In a recent post, I decided to break down some barriers to starting up a new habit — exercise, in this case. First, I went over how to fight fear, which is part of what holds us back, and then I wrote about why I think the discipline needed to take up a new habit can actually be more liberating than binding. Today, we’re on to discussing the following:
Exercising evokes visions of panting and sweating it out for hours on boring cardio machines.
Part of this is true. If you do it right, you will experience some panting and sweating, but definitely not for hours on end, definitely not bored. Let me explain.
In the beginning, it may just be a matter of passing the time. When I started regularly going to the gym, each trip was grueling — both mentally and physically. Counting minutes and huffing through a few kilometers on the treadmill was no real way to exercise. After some fear dissipated (aided by making gym trips during less frequented hours), I started experimenting with new machines, and I started reading — yes, reading — on the elliptical. Looking back on it, that one simple variable is probably what allowed me to start even looking forward to the gym. Why? Because I enjoy reading, always have, and doing it at the gym provided a gateway to associating positivity with the gym experience.
Some people read. Others watch TV. Haven’t you spotted a few watch movies on their iPod? Music a great motivator, but it may not be enough for everyone — so find what puts you in the groove.
This applies to any other new venture in life. Sitting down with an Italian-English dictionary might not be fun at 11PM on a Tuesday night, but it may be a better deal during your lunch break in a well-lit, bustling cafe. Being a tidier person can be easily forgotten — until you decide to do some cleaning with some music playing? Different strokes for different folks, but it’s all about making it fun.
Hack the activity of your choice — it works.
Wouldn’t you enjoy the gym more if you could pair it up with something you truly love? So, find a way to do just that! It isn’t torture unless you make it that way.