A mindless TV sitcom, A bowl of ice cream, a cigar... Things you can do in 30 minutes. What if you spent 30 minutes a day to change your life by just moving?
On July 1, 2014 I had enough of how I felt, looked and I was seriously concern over where this was all taking me. 51 years old and over 230 pounds I decided I was going to do something about it.
Over the years I had crafted complex workout and exercise plans (typically around Jan 1) that I inevitably stopped or was unable to follow. And like many people, that led to the feeling of failure from which I never got back on the horse. Not anymore.
On July 1, 2014 I decided and committed to moving for 30 minutes a day; every day. No elaborate exercise plans with heart rate, distance, effort goals; just moving 30 minutes everyday; no matter what. I wasn't even concerned about changing my eating habits just moving for 30 minutes.
I was inspired by James Clear who wrote a post called How to Stop Procrastinating on Your Goals by Using the “Seinfeld Strategy” where he mentioned Jerry Seinfeld's commitment strategy of writing every day. Jerry built a simple system that he focused on which had nothing to do with results, only the process.
The way I viewed it there are really very few failure points (only one) and a clear easy way to measure progress. I set up a quick Google Docs spreadsheet and tracked day, time moving, location, and description, and a counter for keeping track of the consecutive days moving. Nothing more.
This started out as walking for 30 minutes a day (which my two dogs are thoroughly loving). I just walked for 36 straight days and really enjoyed it. But what started to happen was remarkable. I started to feel better both physically but mentally as I had kept up with an exercise plan for 36 days and I wasn't overworked, sore, burned out. I felt great. It was not always easy, I can remember hustling down to the workout room in my Sydney AZ hotel at 11:00 at night to get in 30 minutes on the treadmill after an all day flight into town.
Now that I was having success with an easy workout plan I started to development a healthy mindset. I started to wonder how I could move in other ways. So after a year I have moved by:
Playing Ice HockeyWhite Water RaftingKayakingSwimmingWeight TrainingCyclingRunningJump RopingLateral X machineKettlebellsRoller BladingSplitting Wood
I have been lucky enough to do my 30 minute move in a lot of different placesDayton, OhioCharlotte, NCRaleigh, NCNew York, NYNashville, TNLondon, UKParis , FRSydney, AZDubai, UABManila, Philippines
In just the first year I have lost 23 pounds and dropped 4 inches off my pants size, and I feel much better. With the successful reinforcement of my success I naturally started looking at my eating process and have slowly started to change those processes a well.
TakeawaysWhat if I expanded this approach into other areas of my life? Would it work? I put a process in place to track reading and media consumption per day. Through print books and audible books I consume at least 20 minutes per day of great content. This can be fiction, non-fiction, whatever but I set up the system so that I get 20 minutes of great content daily. No TV doesn't count for me.
What could you do at work with this systematic approach? How about making sure you give 10 compliments or signs of gratitude for people a work a day?
What about spending quality time with your family or a significant other X times / minutes a day or week or month? I am a firm believer that what you focus on improves and if you put the system in place you will move forward. Make the barrier to success so low that you can miss it and you will quickly see the momentum these systems can generate.
How can you use this approach? Let us know in the comments below.