Doing this one thing can bring your life on track

Lots of people are giving you some nice conceptual advice here – ignore it.

For now, at least.

If you truly want to go from lazy to motivated in all aspects of your life, you should do one thing, and one thing only:

Exercise.

Why? Because exercise is measurable, it doesn’t take a lot of time, and it creates a cascade that will trickle down into all of the other aspects of your life.

Let me explain (and show you how to easily make it a habit)!

Why Just One Thing?

Studies show that when people focus on changing a single behavior at a time, the likelihood that they’ll retain their new habit for a year or more is around 80 per cent.

And those who try to change two or more behaviors at once? Success rates drop as low as 20 per cent.

Why Exercise?

Two reasons.

First, exercise doesn’t require a large time investment. The Mayo Clinic recommends 20 minutes of exercise per day. Instead of hopping on Instagram or your email first thing in the morning – do this…then hop on Instagram.

Second, exercise is a keystone habit. If you’re not familiar, keystone habits are good habits that lead to the development of other good habits (made popular by Charles Duhigg in his book The Power of Habit).

Here is an excerpt from the book on exercise:

“When people start habitually exercising, even as infrequently as once a week, they start changing other, unrelated patterns in their lives, often unknowingly. Typically people who exercise start eating better and becoming more productive at work. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family. They use their credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed. It’s not completely clear why…‘Exercise spills over,’ said James Prochaska, a University of Rhode Island researcher. ‘There’s something about it that makes other good habits easier.’” (p. 109)

How Do You Make It A Habit?

Habits have 3 components: a cue, a routine, and a reward.

The most important parts of this loop are the cue and the reward. In fact, you’ll have an easier time adopting the habit if you choose a cue and a reward that already exist.

Let’s say that when you wake up (cue) the first thing you do is check Instagram and then you have your morning cup of coffee (reward).

Tonight, put your workout clothes next to your phone. Tomorrow, when you wake up, immediately put them on and go perform your exercise. Then have your cup of coffee (or check Instagram, whatever is more satisfying).

Personal Anecdote: When I was trying to make running a habit, I promised myself a beer at the end of the day if I completed my mileage goal. Worked like a charm.

In summary:

Step 1 – Identify a cue and a reward, insert exercise in between

Step 2 – Create a schedule for your 20 minutes each day and follow it religiously for the next 30 days (Pro Tip: doing it first thing in the morning makes is MUCH easier to stick with)

Step 3 – Profit?

Make It Measurable

Before you start, weigh yourself. Then, during or after your workout, document exactly what you did (miles ran, exercises performed + weight for each, etc.).

Then continue to weigh yourself each week and bask in your progress!

Once you hit the 45 day mark, feel free to take on some of the other advice in here 🙂

Originally written by Graeme Austin on Quora.

Leave a Reply


Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.