30 Days of Exercise
“You should come play tennis with me,” my sister said to me at a party a few weeks ago.
“Sounds fun! I’d love to do that,” I replied.
“How about Thursday? A group of us are playing at 9.”
“Oh Thursday? I don’t know, I think I…”
My sister cut me off before I could finish my sentence. “You need to stop making excuses about working out,” she said sternly.
She was right. I’d been making loads of excuses for months which is sad because I used to love working out. I used to be so committed and strong. If I were on vacation, I’d find a gym or a park or some stairs. But ever since baby number 3 came along, exercise has become a chore and an afterthought.
I’m not going to whine about this unfortunate downfall or analyze my many failed attempts to get in shape. It’s time to toughen up and get moving.
30 Days of Exercise: Challenge Rules
I must exercise every single day for the 30 days of June.
There are no time limits or intensity requirements, no rules on what type of workouts to do or where. And there’s no worrying about pounds lost or strength gained (although I am tracking it). My only job is to show up.
In order for exercise to become habitual, I need to focus on the behavior of exercising. Here, consistency matters, not results. That said, if I get out and work every day like I have been for the past 9 days, I will inevitably see improvements in speed, strength and overall fitness.
I’m self aware enough to know two things: first, I cannot trust myself to complete a workout on my own. Second, I cannot put myself in a position where I’m scrambling for a workout at the last minute.
I need other people tell me what to do; where the only decision I’m responsible for is the one to show up. Classes, friends and accountability partners are key to staying on track.
Here are the rules/tactics I’m following:
- Plan 7 days of workouts in advance
- Sign up for and pay for classes in advance
- Go for hikes/long walks and download entertaining podcasts or audiobooks
- Recruit friends to work out with me as often as possible
- If I must exercise at home, write my workouts down and have it approved by one of my fit friends
- Set financial stakes. I created a commitment contract on a website called Stickk, where, for the next 4 weeks, I must exercise 7 days a week, referee’d by my sister. If I miss a workout, I have to give $50 to the NRA, which I really don’t want to do. Stakes are a great way to stay motivated.
- Have fun!
In the end, I did play tennis with my sister on Thursday at 9am and had a blast. I can’t wait to go back. I’ve also gone to Bikram Yoga (twice), spinning (loved it), and dance (meh). I’ve done interval training (tiring), went for a long walk (amazing), and did my own workout at home (awful, but I completed it thanks to rule #5).
Of course, I’m taking care to alternate between intense gym sessions, outdoor sports, and slow-paced activities like walking or restorative yoga.