What Do You Need to Form Healthy Habits That STICK?

I’ve just achieved something I don’t think I’ve ever done of my own volition as an adult: exercising and moving every day for a month. Angela (my wife) challenged me last month to do this 30-day challenge, and I quickly converted it into my 30/30 challenge — at least thirty minutes of movement for thirty days.

Staying consistently active on my own has been my biggest challenge as an adult. Being in the Army gave me a lot of impetus to maintain my level of fitness in my twenties, but I never really exercised as much as I needed to and knew was good for me, or in a way that harnessed my natural strength. To be honest, I’ve always had it incredibly easy when it comes to staying in shape because I could exercise once every week or two and sprinkle calisthenics throughout the day and be just fine. Age, a sedentary job, and a few years recovering from a car accident have caught up with me, though, and I’m currently twenty-five(ish) pounds heavier than is good for me and have lost a lot of my endurance. And something that’s true for me now in a way it wasn’t previously is that my body hurts more if I don’t exercise than if I do.

Finding an Accountability Buddy

Even knowing all that, I haven’t really created a way to get consistent daily exercise in a way that works for me. This is where Angela is a fantastic coach, in general, and specifically for me. Here are some specific ways we made it possible for me to complete this goal:

  1. She knows that if I want to build healthy habits, it’s best if it’s something I do every day rather than a few times a week.
  2. I need to make it SMART; the specificity of thirty minutes or more for thirty days — with brisk walking counting — made it super clear what needed to be done.
  3. She knows about my streak mentality and how once I get a few days under my belt, I’ll keep doing it so that I won’t break my streak.

There were quite a few nights where I was out walking in the middle of the night because my evening commitments and work made it such that I couldn’t get my exercise in earlier. There were also some difficult days — like when we thought we were needing to let our 18-year-old cat go or during the buildup to launching Epic Launch Playbook — that it was really hard to get it in.

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There was one additional thing she added in that made all the difference: that we were doing it together. This was critical for me because she knows that I don’t do nearly as well with goals like this when I’m all by myself. We’d reaffirmed this when I started working out with Cory last fall. There were plenty of days that Cory and I agreed to that I wouldn’t have shown up for if it were just me because of a host of all too familiar excuses. It wasn’t just about the fact that I made a promise to be somewhere, though — I enjoyed being there so much more and it was some guy-time with one of my best friends.


Read the entire article on Thrive Global by Charlie Gilkey

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