I have a very simplistic way of logging my exercise: a wall calendar and a package of stickers. Exercise that day, get a sticker. At the end of the year, when I look back at the progress I made, there is one disappointing pattern, year after year. My activity falls way off in December.
What is it about December? The parties. The travel. The extra obligations we take on or have placed on us. It’s cold. It’s dark. December is just not the best month for maintaining a fitness routine.
So this year, I am going streaking. This is far from my comfort zone. On social media, I read about others who have logged a run every day for hundreds of days, and I know trying to establish a routine like that isn’t for me, and would be a recipe for burn-out. But there is something to be said about not giving yourself another option: you’re going to exercise today because that’s just what you do. I can certainly keep that up for thirty-one days. And so can you.
- Do some kind of exercise for at least ten minutes a day, every day in December.
- It must be ten consecutive minutes. In other words, don’t add up the walk to and from the car in the mall parking lot.
- It must be deliberate. You must be exercising on purpose, though there’s no rule against fitting it into the rest of your day. For example, for the city girls, maybe that’s getting off the subway a stop earlier.
- Reward yourself when you’ve completed the month. (More on reward ideas in a later post.) If it helps, put a dollar in an envelope each time you exercise, so you’ll have at least $31 budgeted for your reward at the end of the month.
- Keep track of your progress. As I mentioned, I use a wall calendar. Maybe an app works for you. If you don’t have one, check out Strides, which lets you set your own parameters for the habit you want to track and sets reminders for you.
- Make up your own rules. Make it fit your life.
I hope to make it to New Year’s Day without feeling that I have to “start over” after the holidays. Come back next week to read about my progress and some of my favorite sources for a quick, guided workout.