Fifteen days ago, I began a personal challenge to complete some sort of physical activity expressly for health and fitness purposes every single day for 30 days. In other words, walking to the mailbox could not count as exercise for the day. Leo Babauta, creator of Zenhabits.com has made huge changes in his life with the 30 day trial period thing, along with 28 other methods for changing habits. Mostly, I wanted to find out if regular exercise would increase my energy levels and if I would want to continue after the 30 days.
Surprise! By the end of the fourth or fifth day, I could tell a difference. If I manage to get up early and go to the gym before work, the morning flies by and I feel great. If I exercise after work, I don’t feel as hungry or tired as if I just come home and curl up with a book. Normally, after work all I really want is a nap. Throw in a good 30-45 minute workout, and I don’t feel like napping at all.
Right now, my main personal goal is to develop my freelance business. I need to write more, talk more, and market more. It’s tough to fit that sort of stuff in after work when there is also dinner to cook and eat, clothes to wash, books to read, and even TV to watch. I’m not the sort of person who wants or needs every minute to be filled with activity; I like to have time for my mind to wander built into my schedule.
Unfortunately, to make my new, tiny business grow and make money I am going to have to work during most spare moments for the next year or two. Up until this challenge, I’ve neglected exercise thinking that the time would be better spent writing or making calls. I am learning that it’s better to take the time for exercise, and that taking that time results in getting more done in the time left.
It’s always surprising when something that seems like a hassle or an unpalatable chore turns out to be such a good thing. It’s strange that human nature seems to make us want to do the thing that will be worse for us. We want the sugary desserts, we want to lay around instead of move around. Even if we know we will feel better when the house is clean, most of us don’t like to spend Saturday mornings cleaning.
I don’t know if I will keep up with the exercise after the 30 day challenge, but I sure hope so.