By Leo Babauta
I’m a big fan of exercise challenges.
I’ve used challenges to change my health and fitness habits, including:
- Pushup challenges with my wife & kids
- Burpee challenge with a friend
- Online group exercise challenges
- Workout and diet challenges with my wife (we got rewards if we stuck to the challenge)
- Accountability challenges for eating
There have been many, actually, and they always get me motivated to get off my butt and get going. Sometimes that’s the push you need to get over the initial resistance.
So I’m issuing a challenge to all of you, to help you overcome your resistance.
Are you ready?
Here’s the challenge:
- Commit to doing some kind of exercise for just 5-10 minutes a day (to start with), for 6 weeks. Make a big commitment in your mind.
- Tell someone about it. Or many people.
- Do it for 10 minutes a day, trying to be mindful during the exercise and focusing on enjoying it with gratitude.
- Keep a simple log each day of the exercise you did.
- At the end of each week, write a 5-10-sentence journal entry about how the week went, reviewing your successes and failures. Share it with someone (email, etc.).
- If you were consistent the previous week, increase your exercise by 2 minutes for the next week, otherwise stay the same or shorten it.
So just make a commitment to yourself and others to stick to small daily exercise for six weeks, and keep a log. Will you be super fit after these 6 weeks? Well, you’ll be fitter than now, and you’ll be much further along the way to a lifetime fitness habit.
You can do it!
Tips for the Challenge
I’m interested in your success, and the sad truth is that most people fail at these kinds of challenges. Not you, though, because you’re going to be smart about this.
Here are some tactics that work for me:
- Do less each day than you think you can. Most people tend to be too ambitious, and then burn out. You should leave some in the tank, and set the bar low, at least at first.
- Create digital and physical reminders. On your phone and calendar, and a paper note somewhere you won’t miss it. You don’t want to forget!
- Make each exercise a joyful meditation. Be mindful, focus on gratitude for even being able to do it. Make each exercise session the reward.
- Make it fun. Your exercise can be a sport you love, it can be a walk or run with someone you enjoy spending time with, or you can do a challenge using Fitbit or some other kind of social fitness app.
- The weekly review is for adjustments. You’ll find various obstacles as you go, and the review is a way to reflect on what you’ve done right, what has gotten in the way, and what adjustments you need.
- Create a recurring calendar reminder to do your weekly review.
- If you miss a day, don’t feel bad. It happens. The thing that gets most people is giving up after missing a day or two. Instead, be the kind of person who gets back on track no matter what.
Are you going to do the Get Fit For Summer Challenge? If so, tell your friends about it, ask them to join you, and use #getfitforsummer.
My Get Active & Fit Course
If you’d like extra support for your new fitness habit, join my Sea Change Program … I’ve just started a 6-week video course called Get Active & Fit, where I’ll be doing video lessons and a live video webinar on creating a consistent fitness habit (or taking your current habit to the next level).
You can try the free 7-day trial.
We’ll be doing this challenge together, discussing the fitness habit supporting each other on the Sea Change forum, and doing small daily challenges to help people learn to be fit for life. Join Sea Change here to be a part of this program.