When I began my 66 day fitness journey, the details of which can be found in part I,II, III, and IV and V, I created these rules for my daily exercise.
- Get out of bed everyday and exercise
- However I want
- for 30 minutes
Ok, so I made it to 66 days. 30 minutes of exercise, through illness and work pressure and general life business, I made the time.
Here’s the transformation:
I don’t know the change in body fat percentage, but my weight went from 194 to 176. These numbers are not exact, as measuring your weight is not exact, but that’s not too shabby, is it? Not for a measly 30 minutes each day. My diet also improved, but I wasn’t counting calories, I was just trying to snack less.
But I’m not really excited about the change in my weight. It’s good for my heart, sure, but it also means that all those ‘new job’ pants that I bought in September look silly, and my belts need new holes cut into them.
What I’m really excited about is the change in my habits.
When I was explaining my 66 day plan to a friend, the reaction was not unexpected. “I wish I could find the motivation to exercise like that.” So I told him…
TO HELL WITH MOTIVATION! Motivation is fickle. Motivation is a bad one night stand. When you find it, it seems exciting, but it just leaves you empty, and wanting.
I’m not motivated to work out every day. I mean, I want to be healthy but I’m pretty sure I can do that without hitting the gym everyday. I’m married, and my wife isn’t going to leave me if I suddenly wasn’t absolutely ripped.
Habit. That’s the ticket.
Motivation comes and goes. It’s nice when it comes, but when your motivation abandons you causing you to abandon your plan, how good is it?
A quotation sometimes attributed to Stephen King reads:
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
This doesn’t only apply to art, it applies to all aspects of your life.
One of my favourite authors, Haruki Murakami, gets up each day before the sun, works for four hours, then goes for a long run. By 9:00, he’s already finished a day’s work and a day’s exercise. He’s not only one of the world’s most successful authors, he’s also an ultra marathon runner. Not only does he write interesting books about semi-depressed 30 something men with birth defects, social anxiety and a love of jazz (he gets me), he’s also, to me, got it all figured out. By making a habit of things that are hard, he’s done with them before most of us start work. Now he’s got the rest of the day to play Mario Kart or take a nap at the bottom of a well.
Don’t sit around and wait for motivation, just get to work. Put your shoes on, unroll the yoga mat, and get moving. No excuses.
There truly is nothing more powerful than habit when it comes to getting things done. Habits, rooted deeply in routine and repetition, make us who we are. It’s not hitting the gym for big lifts or running a marathon every once in a while, rather it’s doing it every day, that really changes things for us. It’s doing it every day that helps us to define who we are. Eventually, these once difficult chores become mundane, every day events. Not doing them would just feel weird. Like forgetting to eat lunch.
Nuts to motivation. I’m sticking with habit.
In the words of a famous shoe brand – just do that thing!
But that’s easier said than done!
Yep. But what isn’t?
Here are some tips that have helped keep me working out on the regular:
- Vary your routine. Doing the same thing every day gets boring. Give yourself options.
- Pick a time of day that’s consistent. I always work out when I first wake up. Yes, that means getting up at 5:40 every day, but after all this time I’m used to it. It’s feels normal.
- Eat well and sleep early.
- Podcasts. I could write several blog posts on this topic. Download podcasts to your phone and listen to comedy, books, interviews, etc. It helps.
- Don’t focus on the scale. If you’re eating better, and you’re exercising, it’s working. The scale isn’t your friend, check only occasionally.
- Find a few bad weather solution. You can’t always run or bike, but you can probably always do a body weight routine.
- Keep track. I find it helpful to make schedules and graphs of things.
- Push just a little harder every week. Add 1 extra pound to your lift, increase the speed on the treadmill from 6 to 6.1.
- Gym buddies. Meet people. Say hello. It’s helpful to have encouraging people around.
- Enjoy it. Exercise isn’t something we have to do, find the joy in becoming stronger and revel in what you’re able to accomplish today that you couldn’t do yesterday.
I have more to say on this topic, but this will be my last “absolutely ripped” post because the 66 days are up!
And because I’m on day 157. That’s right, 157 days of exercise straight. Something has clicked. Habit.
I will be, however, the last time I post a pic of myself shirtless. I’m sorry. While these days I am fully ripped and completely shredded, you can just take my word for it.