When you hate to exercise

It’s really a bummer that I don’t like to exercise.

I don’t like to sweat. I don’t like to get my blood pumping. Gee, if I could pay someone to exercise for me, I would!

The other day, I cam across an article that talked about different ways to motivate yourself to exercise. The one that piqued my interest was “Seinfelds productivity secret,” or a technique called “don’t break the chain.”

This technique is great for visual people like me where out of sight is out of mind. It’s also great for people who hate to have something undone (also me).

In short, it says to print out a big calendar, set yourself a low goal, and put a big red X every day you complete the goal. If you miss a day, you have a big gaping hole.

I can’t tell you how much the prospects of a big gaping hole on my calendar bother me.

So how have I been doing so far!=? Well, as of last night, one week into this system, this is what my calendar looks like:

It totally works! I have not missed a single day of exercise since I started this new system.

Here’s what I did:

  1. Find a cool calendar template online. Most of the ones out there are terribly ugly but HP has free calendar templates that look really nice! It’s even cool because you can drop in a photo. I dropped them in randomly and it just so happens that this month was the picture of my sister and her family!
  2. Print out the month and put it in a prominent place. It’s right on the front of our mostly-empty fridge.
  3. Set a low goal. I figure 20 minutes of exercise was minimal, though 30 was better. But I set the goal down to 20 just so I could hit it.
  4. Mark a big X with a thick marker when you hit your goal. My husband and I go walking every night for 30 minutes now. Before I used to be lazy and sometimes put it off, but now I know if I don’t walk outside, I have to get on the dreaded treadmill. It’s sure a whole lot better to have the pleasant company of my wonderful husband that walk on a boring, noisy treadmill. It’s amazing what good motivation that is to go out walking.
  5. Put a “V” for vacation and “S” for sick. I said I could have the same number of days I use for work so I don’t abuse this loophole.
This system totally works for me! I can see how it would benefit the reaching of any kind of goal that can be broken down into daily steps.
Sadly, I see it is supposed to rain almost every day next week… I guess it’s time for the treadmill and me to get reacquainted again. But tonight, I think my husband and I will go over and water my mom’s plants while she is out of town!
A Yee

Angela Yee is a professional designer (graphic design, stage design, interior design — angelayeedesign.com) and teaches leadership skills at strategysketchnotes.com.

2 comments to “When you hate to exercise”

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  1. Leslie - October 21, 2012

    Hey, that is such a good idea! We did the same thing with exercise – we have a calendar and we put our initials on it. But the idea of the big red X and not having a gap and putting in V or S is really smart. I had some gaps when I was sick and felt bad looking at those gaps when I didn’t exercise. It was amazing how motivating the calendar was. Sometimes I would only do it because I didn’t want to disappoint myself when I looked at the calendar.

  2. Carmen Lin - October 26, 2012

    I have been praying for you to get regular exercises. Praise the Lord for answering another prayer.
    Thanks for watering my plants when I was in Taiwan.

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