Groundhog Day 2010: Make Exercise a Ritualistic Habit revisited.

In my last post, I talked about Building the Habit of Exercise, It’s such an important matter, that I want to revisit that today.

In my day job, besides being a father, husband, fitness entrepreneur, I’m a technology trainer and consultant.

As a consultant, it is often my responsibility to make recommendations and tell people what to do. (As a side note, I’m working a technology post that describes some of my recent consultations. I’ll link to it when its done.) Talking and telling people what to do is much easier than actually doing it.  For example, Do you want to cross the Grand Canyon, jump.  See, that wasn’t so difficult to tell you, but boy, you better be able to fly more than Michael Jordan ever did in order to leap the Canyon.  Actions are not so easy.

If you’ve been reading my January 2010 posts, you know that 2010 is my year of Action!  I want you to take action to meet your goals be it fitness, be it financial, be it personal, be it business, etc…  In order to do that, you must do something.

Image: 'Happy Groundhog Day!', Today, is Groundhog’s Day, and as such, Right now, I feel like Bill Murray’s character in the movie. I’ve been here done this before.  (Insert wooshing sound to take us back in the way back machine)

If we want to create good exercise and food habits, we have to be boring at first. We have to create rituals. We have to be consistent everyday.
–Scott circa Simpleweight 2009.

If you have not read it, I encourage you to take a moment and read  Pick and Commit Time to Exercise, 10 minutes a day. Ground Hog Day 2009 Fitness Resolutions.

Now, let’s flashback to 2010. As I look back I seem to see some similarities.  In fact, I’m in the same boat as I was last year. I want to get more lean.  I want to exercise more, and I want to lose some excess weight. I also have some other goals which we’ll talk about in the future.

So, What derailed me in the past and how can I overcome that in 2010?

For starters, in 2010, I had an accident where I hurt my left index finger pretty bad near Valentine’s day 2009 that really threw off my plans. All is okay now for the most part now, although, I still have some weird feelings every now and then when I try to open a bottle left-handed. That’s really just an excuse albeit, I’d contend a pretty good one.

The main reason for lack of 2009 Action, is I did not make exercise a priority.  It just wasn’t for me.  The consultant in me is great at giving valuable advice just as a shoe cobbler is great at fixing shoes. Yet, in the classic parable,  the shoe cobbler’s children go barefoot. The consultant sometimes has difficulty taking his own advice much less anybody else’s advice. Since 2010 is my year of action, I’ve begun to re-read my own blog posts, and I’ve begun to focus on the minutiae of habit forming fitness activities. Eat less and Exercise more.

If you look at my January 2010 calendar below, I’ve exercised.  Why?  Now, My day gets planned around exercise even if it means I’m exercising at 11:00 PM on the treadmill in the house.  At the very least, I’m doing something.  I have decided I have to, and I have decided I want to.  It’s time I’ve acted and created this big positive habit.

The thing is, exercise is not a habit yet. Even though, I’ve gone about 4 weeks of consistent exercise.

2010-01 Scott's Fitness Calendar

My actions have shown that I’ve done a very focused 10 minute weight workout in the morning Monday – Saturday.  Then, three to four days a week, I have done a 40 minute to 60 minute cardio workout.  I usually set the treadmill to keep my heart rate in my target fat burning zone.  The treadmill then adjusts the incline and speed to maintain that heart rate. I know that this habit is not engrained.  Its going to take me time to build the stamina and the endurance for this to become a natural daily aspect of my life.  Yet, I also know, I must schedule my day around my exercise rather than schedule my exercise around my day.

As I was talking with my wife last night, (the run 5-6 days a week type of person), she told me that in order to make exercise a strong habit, I really need to maintain a consistent exercise plan for 12 weeks or longer. I’m almost four weeks down, and I have some work to do. I believe forming the habit of exercise is fundamental in building the strength needed to improve my eating habits.

It all takes consistent, ritual, habitual action.

What actions are you taking to make healthy fitness as ritualistic as Ground Hog Day?

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