… 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!
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!
For many of us — perhaps especially if you have kids in school, or an affinity for fall —, September is the perfect time for a fresh start. I wrote last week about my fresh exercise start after a summer of indulgence!
Whether it is the new calendar year, or a new school year, milestones offer a great chance for fresh starts. I think it is a fantastic time to dream about what will be different, what systems can change & improve, and how to begin well.
But here we are, mid-way through September, and I want to offer another thought:
Before we get started… In case you are wondering: Yes, I am aware that dignify, here, where you’re reading this, is an online store! And that I sell things here.
Indeed, I want to sell kantha quilts — lots of them! But, in my desire to create opportunities for dignity for women sewing blankets in Bangladesh, I still want to preserve the dignity of our customers, and of ourselves.
When people speak of “charity”, what they are talking about is one-way work – how are other people benefiting from the charity that I am providing? How are their lives being changed by the money that I give?
Transforming lives of people in need is a good thing, an extraordinary thing! Charity is not a bad word.
However, true development is always a two-way street – both sides (benefactor and recipient) need each other to progress, to truly “develop”. The rich and the poor need each other to become whole.
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