Building a Habit

December 14, 2010

It’s commonly said that it takes 30 days of doing something consistently to create a habit. I always found that interesting, since I actually think that is underestimating what it takes to create a habit.

I started my weight loss journey in October 2008. I lost my first fifty pounds without so much as lifting a finger for exercise. It helped me to concentrate on one thing at a time – one thing I knew I could change – my food. In April of 2009, I knew that to truly change myself I would need to find a way not only to make myself thinner, but also to make myself fitter – so I joined Curves.

Curves was perfect for me - low-impact, minimal time commitment, and fun to do.  I committed to going 3-4 days a week.  For probably the next 6 months, if I made it 2 days a week, that was good. 

Fast forward to this past spring - 2010.  Weight Watchers issued a challenge to walk a 5k.  Walking is GREAT exercise, but I knew that it would not be a challenge for me.  So... I committed to running a 5k, and picked my race - The CDI Back in Shape 5k - June 12, 2010. 

7 weeks away from the race, and after much hemming and hawing, I decided it was time to start training.  I followed the Weight Watchers run a 5k plan (email me for more information if you want information on this plan).  Initially I couldn't run 1 minute, but at the end of 6 weeks I ran a 5k in 32 minutes and 15 seconds!  Now I was going to Curves 3 days a week and running 3-4 days a week.  After the race, I just kept on running, I rarely missed a day.  I eventually left Curves and joined a gym where I could run inside, and rarely now miss a day.  It isn't even a option for me to "skip" anymore. 

That's my long-winded way of saying it took me nearly a year of "practice" to finally make exercise a habit - an integral part of my life.  Back in my earlier Curves days, I remember waking up at 5:20 am to head into Curves, only to roll over and turn my alarm off.  I can honestly say, with the exception of being sick, I haven't done that in months. 

The past 2 weeks have been TOUGH!  I have felt unmotivated to exercise.  I could give you EVERY excuse in the book: 
stomach flu
a cold/sore throat
a sick kid
a sick husband
the holidays are coming
holiday parties
Christmas shopping to do
stress at work
3 snow storms, etc. etc.
but I've powered through. 

The turning point of realizing that FINALLY exercise is a habit for me was this morning: 
The temperature = 11 below,
The time = 5:15 am
Outside =dark and snowy
Me = groaning and moaning, saying I don't want to ALL the way to the gym, even while on the treadmill the whole 30 minutes. 
The result, not even once did I consider not going despite all my grumbling! 

So don't give yourself the choice to quit - whatever you are facing.  Keep getting up in the morning and doing it over and over and over again.  When you don't want to, do it anyways.  For me, it took way longer than 30 days to make that habit, but the time spent was well worth it!

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  1. Wow- that's awesome, at 5am inside and warm, I can't be sure I would go!

  2. Great post! Thanks for sharing. 5:15 am and snowing.. would be hard to get out of bed! Good job!

  3. You are so right! 30 days? pfftt! But that seems to be only the case with building good habits. Why is it so easy to build a bad one?

    Awesome reading about your experience over the past year! What other kinds of exercises do you do at the gym? I am a runner, but having a hard time adding in other things like strength training. You're an inspiration!

  4. Perseverance... and NOT QUITTING... I love that message. Don't give yourself the option. It's those little decisions made a long the way that add up to big success. Thanks for the motivation girl!! :)

    Take care,

  5. would love the email of the running info please
    i just started weight watchers again for the well who cares how many times it has been?lol
    i am going to loose this weight....and trust me there is a long term goal in that statement, and hoepfully become one of those gals i dream of being. you know the oatmeal eating, yoga doing runner chic who look awesome sweaty as a dog. :)

  6. I too would love running info please. I am currently doing Weight Watchters On line, but I have never seen their 5k running plan. I have been winging one of my own! My email is Thank you for being so real and so encouraging!
    grace and peace,

  7. I had a couple questions about how you transitioned from blogger to the .com site. would you be willing to email me?

  8. Lori - Thanks! I basically run or do the elliptical 3 times a week and strength train 2 times a week. For strength training, I worked one timed with a trainer to help me build a circuit of about 6 upper body and 6 lower body exercises and also some core strength. I'll do about 5-7 minutes of the elliptical to warm up and then the circuit. Hope that helps!

    Wendy and Julie - Due to popular demand I'm going to do a post hopefully by the weekend about the running plan I followed... stay tuned.

    Katie - I will email you.

    Thanks everyone SO SO much for your comments, I love them!

  9. Inspirational!! I am working toward that kind of desire, discipline, habit..whatever it is!!!

    Keep it up my friend, you're doing awesome!!!

  10. I was on WW for two months before I started working out. Like you, I felt like i needed to concentrate on getting my food intake down and then proceeded to work on getting some exercise. I started with the 1 mile Walk Away the Pounds DVD and when I first started, I could barely complete it. I am now able to do the 3 mile Power Walk and while I need to catch my breath at times, it's rewarding to see how much I have improved in a month of really working out.


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