Week 111: Power of Habits

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

This popular quote, attributed to Aristotle, probably wasn’t originally intended to be fitness related. But it is strangely relevant to what it takes to get and stay fit. Through my weight loss and fitness journey the power of habit was extremely important to me. It remains just as important today.

As I like to talk/brag about I had a few major accomplishments throughout my fitness journey so far. I ran two half marathons and participated in multiple other races. But these big accomplishments weren’t how I got fit. I got gift, and stay fit, through small daily habits that really add up over time.

In this week’s update I thought I’d share a few of my daily fitness habits that have helped me be so successful. I am not saying that these habits will make you successful in your fitness journey but I am saying they will likely increase your probability.

I care. My most important habit that leads to my fitness success is that I care. My fitness is a priority for me every day I never take a “cheat day”, I never take a day off and I am always focused on making the right choices to live healthy. If you follow me on social media you know this doesn’t mean that I don’t have fun and don’t live my life but I am always aware of how each decision plays into my overall fitness picture.

I track. Almost as impactful as caring is tracking, I track everything, Everything that I eat or drink, gets logged in an app. All of my exercise and activity gets logged by my wearable personal fitness tracker. Plus because I wear the tracking 24 hours per day except in the shower, my sleep also gets tracked. I also weigh myself daily unless I am spending the night away from home. Many experts say not to do this and I can tell you it is maddening sometimes but it is a habit that has worked for me.

I reflect. Every morning I review all of the numbers from the day before and reflect on whether it was a good fitness day or bad fitness day. I do this while I am journaling each morning. This habit helps keep me focused and allows me to make little adjustments when needed.

I make informed decisions about food and drink. I like to eat and I like to drink and I do both often. But every time I choose to ingest something in my body I know how it will fit into my overall fitness plan. Because I am tracking everything I am able to pause before I choose and consider the calories, protein, fiber and sodium implications of my choices. Then I don’t hesitate to customize menu items to suit my preferences. Half portions (including half beers), sharing with my wife, alternate side dishes are all examples of the many special requests I make. Plus, if I have a question about portion sizes or preparations, I ask questions of my server. Yes this makes me a little more high maintenance of a customer but I also never send things back or complain unless it is really over-the-tops. I also make sure that I tip accordingly.

I get moving. Here is the habit that everybody tends to dread: I exercise a lot. I try to make sure that I am getting at least 30-60 minutes of exercise per day and know exactly where I sit because I track it. This may sound like a lot of work, and sometimes it is, but it is easier than you think. Some days my exercise includes a long run but that is usually just Saturdays. Some days include a sweat session at the gym with my personal trainer but that I also usually just once a week. I have shorter runs some days of just 1-2 miles including warm-up and cool down. You may be surprised to find out that the vast majority of my daily exercise is walking. Whenever I have any free time to do so I go for a walk. I usually grab my ear buds, put on a podcast and get out there for 30, 60, 120 minutes and go for a walk. I get exercise, I get to enjoy my surroundings and get to spend quality “me” time. You don’t have to be an athlete running a 5k or half marathon to get exercise, anybody can go for a walk. Every bit of movement helps and it all counts.

I share. My final fitness habit is that I share. I try to share a real-time glimpse into how I get and stay fit on social media. I share through my blog to help keep me accountable and to inspire, motivate and equip others with the skills needed to start and succeed at their own journeys. I talk to people and share my approach and processes. I even wrote a book to help share. The more I share the more I can help others and that continues to be a big motivator for me. I wish there was a job where I could take people walking and running, help them with their fitness and career and leadership journeys and get paid well for doing so. I feel so great when I am able to do these things.

Thanks for reading! I hope seeing some of my habits helps you build some good habits of your own. If we work together we can build the good habits that build a world where goals never die of loneliness!