Three hundred sixty-five days ago, I made a promise to myself to workout every day. Today, January 18th, 2021, I fulfilled that promise! I grew up an athlete, competed in high school and college, and continued to work out when I was a football and track coach. However, that was over 20 years ago, after a while, and I got pretty relaxed about my health.
I got used to making excuses about why I stopped and eventually succumbed to the notion that I was just getting older. About four years ago, I was diagnosed with clinical depression after struggling internally with several things. I dreaded retaking medication to feel normal, but I knew it was a necessary step towards getting healthy. I joined a gym and started working out 3-4 days a week. I started journaling again and seeing a therapist for cognitive and talk therapy. Over time, I began to feel like myself and made some other changes in my life to regain some balance, peace of mind, and clarity.
I’m an avid learner. I enjoy reading blogs by respected leaders and educators, listening to podcasts, and reading various books. I listened to a TEDx Talk called Winning the Mental Battle of Physical Fitness and Obesity by Dr. Ogie Shaw, and it changed my perspective on working out. One statement he made that resonated with me is, “It’s easier to work out every day than it is three days a week. Three days a week gives you too many decisions… If you are negotiating about which days to work out, it’s over.” That made sense to me. So, it was at the point that I promised myself that I was going to work out every day.
To fulfill my promise, I took the following steps:
1. No Snooze Allowed– I put my phone across the room, so when my alarm went off at 4:15 am, I had to get out of bed to turn it off. Once I was up, there was no reason to get back into bed.
2. Nightly Prep– I laid out my workout clothes to eliminate having to make another decision in the morning.
3. I Scheduled It– I made an appointment for myself, 5:00 am weekdays, 8:00 am on Saturdays, and 9:00 am on Sundays. I don’t skip out on important meetings with others, so why skip out on myself?
4. Made a Plan– I partnered with a trainer to develop a workout plan that met my time constraints. I am thankful for David Key of Key Body and Fitness (@david_keybody)! David quickly pivoted when the pandemic hit and started hosting Zoom classes that are easily accessible. Between his classes, running, and using an elliptical machine, I have no reason not to workout.
5. Charted my Progress-After each workout, I marked it off on a calendar that I keep on my nightstand. The visual chart is motivation!
Since I eliminated having to decide if and when I would work out, it’s a part of my daily routine. I don’t even think about it anymore. More importantly:
* I kept my promise.
* I am more disciplined in other areas of my life.
* I feel better physically.
* I am mentally stronger.
* I am more confident.
* I have influenced others to do the same.
Tomorrow, I will continue my journey. In fact, I added another challenge to my routine, the 10,000 push up challenge. I have promised myself that I will do 28 push-ups every day for the year. I’m actually doing 30-50 a day, but that’s not the point. The point is to make changes in your life, eliminate excuses, make a plan, and implement the plan. Besides, “It’s easier to hold your principles 100 percent of the time than it is to hold them 98 percent of the time.”-Clayton M. Christiansen