Years ago, a friend of mine would do fitness challenges based upon his age. If he was 27, he would run, bike or swim for 27 days straight. I have been consistently active for over 5 years now, however, I never was one for hitting the gym everyday, averaging probably 4-5 days a week.
When I started running, this would change depending on my cross training program. When I was triathlon training, I was at the gym/pool/street (to run/bike) about 6 days a week. During marathon training this fall, I ran 3-4 days per week and tried to get in yoga one extra day – SO MUCH RUNNING!
But recently, I did something crazy and canceled my gym membership. I realized a few things.
(1) It opened up money for boutique gym classes like PureBarre, etc.
(2) I can roll out the mat at home (in my little Brooklyn apartment) and get a pretty impressive workout following videos.
So after ditching the gym, I needed a way to make sure that I was doing more than running 3 days a week for half marathon training and I decided I would work out 30 consecutive days in honor of my 29th birthday. Today is Day 30 and I ran with my running group, Brooklyn Back of the Pack (come run with us if you are less speedy and in NYC!). I feel totally exhausted and super fulfilled.
I am definitely a believer in the “challenge concept”: do something for a certain number of days and then make a decision about what to do next. This can be particularly useful for things like getting up early, going to the gym or making your bed. It takes away the permanence, the feeling that if you do something now, you have to do it forever. It opens up the door for kindness and flexibility for yourself, but gives us a reason to START.
Are you good at starting new habits? Would it be helpful to try something for a set amount of time first? What habits are you trying to start (or to give up?) Let me know what you think on facebook.