From the Blog

4 Ever Fit Tips – Habits and Discipline Connected

I mentioned this concept in the last blog and wanted to expand on it, especially after listening to some great podcasts called Chasing Excellence by Ben Bergeron.

Daily Discipline Whoopie Maximizing your minutes
Self-discipline is defined as the ability to control yourself and work hard, perform tasks, or behave in a particular way without being told to do so by anyone else.

I would like to dig deeper into performing tasks. We face a barrage of decisions every day. Some are simple for most, while those same decisions might be a challenge for others. Most successful people are very good at managing their time and limiting the amount of mental energy spent on trying to decide whether or not to do something. The best way to stay in the moment is not to clutter your mind about what is next or around the corner. Complete one task and then move on to the next one.

Most of us wake up every morning, brush our teeth, get dressed in a certain order, put our seatbelt on when we get in the car. We don’t even think about this stuff. We just do it instinctively without expending much mental energy. We create other regular habits, such as paying bills on the same weekend each month or getting all the grocery shopping done for the week on Sunday. These habits benefit us by limiting the mental energy otherwise required in deciding when to perform these necessary tasks.

Some people don’t create habits or routines but rather deal with things as they crop up or when they feel they need to. This approach is necessary at times, but instead of time spent on other activities, thought and energy are diverted to deciding when to do x, y, or z. The satisfying result of creating habits and routines is that they become easy when the decision-making element is taken off the table.

Creating daily exercise habits and routines will help you succeed in maintaining cardiovascular and muscular strength as you age. Daily exercise habits are also very helpful in reducing the risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers, as well as improving mood and mental health, increasing bone density, and reducing the risk of falling by improving balance.

The most successful approach for exercising regularly is to put it on your calendar with a specific time each day. If you plan to exercise but wait to decide until you see how the day goes, you may skip it. Another approach I have found to be very successful is telling yourself “I am going to exercise today.” By placing the emphasis on saying I’m definitely doing it rather than I might do it or I would like to do it, you have already made the decision to do it. Daily challenges and conflicts may derail you and cause you to change your plan, but you shouldn’t let those things affect your plan to exercise, even if your meeting runs late or you have an early flight. Once exercise becomes a routine, it will be easier to make the time for it.
Our weekly fitness challenge is to do 500 pushups and 500 sit ups this week. You can do them however you choose. I am doing 100 of each daily. If I get behind, I will have to make them up. It won’t be fun to do 200 or 300 pushups in a day, so I plan to keep to a regular schedule.

If you don’t think 500 is reasonable for you, pick a number that you can achieve. Make it a challenge, not a simple task. Go a little beyond your comfort level. It will make it that much more worthwhile when you have completed it.