To put it kindly, I have been struggling with the motivation to work out.
I can think of a million excuses, but all of them end up with me looking like this.
Seriously, if you aren’t following The Oatmeal and all of this Blerchy goodness, you are missing out.
I signed up for two Holiday Fitness challenges. Yes, you heard me right, I signed up for not one, but TWO challenges. Because if you haven’t been able to work out on your own, one single measly Holiday Fitness challenge is not enough. Need Moar Challenge!
Healthy for the Holidays
This is a holiday fitness challenge we have going on at work. It runs from Nov 18 – Dec 18. For this challenge we are logging at least one healthy habit every day, from the following choices: Physical Activity, Healthy Eating, Weight Control, and Stress Management. You can define the behaviors that “count” for those categories in any way that you want. For the work challenge, if we log at least one element per day for the month, and turn in our log sheet on Dec 18th, we have a chance to win a $100 grocery gift card.
I can’t give you a chance to win a $100 grocery gift card, but I can give you the log form in case you want to play along.
Coach Jenny Hadfield’s Holiday Challenge
Jenny Hadfield is a fabulous running coach who happens to be married to my favorite running guru, John “The Penguin” Bingham. Coach Jenny’s Holiday Challenge runs from Nov 18 – Jan 5. Every week you set a mileage goal, and post that goal to the Challenge Facebook page. Jenny is being super-flexible about what counts for this challenge- so you can choose to run, walk, or cross train your miles for the week. It all counts. There are also weekly prizes from the sponsors. Here’s the link to register:
Did you notice that both of these challenges start on Nov 18th? I did. Guess what… Today is Nov. 18th. My goal for Week One is to put in at least 10 minutes on the elliptical 5 times this week. I know this goal sounds absurdly modest, but that is on purpose. First, I have been struggling a lot with some hip flexor, IT band, and knee issues. These issues are part of the excuses that have been keeping my butt in the chair. I want to start small and keep up with the self-care I need to do to keep my knee from getting too cranky.
Second, this is a little bit of strategic Kaizen. Kaizen is a Japanese management strategy that, roughly translated, means “continuous, slow improvement.” Kaizen is a lot more complicated as a management strategy, but for here, the basic idea is that making continuous small improvements toward your goal is the best long-term strategy for change. Robert Maurer explains how Kaizen can be applied to any kind of personal motivation in his book, “One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way.” When faced with a difficult challenge, Maurer asks us to think of the smallest possible change that we can actually do that will move us in the direction toward our goal. He tells this great story about a woman who wanted to work out, but who struggled to begin an exercise program. She even bought herself a treadmill so that she could work out at home, but like most home treadmills, she was not using it. Maurer recommended that she start with a small goal of standing on the treadmill for 30 seconds. She didn’t have to turn it on, just stand on it. Next he asked her to drink her morning coffee while standing on the treadmill. After a week of standing there on the treadmill drinking her coffee, she decided to turn it on and walk. A year later, she was running a mile per day on her treadmill.
So here’s my answer to the Blerch cartoon: What’s the smallest possible change you could make to move your butt off the couch? Just Kaizen It.
Yes I realize that I’ve signed up for two challenges, and yet I’m saying to make the smallest change possible. I am using the challenges as accountability partners for making small changes. I know that sometimes I need to sign up for a race in order to train for it. Signing up for these challenges is like signing up for a race- they are giving me a time frame and a process-oriented goal to strive toward. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Here’s an interview with Maurer talking about Kaizen.