Building a HabitDecember 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:
a cold/sore throat
a sick kid
a sick husband
the holidays are coming
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!