it’s “good for me”, not because I have a particular weight loss or lifting goal in mind, but because it’s a part of who I am.
I hoped that, after 66 days of exercise, daily physical activity would be such a part of my identity that I stopped thinking about it, and just did it. Regularly.
I was betting on the power of habit. Previously, I bet on the power of programs.
So whenever I’ve decided to become fit again, I would set a new goal and work toward it.
After I left university 60 pounds (more or less. Probably more) overweight, I had one goal. Lose weight. It became more defined over time, but eventually after about a year of running semi-regularly and trying to eat better, I did lose the weight. I’m very proud of that. It was hard, very hard, but I did it. Good for me.
Then after a while I gained a lot of it back, and I had to redefine my goals. After putting around 30 pounds of celebratory beer and pizza fat, I decided my new goal would be to “lose x amount of weight” and keep it lost. Forever. You can probably guess what happened. I lost the weight, and not long after I did, I started putting it back on.
Why? Because I looked good. I seemed ‘fit’. I could run a 10k no sweat. I gave myself permission to just watch what I eat and coast a bit.
Didn’t work, of course. I got to be that I repeat this pattern over and over. Maybe once a year. Get big, get small, start getting big again. Pretty much as soon as I start to think I need bigger pants, I start running again. This isn’t working. This is not the way to be and stay healthy.
My only goal now is consistency. I am looking for the habit of regular exercise.
So one Monday morning, after sharing my 66 days plan with my wife, I got up early and headed to the gym for its 6:00 opening. It was only me and two golden girls waiting for the door to open. I felt great. I felt energized. After all, it’s exciting to start a brand new chapter in your life right? I had my instant coffee, I had some new running gear, and had Kanye hitting it hard on my phone, speaking just to me . I was ready for the first day of the rest of my fitness life.
I hit the treadmill for 20 minutes followed up by some free weights. Mostly arms (the show muscles). I looked forward to cultivating some mass.
Then I came home 30 minutes later and took this picture;
And hoped desperately that the next 65 days are equally as productive and inspiring as the first.
(they were not)