Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Creating a habit: exercise

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I blogged this before, but it seems to be working so well, I thought I should really bring your attention to it: a post at Zen Habits on how to create a habit of exercise. The ideas—start very easy, have a “trigger” for the exercise, don’t try to add another habit for two months, and so on—are sound. I was thinking I’d add weight-training to the walking next week, but on re-reading his post, I realize I should wait until the end of December: create a separate habit for weight training only after the walking habit’s well established.

Read the post. Here’s the first step to get you started:

  1. Set one easy, specific, measurable goal. There are several keys to setting this crucial goal:
    • Written: Write this down. Post it up. If you don’t write it down, it’s not important.
    • Easy: Don’t — DO NOT — set a difficult goal. Set one that is super, super easy. Five minutes of exercise a day. You can do that. Work your way to 10 minutes after a month. Then go to 15 after 2 months. You can see what I mean: make it easy to start with, so you can build your habit, then gradually increase.
    • Specific: By specific, I mean what activity are you going to do, at what time of day, and where? Don’t just say “exercise” or “I’m going to walk”. You have to set a time and place. Make it an appointment you can’t miss.
    • Trigger: I recommend that you have a “trigger” right before you do your habit. For example, you might always brush your teeth right after you shower. The shower is the trigger for brushing your teeth, and because of that, you never forget to brush your teeth. Well, what will you do right before you exercise? Is it right after you wake up? Right after your coffee? Right when you get home? As soon as you take off for lunch? A trigger that you do every single day is important.
    • Measurable: By measurable, I mean that you should be able to say, definitely, whether you hit or miss your goal today. Examples: run for 10 minutes. Walk 1/2 a mile. Do 3 sets of 5 pushups. Each of those has a number that you can shoot for.
    • One goal: Stick to this one goal for at least a month. Two months if you can bear it. Don’t start up a second goal during that 30-day period. If you do, you are scrapping this goal.

Written by Leisureguy

26 September 2007 at 7:37 am

Posted in Daily life, Health

Tagged with ,

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