Do You Sabotage Your Exercise Plan? Zen it instead!

Posted on October 10, 2008. Filed under: Fitness | Tags: , , , , , |

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Love this post by Lifehack today, it outlines something I have recommended to my clients for years, the wording is a little different from what I would use, however the idea is exactly the same.

We often sobotage our good intentions, whether it is to exercise, to eat more healthily or pretty much anything by the way we think about it. It can seem like an enormous mountain we have to climb that gets bigger and bigger every time we look at it. This is about the time we begin to find excuses why we cannot do ‘it’ today, why we can wait until later (and never get to it).

The answer in my usual language is to remember to take ‘baby steps.’ Taking baby steps into any new enterprise means that you never do more than you want to do, this helps to override the usual self-sabotage we give ourselves when our perception tells us it is all too hard.

The biggest problem with a new exerciswe program is that we often start out by feeling enthusiastic and we go at it like a bull at a gate and end up sore and tired. Take this advice from the Lifehack post:

“As In her book “This year I will…”, Andy Ryan, an expert in collaborative thinking, spells out why such a gung-ho approach doesn’t work:

Whenever we initiate change, even a positive one, we activate fear in our emotional brain….If the fear is big enough, the fight-or-flight response will go off and we’ll run from what we’re trying to do.”

There is a very interesting Japanese philosophy called Kaizen which can help us do that. Kaizen  focuses on continuous but small change.

Andy Ryan explains:

The small steps in Kaizen don’t set off fight or flight, but rather keep us in the thinking brain, where we have access to our creativity and playfulness.

Let’s take a look at how that could be applied to physical exercise. I’ll take running as an example. Could you run for 15 seconds? Most people can. With the philosophy of Kaizen, you could say that if can run for 15 seconds, you can learn to run for a minute – and even for an hour. How?

Follow this simple running plan. Add 15 seconds each day.

Day 1#  Run for 15 seconds
Day 2#  Run for 30 seconds
Day 3#  Run for 45 seconds
And so on…

It will seem ridiculously easy! Do this for a about forty days, and you’ll be running for 10 minutes. A month later, and you’ll be running for 20 minutes. By that time your running habit will be well established. But it will have happened naturally!

You can apply the same principle to establishing any exercise. Whether it’s yoga, or swimming, or walking.

The important thing is keep to your plan. You may feel that you could easily do more than the prescribed amount of exercise, but please rein in your enthusiasm. Just do the requisite amount, and not more. This is the trick to establishing an exercise habit without stress or strain.” Stepcase Lifehack

Be Fit! Be Well! do it online…

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Everyone should have a fitness schedule before starting their exercises.


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