Developing the Habit of Working Out Despite A Busy Schedule
There’s only 24 hours in a day and there are just some days that feel crazier than others. If you’re like me, you wake up half asleep, stumbling your way into the kitchen desperately searching for the coffee maker. It’s been a long day and there’s been so much activity, noise and distractions that just drains your energy. By the time you’re done with work you’re just ready to go home, put on your jammies and watch Netflix on the couch. Trust me, I understand.
In fact, our box was intended for people just like you and me. Real people who have real jobs and real lives outside of this “CrossFit bubble.” We relate. Even as gym owners, there are some days that we want to go home and skip workouts too! We too have real business priorities and responsibilities. However, the reward of health and wellness keeps us motivated to push through the hard days. Therefore, it is our desire is that you also reap the fruits of your hard work by obtaining a better quality of life and wellness.
First and foremost, if you been managing to fit a workout schedule into your life, you’re already ahead of half of the U.S. population. Why do I say that? It’s because the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention has discovered that over half of the US Population is diabetic as a result of poor diet, lack of exercise and sedentary lifestyles.
Therefore, great job! You get an “A for effort!” However, now that you’ve developed this healthy habit of going to the gym, I wanted to share some insights on (1) how to continue your habit and (2) how to avoid regression to your old lifestyle of not working out.
It is a healthy habit. Notice the word “habit,” this implies constant action. It a repetitive action, done over and over again. A regular tendency or regular practice. It’s not a destination or a “point of arrival.” In other words, it’s not like you work out for a certain period and then stop because you’ve arrived. Habits are formed by constantly doing the same thing over and over again. Once habits are form it just becomes a part of your daily lifestyle and you don’t even think about it anymore. It’s almost like brushing your teeth!
How healthy habits are formed over time. Yes, it’s over time and not overnight! Our instant gratification, technology-driven, on demand culture has deceived us into believing that habits can be formed overnight. Habits are formed over a period of time. The good news is that it doesn’t take forever to develop a habit. This should be encouraging then because we can quickly develop healthy habits to replace our bad habits. I’ve read varies studies on habit forming and some say 21 days, others say 30 and some others say 3 months. I don’t know the exact magic number of days for you, but I do know habits are formed over time so you can’t try something out for a few days and then quit. You must give it some time and you have to look at it one day at a time. So if you missed class today, then you have tomorrow to get to the gym. Make a choice to do this consistently and over time it will be a regular part of your life.
How healthy habits are formed over repetition. Habits are formed by repetition. If you set apart 6am every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday to work out over a period, let’s say over a period of weeks, then your body will eventually do what your mind has set out to do. If it is a nightly practice of yours to set your clothes, put the coffee maker on a timer and put your protein powder in a shaker cup, then do this each day repeatedly and eventually it will become a habit in your life.
You have to start out “small and simple.” It could be as simple as packing two workout outfits on Sunday night, so you always have a backup pair in your bag at all time. Use the K.I.S.S. method: Keep It Simple Silly. Don’t try to plan out your clothes for the whole week or meal prep for 14 days. Maybe it’s just preparing for 1-2 days at a time, but constantly doing that day in and day out will help you develop repetition.
I wanted to clarify that although the habit of working out is repetitive, your workouts do not have to be repetitive! In fact, that’s what makes CrossFit so much fun because it is “constantly varying movements.” You always have something to learn and improve on whether it is your pull-ups, handstand pushups, max box jumps, or personal records on your Olympic weightlifting. You are constantly learning something new, so it makes it fun over and over again!
How healthy habits are formed over our feelings. Ouch! This is a stickler! Habitual, self-controlled, disciplined are all synonymous adjectives that describe doing something even when you don’t feel like doing it! Yes, healthy habits are formed when you perform that habit even though you don’t feel like it. That is the essentially the definition of discipline. Doing something even though you don’t feel like doing it.
When you first start out, you might be excited and all fired up, but then after a while the struggle gets real and it becomes hard. You had a bad day at work. You had a fight with your boy/girlfriend. You just want to eat some ice cream and watch Netflix on the couch today. It’s raining. It’s cold. It’s too hot. Whatever challenge or excuse that is staring you in the face that day and making you “not feel like working out,” must be overcome by the intentional choice to workout. Trust me I have bad days. I have days where deals fall out, I’m short on money, time and patience. But as I get older and I’m learning, the single most effective thing I can do is to discipline my body to do what my mind tells it to do. My mind is made up that I will not fall back into that stressful, sedentary lifestyle of overworking and putting my health at risk. So, there are days that even I, as the gym owner, don’t feel like coming in and working out, but I come anyways. I’m not telling you to work out when you’re sick. If you really sick, please stay home for you and for all of us. But I’m talking about those moments when I know I can give into my flesh and my “feelings,” but I chose to go in anyways. Those are the days where I feel like a little battle was won inside of me. As you win those daily battles, you’ll eventually win the war over your health and wellness.
Keep striving fit-fam! Every day is a new day to do something better, learn something new or start over from the day before. Don’t let yesterday ruin today.