By Leo Babauta

If all is well, you did the short tasks listed in the Start … including committing to active play every day in April, and writing down a few fun physical activities that you like. (Don’t worry, if you’re having trouble thinking of some, I’ll give you some ideas soon.)

Today, let’s continue our preparation by thinking about the Why of this habit.

You won’t be fully committed or motivated with the habit unless you really believe in it.

So let me ask you this — take a minute to think about this: Why do you care about getting active?

Is it to get healthy? To look good? To feel better during the day? To set a good example for your family? To live healthy into old age? To get strong and feel empowered?

I have a few reasons that you might consider, that work well for me:

  1. To feel amazing. When you get active, you start to feel healthy and strong. You start to enjoy the feeling of moving, of being outdoors. It helps you sleep better, feel better all day, once you make it a long-term habit. Getting active is about feeling wonderful.
  2. To set a good example. When I was sedentary, not only did I feel worse, but I knew I was setting a bad example for my wife and kids. If I didn’t get active, my kids wouldn’t either. So this new habit was an act of compassion for my kids. And doing a new habit for the benefit of others is an incredible motivator.
  3. To be compassionate toward myself. I knew that my unhealthy lifestyle was actually hurting me. Making me sick. Killing me. And so moving and playing became a way to be kind to myself. Not just to feel good in the moment (mentioned in #1 above), but also to take care of myself long-term.
  4. To have fun and bond with others. Playing outdoors (or even indoors) is so much fun. Best part of your day, often. And if you do it with other people, you’re forming or strengthening relationships, having a good time together. Some ideas: go for a walk/run/bike ride with a friend or loved one, join a rugby league, take a small yoga class with friends, join a running club, do a bootcamp challenge with family members, run around wild with your kids, take dance classes.

There are lots of other reasons, of course. Figure out your most powerful reasons, and write them down.

NOTE: If you’re already a regular exerciser, check out the Advanced Challenges.