Today is Saturday, and perhaps you have a few extra minutes to “Make a Fresh Start.” A lot of attention is paid to “getting in shape” in January. Many of us are feeling the side-effects of holiday indulging, and we vow to get into an exercise routine. I’ve also heard that the gyms are very full in early January (although this year, perhaps that will be different!). Typically, the crowds thin out by the end of the month.
The reality is, developing an exercise regime is difficult. It requires that we commit regular time to something we may not particularly enjoy. When a goal or project feels overwhelming and challenging, sometimes the best approach is to start small.
Today I am encouraging you to pick one small step you are willing to do each day to improve your physical fitness, with the key emphasis being on the word “small.” Most attempts to get in shape fail because we take on too much, too quickly. We vow to spend an hour working out each day. Transitioning from not exercising to working out an hour each day is a monumental shift, and one that very few people pull off.
Instead, try something small that you wouldn’t mind doing. Here are a few examples:
- Do one pushup
- Walk down your street and back
- Hold a plank for ten seconds
- Stretch before going to bed
- Do ten jumping jacks
- Practice deep breathing for one minute
- Do five sit-ups
Start with this approachable step today, then repeat it again tomorrow. Keep repeating and see how it goes. In the world of productivity, we talk about breaking down large projects into small tasks that are specific and tiny enough to not feel intimidating. The same applies to physical fitness. You don’t need to have a “beach body by summer.” You don’t have to run a marathon in six months. If having a goal helps you get motivated and stay accountable, by all means give it a try. However, if that feels like too much pressure, remind yourself that you have your whole life to improve your physical fitness.
If you already exercise but may have fallen into a boring routine, today might be the day to try adding a bit of variety. Think about including a new activity or a new move to your current regimen.
As with most things, it is the “getting started” that is the hardest. The best way to deal with this is to make your goal so easy that you aren’t tempted to talk yourself out of it. If you can consistently perform a bit of exercise, you will find it much easier to add a touch more down the road if you wish.
Do you do any physical activity on a regular basis? Would you be willing to try adding a new step to your daily routine to make a fresh start with your body?