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Stop Stopping

… Such a simple concept, right?  

But often, isn’t it easier to just… stop?  

In January, I started an exercise “program” that was, to me, a huge success. It was called Stronger, a free video series from LiveStrong that involved 6 day/week, 30-minute online (free!) videos that required no equipment. When Wayne & I started it, we committed to doing this for 2 months: 4 weeks with the first set of videos and four weeks with the 2nd set (same general structure, but with a higher level of difficulty).


I am a generally healthy person, but exercise is tough for me. It’s not something I am naturally keen to prioritize. It is on the list, but easy to bump down. And, in this season of work & kids & friends & cooking & life… it has often taken a back seat.

This “program” had a low barrier to entry (no cost, no equipment, short time commitment), and doing it along with someone else was a huge boost to accountability. By the time the two months wound up, I was in the habit of daily physical activity. When I assumed that I needed to do something active every day, I made it happen.

The strength of my body and the way I felt were indicators: this was a huge success!


Then, vacation.

We went to England for 2.5 weeks and while we walked a ton, I only intentionally exercised once. Add to that the holiday diet of creamy coffees, daily ice cream, alcohol, and general, vacation indulgence… well, it wasn’t great for that sense of strength and well-being.

But here’s what made it worse: coming BACK from vacation and still not exercising.

It is so hard to start, but it is somehow so easy to stop.

I read once that a key to success in any habit-forming is simply: “Stop stopping.” Is it really that simple?

↑ There are perhaps things I need to start stopping, too! 😬


The real answer is: no. Or rather, for some people, yes; for some people, no. Gretchen Rubin dives into this whole question in her Four Tendencies framework, which is well worth checking out. I am a "Rebel"; Rebels "want to act with a sense of choice and freedom, and they often prefer to be spontaneous rather than to plan or schedule." In other words: good luck, me, setting a new system to follow!

This is probably worth a whole other blog post, but feel free to take Gretchen's quiz to find out about your tendencies towards expectations (a huge factor for habit-change).


For now, it is too late to not stop. I’ve stopped, baby! But, I am going to make my best effort to start again.

Stronger is still awesome, but I’m kind of sick of it, having memorized every line in the series! Do you have any suggestions for exercise that I might like? 

As for stopping... what helps you to "stop stopping"? 

Share in the comments below.

And… wish me luck in starting again!

Carla

Hi Shelley, I too have started and stopped quite a few exercise programs and videos. I find they just get boring after a while. It seems what works best for me is to just incorporate as much movement as I can into my everyday life. That can be walking, dancing to music, squats when doing the laundry etc., leaving weights in a place that I pick them up and do some sets. This may not be the best of exercise workouts, but I figure it’s better than doing nothing and I don’t feel so guilty! I wish you all the best in starting as many times as that may be!

Shelley

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