Take Exercise Step by Step

Hard snow #7 © by angelocesare

My exercise habit is troubling me. I’m an active person and I have always loved playing sports and doing exercise, but for some reason it is difficult to implement at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for people who never do exercise and don’t like doing it.

Anyway, I’m sure it is possible to get there if I do it right. Things take time and just like getting up and becoming an early riser I will have to set myself a goal an gradually work my way to that goal.

The first week of exercise went well but the difficulties began when I had a full day of work and other appointments. There is just not time enough to implement an extra 30 minutes of training, at least not right now. I have to slowly adapt to a new lifestyle and new habits and habits can take up to eight months to form.

I do want to do exercise and I have a desire to do exercise; but I have to be honest – I don’t feel the desire for running five kilometres at 6.28 in the morning when the moon is still up and white frost covers everything. It takes a lot of self-discipline to get out under those conditions!

Make a plan

To get exercise every day you have to make a plan:

1. Find a goal and write it down. (E.g. exercise at least 30 minutes every day)

2. Set a deadline for your goal. (E.g. by 1st of June)

3. Make a schedule for each day of the week that shows what kind of exercise you would like to do. (E.g. Monday – swimming; Tuesday – fitness; Wednesday – swimming; Thursday – yoga; Friday – running; Saturday – surprise; Sunday – running)

4. Plan every day step by step. (E.g. join a sports club and attend training twice a week; then start running 10 to 15 minutes; then go to a fitness centre; then make a small workout plan starting with a few push-ups etc.)

The trick is to add a little extra when you feel ready for it. I have learned that you cannot do it all at once. It takes time to implement good habits. You know what they are saying: Good things are worth waiting for!

Resources

If you hate to work out then read this article at Summer Tomato: [How to Start Working Out When you Don’t Like to Exercise]

Feel the Desire for Your Healthy Habits

feeling down? © by twak

The healthy habits don’t feel healthy today; I am tired and I do not feel up to the mark. Why is that? I should be more energetic and feel better by implementing good and healthy habits. I woke up at 6.28 like yesterday and I sat with a glass of water in quietude to get a good start. I got something to eat and as I started writing – nothing came out except for the feeling of having to be creative.

About 8.30 I was supposed to maintain my exercise habit but for some reason I was not up to it and suddenly I felt this overwhelming feeling of guilty conscience. My girlfriend made me realise that I try too hard. I have an extreme self-discipline and if I don’t stick to my plan I feel like I’m letting myself and everybody else down. That’s not healthy, so what to do?


I had a cup of tee and read a bit of Haruki Murakami “1Q84” to relax. I like reading and I like reading stuff that really makes me think; Haruki Murakami is good at that. For some reason he always manages to give me what I need and today I read a few pages about this editor who is evaluating a writers manuscript. He says: – to be a writer you need to have a desire to write.

I forgot an important thing about habits although it is probably the most important thing at all. To succeed in making a habit you need the desire for whatever you are trying to do. If I don’t want to exercise today then I will not succeed. If I don’t want to write then I will not succeed. I have a strong self-discipline but today that doesn’t matter; today I have to find motivation for making my habits. I need to find the desire.

Why is it Hard to Form Good Habits?

Commitment © by quinn.anya

It is hard to form good habits and we all struggle with this. I am in the process of developing good healthy habits to form a good foundation for my life. I have learned that it takes self-discipline and commitment to do it.

To make a good habit you have to feel a desire to make this habit and first of all you have to get the right attitude and mindset. You have to make the habit twice; first in your mind and then in action. If you cannot imagine yourself doing this healthy habit then you will not succeed in action.

Start with your mind

Stephen Covey suggests, in his book about 7 habits to be effective, that you start with your mind by envisioning your goal and then try to understand why you want to reach this goal. Then you can start forming your new habit in action.

Commitment

The other great parameter that determines your success in forming a good habit is your commitment to the task. You have to be 100 % committed and prepare for keeping that commitment for six to eight months!

A few weeks ago I decided that I would make some major changes in my habits and I am totally committed to them. First task was getting up at 6.30am every day. I have done that for three weeks now. It is far from a habit but it is getting easier and easier every day. Next task was to implement a nap when possible between 1pm and 3pm. I have done that for two weeks now and last week I started exercising every day for at least 30 minutes.

The only way I will succeed is by self-discipline and commitment (– and of course a great deal of understanding from my girlfriend.)

Resources

I found this great article that suggests you create a timeline to envision your goals. It is quite simple and yet effective. [Create a Timeline to Better Envision Your Goals]

Wise Words From the Shaolin Temple

Art of Shaolin Kung Fu © by kevinpoh

“To become a master you have to master the basics”

I have made it a habit, or routine, to listen to YouTube seminars while riding my bike every day. My bike is the best mean of transportation I could ever think of. I never get stuck in traffic and I am not dependent on buses or other kinds of public transportation. My bike is the ultimate mean of transportation because it makes me feel free.

I travel between 10 and 30 km every day on my bike and yesterday I had a 20 minutes ride; just enough to listen to some wise words of the Shaolin monks. There was a story about a monk wanting to teach how to throw a punch. The student had a lot of experience in martial arts and was interested in the advanced stuff of the Shaolin monks.

The teaching of the Shaolin monk was that knowing how to do advanced stuff does not make you a master. You become a master by mastering the basics. I have practiced taekwondo for almost 20 years; I stopped practicing a couple of years ago. I did not find the joy in practicing as I used to do; I did not feel challenged. It was great physical exercise and it felt good being able to do things that few can do, but after a while I wanted to do more than that. But there were not anymore techniques to learn. For about 12 years I instructed beginners in the basics of taekwondo and I found it very rewarding. By teaching others I learned much more myself.

Today I practice swimming and the first three years of swimming I felt an enormous progress, but now I am stagnating. For a while I have been thinking if I should become a swimming instructor? On the side I experienced with rowing and I became quite good at it and I also became a rowing instructor. I have proved several times that I am good at sports, but I am not a master although I can do a lot of the advanced stuff.

In taekwondo my greatest success was doing the side kick; it became good and powerful and it still is. For me it was one of the most difficult techniques to do and I decided to become good at it. Four to five times a week I practiced the side kick in slow-motion; I did hundreds of repetitions for a whole year and I finally got good at it.

I used the power of habits to learn every single movement of the leg to perform a side kick. That is the closest I ever got to master the basics in taekwondo although I was generally good at it. The words of the Shaolin monk made me think about this. He made me think about my life in general.

I think a lot of people want to be experts and masters at something and the practice hard and they learn a lot of techniques in whatever they are doing, but they never become experts; they never become masters. I think that the true masters of a discipline are not trying to become masters. They are studying every aspect of the basics; they have done an in depth research and they now everything that you can possibly know about the basics.

By mastering the basics of your life you have an excellent foundation to perform the advanced stuff upon. By mastering the basics using good habits you can become the master of your life and the master of your destiny.

The Secret of Achievement: Recovery!

PhoTones Works #624 © by PhoTones_TAKUMA

Do you want to be excellent at running and win competitions? Let us say that you are a runner or any other athlete of a discipline you want to achieve mastery in. You decide to practice running every day and sometimes twice a day. You push yourself to the limit every time you run, but no matter how much you practice your results seem to get worse. Why?

The answer is quite simple; all training is degradation of the body. It is simple logic; if you use something it will degrade. If you use the same shirt every day for one year then it will be worn out; the shirt will degrade. So will you if you keep training twice a day. The difference between you and your shirt is that you can regenerate and the shirt cannot.

How do you increase the service life of your shirt? You take care of it by cleaning it, repairing it and most importantly, you wear other shirts. You do not have just one shirt you have several shirts in different colours and designs. The same goes for your body. You have to give your body rest to regenerate; it is called the recovery phase and is a very important part of all training.

When you give your shirt a rest you wear another shirt because you cannot run around half-naked. If you want to achieve running then you have to practice something else while recovering from running. That is why you need to plan training carefully to optimise training.

The principle applies in all aspects of your life!

Okay, you do not want to be a world champion in some athletic discipline, but the principle applies anyway. In every aspect of your life you have to remember the recovery phase! If you want to achieve anything today, tomorrow, next week and in your life then you have to optimise your tasks and incorporate rest to recover.

If you do not make time for recovery you will get stressed and worn out; you will feel tired and it will be difficult for you to focus. The meaning of life will seem difficult to find. You do not have to sit and do nothing to recover. Variation in you routines is enough. Of course, you have to fulfil some basic needs like sleep, diet and exercise, but variation is a very important part of development. When you work on your development in all aspects of your life then you will achieve more.

I found an interesting article on the net about mastery and relaxation that I recommend reading.


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