THE STRAIGHT UP
The Secret to Exercising in 2019 Never Underestimate Your Habits
Let’s talk about NewYear’s resolutions. More specifically, let’s talk about how they never seem to work. I recently started reading “Atomic Habits: An Easy and ProvenWay to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones” by James Clear. This book offers great advice for reprogramming our behavior to lead healthier, happier lives. It also highlights why resolutions don’t stick. the reasons you haven’t been working out in the first place: your habits. Resolutions fail because you don’t change your behavior unless you change your habits first. If you want to make a change, you need to “give your habits a time and a space to live in the world,” as Clear says. He offers a strategy to achieve this goal: I will [BEHAVIOR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION]. This is a strategy I’ve put into practice myself. Making a resolution to “work out more” or “get in shape” doesn’t work because it ignores
always been a priority. But recently, I reached a certain birthday we shall not discuss, and I realized I wanted to be able to have fun hiking, biking, and playing with my dog for years to come. That meant I needed to start exercising again. One of my patients, Mike, is a trainer at a fitness bootcamp, and I decided to work out with him. But it wasn’t enough to just decide to work out. Like James Clear points out, you need to make a plan for your habits to exist. I’m at the office all day, so I can only work out in the morning or evening. Since my brain and my body are exhausted after work, there’s almost no chance I’ll work out in the evening. If I want to get in shape, I need to work out in the morning. Fortunately, I’m an early bird and Mike has a class at 5:30 a.m. Following Clear’s advice, I made a plan: “I will work out at 5:30 a.m. at Mike’s class.” In addition to reframing my habits, I’ve also discovered a trick that helps get me out of bed and to the gym each morning: I sleep in my workout clothes. I’m serious! Like pajamas, workout clothes are comfortable, so they’re easy to sleep in.You save time in the morning because you just have to pull on your shoes and head out the door. Plus, a study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found clothing can influence your behavior. You’re more likely to exercise if you’re already dressed for a workout.
Once I began exercising, I started to enjoy all those great things people talk about when they exercise. I sleep better, I’m less stressed out, I have more energy, and I’ve gotten stronger. That last one is a big deal because there is another reason I’m so psyched to get in shape. My friend Joanne lives in Australia, and she is the world’s fastest walker. Last time I visited her, we walked around everywhere and she kicked my butt. I’m going back to Australia in April, and this time, when she takes me on a forced march around Sydney, I’ll be right there with her. My goal isn’t just to keep up — this time, she’s going to be the one begging for mercy. If you want to make a NewYear’s resolution that sticks — or outwalk your friends Down Under — I highly recommend first looking at your habits. James Clear’s “Atomic Habits” is a great place to start. –Dr. Leslie Pitner
I’ve spent years knowing I need to take better care of my physical fitness, but it hasn’t
“FOLLOWING CLEAR’S ADVICE, I MADE A PLAN: 'I WILL WORK OUT AT 5:30 A.M. AT MIKE’S CLASS.' "
Smile big. Smile often. • 803-781-5225www.drpitner.com
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