You want to be a fit person, right? That's why I'm sharing my own habits for keeping fit and staying healthy in the ongoing Habits of Fit People series.
Here's one that works for me: Commit to just 10 minutes. So why does something like this matter?
This is one of my best secrets to exercising regularly. Believe it or not, I struggle with working out just like anyone else. There are days that I feel lazy, tired, or like I'd rather sit on the couch than hit the gym. And then there are other times when I’m so busy with other things that putting in an hour at the gym just isn’t feasible. On days that I’m busy or just not feeling it, I promise myself that I'll do just 10 minutes of exercise. The way I see it, 10 minutes is better than nothing at all and it DOES count for something. Plus, I know that I’ll feel worse if I skipped out from exercise entirely than if I did a little bit.
Why it works: For one, committing to 10 minutes each day (or most days) keeps you in the habit of exercising regularly. It keeps fitness on your mind and gets your body moving. One skipped workout can easily turn into two, three or even seven sedentary days, am I right? But I don’t consider 10 minutes to be “skipping out,” so when I do a short workout like this, I’m more likely to keep up with my plans the following days.
Another reason it works? For most people, including myself, starting is half the battle. Once I get moving for a few minutes, I remember how good it feels, why I choose to make exercise a part of my life, and what my goals are. It’s truly motivating! You will feel accomplished if you do just 10 minutes of exercise (as opposed to feeling like a failure if you did nothing).
But there’s an even bigger payoff to keeping this habit. When you feel less-than-enthusiastic about exercising, 30, 45, or 60 minutes seems really overwhelming. But 10 minutes sounds reasonable. If you tell yourself that you have to put in10 minutes, after which you can stop if you choose, you'll still be more likely to continue with a longer workout. When I change my clothes and get going, 10 minutes flies by. And more often than not, I decide to do a longer or full-length workout after all. If I forced myself into an hour-long workout every day, I’d probably be on the couch most of the time. But when my mindset is 10 minutes, it seems doable.
In the end, committing to 10 minutes of exercise is something that even the busiest of people can do. You’ll still feel a sense of accomplishment—and a lot less guilty than if you would have taken the whole day off. I know it seems like a small thing, but try it yourself. The next time you’d rather not exercise, commit to 10 minutes. You’ll be surprised at how much better you’ll feel (and how much more you’ll likely work out) when you follow through!
Are 10-minute workouts part of your fitness program? What else helps you stay consistent when you don’t feel like exercising?
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