We all know the health benefits of exercise, but did you know there’s another reason why leaders make exercise a habit? As an entrepreneur, you may feel compelled to work all the time. Even though your list of activities and tasks seems endless, you can’t work all the time. It will wear you out physically and mentally. Being physically and mentally worn out is not good for business.
EXERCISE IS A HABIT THAT MAKES OTHER GOOD HABITS EASIER
Did you know that if you exercise regularly, other healthy decisions and habits will be easier? In Charles Duhigg’s best selling book The Power of Habit, physical exercise is identified as a keystone habit. According to Duhigg, keystone habits have the following defining characteristics:
- give you the opportunity for numerous small wins
- help other habits to flourish
- have the power to start a chain reaction that leads to other positive changes
That’s right, as a keystone habit, exercise has the power to spill over and trigger other healthy changes.
S.M.A.R.T. EXERCISE GOALS MAY NOT BE THAT SMART
If you approach exercise as a task that has to be done to lose X amount of pounds by Y vacation date, it might qualify as a SMART goal (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic(?!?) and Time-Bound), but often this approach isn’t sustainable. First, there is no opportunity to appreciate the rewards of a small win (how you feel after a workout) if all you are focused on is the big win(how you’re going to look on the beach). Second, guess what happens once that date has come and gone? Most people find themselves slipping back to where they first started once the big goal has been accomplished.
APPROACH EXERCISE WITH AWARENESS
If you approach it with awareness, exercise is an activity that gives you an opportunity for numerous small wins.
A small win can be as simple as the feeling of satisfaction that comes from doing something good for yourself. Keep in mind that your body is designed to reward you after exercise. When I go for a run, I don’t usually feel great while I’m doing it, but afterwards, I am relaxed and radiant.
The best way to approach exercise is to recognize it for what it is: a keystone habit that supports a healthy body and is a critical component of a successful and rewarding lifestyle. This mindset will help you become a person who makes fitness a priority in your life.
If you haven’t exercised in a while (or ever), here are a few tips from to help get you started.
- It is perfectly normal to feel self conscious if you choose to exercise in public (i.e. Gym, classes). Keep in mind that no one is thinking about you nearly as much as you are! Their attention is exactly where it should be – on themselves.
- Cardio alone is not enough. You’re going to have to do some resistance training using weights or your body weight.
- Be resourceful and leverage the knowledge of an expert. Hiring a personal trainer or a coach is one of the best investments you will ever make. Your time is valuable and a good trainer will help you make the most of your time at the gym and avoid injury. The science of exercise has changed a lot since you were in high school and so has your body. Please don’t be one of the thousands of people who join a gym and promptly quit within weeks because you’ve hurt yourself.
- Beginning an exercise routine is going to be revealing on more than one level. Be prepared to deal with some of your “stuff” when you get out of your comfort zone and get moving.
You can change your mindset and re-frame exercise as a keystone habit designed to support you. Just like in your business, the real heavy lifting happens between your ears.