12 February 2014

Week 1: Building the Habit of Fitness [Fitness Challenge]

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I invited you to join me on an 8 week fitness challenge and you responded in droves.

Over 300 of you signed up to participate in the first-ever session of AspireFitnessNW's Home Sweat Home online "boot camp." Three hundred!

Clearly I'm not the only one who could use a little support in the self-care and fitness department.

Week 1 is over and I've completed my first three workouts. The workouts are great; challenging enough to get my heart going and my muscles burning, but not so killer that I'm immobile the next day.

The exercising hasn't been the biggest challenge for me...it's been the mental hurdle of actually getting started. After we received our first set of workouts, it took me a full two days of hemming and hawing to finally get myself to do one.

Changing habits is an odd thing; you know you want to do things differently and yet there's a huge pull to stay mired where you are.

In my case, it was a swirl of thoughts and feelings: nervousness about being publicly accountable, fear about committing myself to lasting change as opposed to just "trying this out," plain old "I don't wanna" rebellion.

You know what made the difference? You. A big part of Home Sweat Home is the support from Alisa and other participants in a members-only Facebook group. When I shared that I was feeling intimidated I got such a rush of encouragement from both friends who are doing this with me AND from people I've never met. Not only did I feel supported, there was no way I was going to let you guys down after that. It felt amazing.

The big lesson I learned in Week 1 boils down to this:

Successful habit change requires small steps, consistently taken.

When building a new habit, any progress toward that habit is forward momentum. My dear friend Judie told me that, in the beginning, even five minutes -- one minute -- spent exercising is success.

The most important thing is consistency. Remove every obstacle to acting on your new habit, and reward yourself every time you take a step in the right direction. This Fast Company interview with Tony Stubblebine, creator of Lift, really hit that point home.

Read Martha Beck's The Four-Day Win for more on setting yourself up for success when it comes to diet and exercise. I'm a big Martha Beck fan so read this a few years ago and am re-reading it now. It's powerful and applicable to any sort of habit change.

We're into Week 2 now and I'll let you know when (or if) it gets easier.

I'll update you on my progress each week during the Parent Hacks 8 Week Fitness Challenge. If you don't want to miss a post, sign up for email updates.

Your comments

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Great post!

You should check out BJ Fogg's (Director, Persuasive Tech Lab at Stanford) "3 Tiny Habits" program (free), which helps people learn how to create habits in their lives.

It reinforces a lot of what you're saying here (and have said other places about habits).

Tanna: Just Googled BJ Fogg and I'm fascinated! I think I'll sign up and check it out. Thanks for the heads up!

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