Twenty-nine days ago, I set out to do 365 workouts—and dare I say that I’m still on track. But I’ll be the first to admit that one month of daily workouts is a tiny accomplishment.
This guy has done 365 days straight of Murph and is currently on track to do 365 days of hero workouts.
This guy has run a 5k every day for well over 1000 days.
And this team rowed one-month straight across the Atlantic Ocean (along with many others who participated in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.)
Still, despite my comparatively small achievement, there are some lessons I’ve learned from my 28 days of success.
Most importantly, tell everyone on social media.
I’m partly joking, but it is a massive driving force. For me, the thought of failure gets magnified 1000x if a bunch of strangers will know that I fell short.
While you don’t need to do it on Instagram, you should have a group of people who know about your mission and will see if it gets done.
The 3 P’s
It’s critical to lower the barrier to entry if you’re going to accomplish something every day. It can be exercising, writing, playing piano, or making the bed—they all require an energy investment that’s not always there.
But if you have a plan, a process, and a program for doing the thing, it reduces the barrier to entry to get started. And that’s the hardest part.
I have a plan for some races to train for and some lifting goals.
I’ve outlined a process of time each day and the warm-up to get started.
I have a training program ready, so I have no decisions to make. I just hit start on my phone and go.
Use a Visual
I had no intention of checking off a calendar because I didn’t think it would mean much, but after a month of training, seeing this chain grow is a badge of honor.
If you own an Apple watch, you likely know about the rings and how you close them daily by moving, exercising, and standing.
As I lay in bed one night last week, I realized I was one stand away from closing that ring since I didn’t put my watch on that morning. So I lay there with my watch on to make one last stand before bed to close my rings. Not because it mattered for anything but because of the compulsion to check it off.
I’m sure there is a fine line between motivation and obsession, but overall I find it beneficial to make your progress tangible, whether you write it down, take pictures to document, or simply check a box. The motivation becomes even more powerful as the chain gets longer.
Along the same lines, here’s a good article from Adam Savage on the power and strategy of list-making.
The Value of Daily Fitness
To be clear, I’m not putting my body through the wringer every day with a daily workout, but at least a minimal dose to make me better physically, and I’ve found a few wins.
By doing this, I’ve squeezed in quick workouts that I would have usually skipped over while traveling. It’s good to have the training dose, but more importantly, it makes it much easier to pick up the routine again once back home.
I omitted scheduled rest days in my running program. I’ve found that getting my blood going on rest days is much better for my recovery than doing nothing.
And keeping a physical routine has helped me dial in other healthy habits. I drink less booze and get to sleep earlier because I’m more health focused.
In total, it’s the addition of the small changes that we make add up to big results when done consistently over time, and a daily workout goal can help support that principle.