As of today, I have exercised in some way shape or form every day for 1,681 days in a row. Along the way I’ve learned a few things that will help you start a streak of your own and keep it going.
- Pick ONE thing
My one thing is exercise, of any kind: a run, a weight lifting session, a HIIT set, a circuit, a hike with the dogs, a bike ride – anything that is intentional and gets me off the couch. Pretty simple.
What you don’t want to do is stack things together and set yourself up for failure. Don’t commit to exercising 3 days a week, eating salads for lunch, giving up cookies, fasting until noon, etc. because I guarantee you, you will drop the ball on one of these things along the way – and then everything else will start to unravel.
2. Commit to doing your ONE thing EVERY DAY
There is something magical about doing something every day. 100%. Hashtag “No Days Off” that is very powerful.
The main reason, I have discovered, is that it takes the decision making out of it.
If you commit to running three days a week, then you have to decide which days. What if it’s raining one of those days? What if you have to travel one of those days? What if you just don’t feel like it one of those days? What if you’re sick?
This always leads to headaches you just don’t want to deal with – and eventually puts more pressure on you than you realize.
The magic of doing something every day is that you take the decision making out of it. You don’t decide if you are running today … you run today! You run every day. No decision. You make it work. There is no decision, you run today. You find a way. You do it.
It becomes a powerful habit and you will be surprised at what you will do to move heaven and earth to do that one thing.
3. Start with a 30 day commitment
Why 30 days?
Two weeks is too easy. You can do anything for two weeks. A year is too long, especially for something new or for someone who has never done a streak before.
30 days is a great starting point because it’s just long enough to be hard and just long enough to be easy – if that makes any sense.
You will feel very proud of yourself for doing something every day for a month. That is a really solid accomplishment.
And what’s interesting is that after 30 days, you may have just formed a habit that you want to continue.
Or, you might want to try something different for 30 days. Maybe one of the other things you thought about stacking together at the start.
After some experimentation, you may find something meaningful enough to continue with.
It truly can be life changing.
Consistency over time is a powerful thing. That is the secret sauce of a streak.
What I have found with my exercise streak, because I do something every day – is that I am always close to being “ready” for anything.
If I want to sharpen up for a 5k race, or sign up for a Spartan event, or try and PR on an olympic lift – I am only a few short weeks away of intense, specific work to do those things.
That is pretty damn cool.
I hope this helps you commit to something. Let me know what you decide to do.
UPDATE – Point #4 – Accountability
I wanted to save this last point for an update, because I was working on some accountability tools, which are now ready!
The fourth thing you can do to increase the probability of you maintaining your streak and hitting your goals, is to have a person, a small group, or a community of people you share your commitment with – and they help hold you accountable.
This has been one of the most powerful forces in my own streak of 1,681 days (and counting). I have a small accountability group all committed to exercising every day. Each day we text our workouts to each other – and what started as just a two week experiment – has turned into a 4 1/2 quest to NOT be the first one in our group to miss a day! This comrade, this “competition”, this support and accountability of like-minded people has been one of the coolest things I have ever been a part of.
There is NO WAY we are missing a day – and I love to hear the stories when one of us overcomes a major challenge to get a workout in (like getting up at 3:00am for a run before a flight, or doing farmer carries in the airport with your luggage, or walking on the treadmill with a puke bowl when dealing with a serious cold, etc.) Those inspire me to keep going no matter what.
And I’m sure if you find such a group – it will be a very, very positive experience. It may even change your life – or give it one hell of a boost!
The Iron Age Athletics team has introduced a few tools to help with this accountability tactic.
- We have just launched a Facebook Group for accountability. Come join our fledgling community! State your commitment in your first post, then drop in daily to let us know how you are doing. We’ll support you, help motivate you – and most importantly – keep you accountable. Facebook Accountability Group
- If you would like some additional/one-on-one accountability support, you can sign up for our text-based, or our text and call-based accountability service HERE