Who subscribed to a one-year gym membership and only went there once a month? Yours truly! You guessed it: the gym and I, well, we don’t really get along that well.
It’s not that I don’t like working out, it’s just that I always manage to find excuses not to go: it’s either too early or too late, I either need to work or rest, it’s either too cold or too hot… Just like for many resolutions I pick up, it seems like there will always be some divine obstacle between my dream body and me. Can anyone else relate?
But this needed to stop. My body needed the post-workout adrenaline kick and glow. As a desperate measure, I decided to take on a simple 10-minute daily fitness challenge to push myself out of my comfort zone.
Here is what I did in one month, and how it changed my everyday life.
Week 1: Setting Up The Routine
I knew my needs were extremely basic: I wasn’t interested in a weight-loss program nor in toning a particular body part, all I wanted was to build a consistent habit.
How? Science had the answer. According to the book “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg, to build a habit you need to ensure the following:
- A trigger, to initiate the behavior,
- A routine, refers to the action,
- A reward, because we all like celebrating our achievements, right?
With this information in mind, I decided on my daily fitness plan! *drum rolls*
An attainable goal was necessary, instead of 20 minutes, I’ll only do 10 minutes of uninterrupted exercise. The triggers would be a jump rope and a pair of sneakers kept next to my bed. On the other hand, the routine (and reward!) would be different every day since I’m easily bored.
The first week was actually a bit harder than expected. The exercises I did in the first two weeks were basic AF, but unsurprisingly, I was out of breath very fast. The workout was a mix of stretches, jump rope, squats, standing knee raises, pushups, and crunches. Something I could do in the living room of our apartment.
The first week was powered by the fierce motivation of changing my life upside down. Was I feeling sore? Nah! Was I feeling happy that I was finally doing something I’ve been putting off for an enternity? Oh yeah!
Week 2: The Reward of The Results
It’s the second week already and I could do this daily fitness workout on the go! It didn’t matter when or where, all I cared about was to actually complete it. For a motivation kick, I generally always started with my favorite exercise: jump roping.
The exercises weren’t hard nor long enough to have cramps, so I didn’t feel any change in my muscle weight. However, the first change I noticed right away was how much more water I started drinking. I was feeling hydrated through the whole two weeks since I learned to keep a bottle of water near me at all times!
Also, I could have sworn I was getting much more cheerful. I’m not particularly sure if it was because of the exercise itself or from the thought of completing my daily fitness goal only, but it felt SO good!
Since I was generally having those exercises at some point during the afternoon, it was also a great way to evacuate a great deal of built-up stress and breath more freely.
On the second week, I came this close to forgetting a workout after a long eventful day, so I decided to set up a couple of reminders on my phone. I highly recommend downloading a habit building app on your mobile: seeing my calendar fill up with the achieved daily fitness goal was another reward I wasn’t expecting!
Week 3: Challenging The Resolution
In the third week, things became a bit… different. I got caught up in everyday life and missed one day of workout. No problem, I foolishly thought, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. Before I knew it, three days passed by without doing a single exercise. Wow! How did that happen?!
I was feeling upset, grumpy, and unsatisfied by the sudden slump I was experiencing. In all seriousness, it was harder to get back on track at that point than it was to start the whole challenge on day 1!
I needed a solution, and fast, so I decided to look for an accountability buddy. An accountability buddy is basically someone who would remind you to do what you promised you’d do, and to whom you’d be too proud/shy to admit that you’re actually too lazy to do it. It’s a relationship based on trust, accountability, and motivation.
Week 4: ~The Power Of Friendship~
After one hour of messaging a bunch of my fitness-inclined friends on Facebook, I was lucky enough to have one of my friends agree on becoming my accountability buddy. While her post-work out selfies were leaving me disgruntled in the past, now I looked forward to taking my own!
Once I had someone checking up on me every single day, I started taking my challenge more seriously. I decided to do my workout in the morning, and it was honestly one of the best decisions I ever made.
My mornings became 10 times better: my head was cleared up and felt more focused, my appetite grew bigger and thus my breakfasts were more consistent and frequent. Even if it was only 10 minutes per day, my sinuses also felt a noticeable difference. It seems like exercising helps decreasing allergy symptoms, and in this spring season, it is oh-so needed!
Little by little, I was getting hooked, and I absolutely loved it!
It turns out, doing a couple of squats doesn’t require a fully equiped gym and that I don’t absolutely need a personal trainer to show me what to do. In fact, a new study suggests that we might even get all the exercise we need in just 20 minutes. Alright then, maybe it’s time I pick up a new challenge?
This past month daily fitness goal made me reconsider how I approached exercising, and challenged my perception of it completely: rather than a daunting experience designed to torture us in a room packed with strangers, exercising consists of a few movements we can do (almost) anywhere at (almost) anytime to stay in shape. It’s all about the habit we build and the consistency of our actions!
Are you in a love-and-hate relationship with exercising as well? What is your favorite workout to stay in shape? Let us know in the comments and share this article to encourage your friends to start working out!