This post is inspired by a recent blog post I read by Bry Jensen over at Embrace Fire titled “21 Days to Habit!” (I used to have this linked, but the link is broken and now I can’t find her article – apologies Bry!). She recently wrote a post about studies that have shown that it takes about 21 days before something becomes a habit. This got me thinking.
I think everyone has something that they struggle with physically. Whether it’s related to weight loss, nutrition or exercise, there is always something we can improve upon.
For me, that is cardiovascular exercise. Cardio exercise on a regular basis has been the absolute devil for me. I know how important it is and I always feel GREAT after a run but before and during the actual event I have just been hating it. I do everything in my power to mix it up – which does help quite a bit. For the most part, I just play around with the incline and speed on my treadmill.
Some days I might do high intensity interval training (which I’m a huge fan of) and sometimes I’ll try to be as steady as possible, but I’ll always end up changing something. I just can’t run at a steady pace for more than about 5 minutes without getting bored out of my mind. A lot of times I’ll do some HIIT and then follow it up with more steady stuff or just regular intervals.
Anyway, after reading that post I realized that I had completed cardiovascular exercise for 3 consecutive days – that is huge for me. I much prefer to lift weights than pound my feet on pavement – or on a treadmill for 20+ minutes at a time. (Sure, an elliptical sounds nice but it still involves repetitive movements for “too many minutes”.)
Thanks to the post by Bry, I decided to challenge myself to do cardio exercise for 21 days straight. I realize rest days are important but I won’t be taking one for running until those 21 days are over! The idea is to keep running every day for 21 days in hopes of it becoming a habit for me – or at least much closer to a habit than it is right now..
Yesterday marked my 4th straight day of cardiovascular exercise – meaning I have 17 days left counting today. I’ve actually been enjoying my cardio exercise as of late which makes me pretty excited and optimistic. I attribute that to me mixing it up in every way possible. Good music helps too! This week I’ve really been appreciating Eminem and Nine Inch Nails for the motivation they’ve given me.
If you have been thinking of starting something yourself – whether it’s lifting weights, eating healthier or cleaner, getting more rest or even performing cardio exercise more often, I encourage you to take a 21-day challenge of your own to see if you can form a new healthy habit that you can be proud of!