The most important thing you can do for your habit each day is get started.
If you donâ€™t get started each day, you wonâ€™t have a habit. You wonâ€™t be consistent with it, and wonâ€™t stick to it.
Nothing matters unless you start.
So all you have to do is start. It doesnâ€™t matter if you keep going for very long, or get tired after a couple of minutes and call it a day. All that matters is if you get started.
However, the most resistance we face is before we start the habit for the day. This is when we procrastinate, when the initial resistance turns us away from the habit and towards distraction or busywork. We procrastinate, then procrastinate some more.
Once you get started, the resistance drops. So the way to overcome that initial resistance is to make the start as easy as possible.
So hereâ€™s your golden rule: just get moving. Do anything. Put on one shoe. Get your workout clothes out of your drawer. Anything, just start moving.
Practicing the Start
What you want to do is practice starting, every day, instead of practicing procrastination.
- Focus on getting any kind of movement, even just getting up and heading to where youâ€™re going to work out.
- Count it as a success if you just start. You donâ€™t need to do 10 minutes or even 5. Just start. If you get out the door (for example), thatâ€™s a win. Once you form the habit of starting, say in a week or so, you can form the habit of continuing for a bit more. Just take the first step.
- Close the screens. Laptops, desktop computers, phones, tablets, ebook readers, TVs, video game systems. These devices kill starting. So close them, and go take your first step
- Watch the rationalizations. Sometimes, when you feel like procrastinating, youâ€™ll start to rationalize why itâ€™s OK to not start. Donâ€™t accept these excuses your mind is making up to weasel out of starting. â€œI donâ€™t feel like itâ€ or â€œNot doing it this one time wonâ€™t hurtâ€ or â€œYou deserve a breakâ€ or â€œIâ€™ll start in a few minutesâ€ donâ€™t cut it. Theyâ€™re just squirmy excuses. Instead, say, â€œIt wonâ€™t hurt to start!â€ or â€œI deserve to have fun and play and be activeâ€.
Thatâ€™s it â€” just take the first step and start moving, count that as a success, close the screens, donâ€™t let yourself weasel out.
Start practicing today!
Focus on the Finish
So youâ€™re focusing on the start, and thatâ€™s the thing that matters most â€¦ so why would I suggest focusing on the finish?
Because thereâ€™s a sense of accomplishment in getting your workout done. You finish the habit for the day, and it can feel amazing. You could focus on how hard it was, how uncomfortable you were, how glad you are to be not exercising anymore. But this is the wrong thing to focus on â€¦ focus on the feeling of accomplishment.
Each step of the workout, in fact, can be a great feeling. You can focus on gratitude and being happy in the moment, rather than wishing you were somewhere else. Often we think about where weâ€™ll end up, who weâ€™ll be, if we keep the exercise habit going. But I find it to be helpful to focus on who you are right now, and being happy where you are in each and every moment.
That can be hard to remember each step of the way, however â€¦ so I recommend that you take the end of your workout as an opportunity to be grateful that you got to do the workout, and to be proud of yourself for your wonderful achievement. This will help you look forward to the workout in the future.
Exercise for Today
Practice starting your habit today, and every day for the next week. Try the tips above.Â Â Then discuss in the Slack channel.
Also, please take a moment to do your weekly review … how did you do the last week? What can you adjust if there were obstacles? Post your weekly review in Slack.