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6 Lessons Learned From A 30 Day Fitness Challenge

I've been blogging a lot lately about commitment, motivation, holding yourself accountable, and setting different expectations of yourself, not just for the outcome you want to achieve but for the daily actions that will be necessary to achieve the outcome.


I thought I better walk the walk, so I challenged myself to my own 30-day fitness commitment. I have occasionally attempted 3 week and 4 week programs in the past, but like many people I usually get a little distracted halfway through. So I thought it was time to see what it would look like to actually truly be 100% committed to something, instead of just my normal moderation approach.


I learned some interesting things in the course of 30 days! I want to share them with you today in hopes that it will help you reframe your commitments towards your own fitness and activity.

6 lessons learned from a 30 day fitness challenge


1 – A commitment is a real commitment. When you truly make a commitment to the full extent of the word you of course can do anything. The key to my commitment was making it specific and small enough that I felt confident that I could fit it into my life. The commitment I personally made ways to do a 30-day strength challenge involving kettlebells instead of bodyweight workouts. Note I did not commit to an hour a day, or specific time frame. I simply committed to something every day, which could be as little as for 5 minutes or as long as 30. Most days were 10-20min long. What made this work for me was that I was tracking every day with a checkbox that once I did my workout. And on the days that were hectic, flustered and or little bit lower energy, I could still get 5 or 10 minutes of something in and consider it a success.


Approaching it in this way, and tracking the streak that I did not want to break, made it easier to stick with.


2- It’s easier, and harder than I thought to build a new daily habit. Just because it was easier to track a streak doesn't mean I wasn't tempted to give up on my commitment. Newsflash, I'm human too! I did find weeks three and four to be more challenging to stick to the plan. There are some good reasons for that though - primarily I slacked a little bit on advanced planning, and social life and events happened. There was a few occasions where I found myself trying to wind down my day at 8 o'clock, and I still hadn’t worked out. I did have a choice- I could grab a kettlebell and do 10 minutes of something, or I could not and instead break my 30 day commitment. Having to make that decision in the moment was the hard part. But because my commitment was flexible in terms of how much time, I was always able to make myself do that five or ten minute little bit of exercise. Talking myself into 5 or 10 minutes was the easy part. That way I could check the box, and continue my streak of my commitment to myself.


3 - Tracking is key. Not just key for a challenge, but in my case it was key to maintaining my motivation. I am definitely one of the goal achiever type, but there's something really positive in seeing the streak I was keeping alive from doing something every day. That's what made this commitment so different from others in my past. It's actually easier to commit to doing something every day, and building that habit, then committing to a moderation plan like working out 3 days a week, because when I’m not specific enough I have to start making decisions about which three days. Inevitably something gets off track. What I found so interesting about this, and it does tie back to my commitment article, is that when you've already pre-made the decision to workout every day, it makes it actually easier to hold yourself to that commitment. Reducing making decisions is awesome. Trackers and visuals help at absolutely, but I did find that the daily activity was easier to get in because it was simpler and frankly not an option.


4- Mixing it up is a good thing! What I mean by this is I had been doing bodyweight strength and interval workouts, going for runs, doing a fair bit of activity anyway. What was different about this challenge is I committed to lifting a weight of some kind every single day. And I could absolutely tell the difference! Even with the short 5 and 10 minute workouts come on my body was responding. My chiropractor noticed a change in muscle tone, massage therapist noticed a change of muscle tone, and my body certainly felt different. Did I achieve a massive transformation 30 days? No, but that wasn't the goal. The goal was consistency, the results were a byproduct of being consistent and giving myself a new challenge. Bonus points is I discovered when I got back to running again that the strength training had made my runs easier.


5 - Keeping a commitment to yourself breeds confidence. If you've ever stopped and started, started and quit, let yourself off the hook, lost steam in the middle of the program, or any of these other factors that happen to us, you can appreciate this. Self-doubt kills more goals than anything else I know because it stops us before we start. The beautiful thing about a well-structured commitment that you actually intend to follow through in every sense of the word is that the more you do, the more confidence you build. Having a commitment that is structured in a way that will fit into your life and that you believe you can do, and then seeing yourself actually fulfill it, builds a ton of confidence in your ability to chase down future goals and new challenges.


magic secret sauce

6 - Maybe the biggest piece, having a plan is key! And not just having a plan in terms of what workouts to do, which in my case was delivered to me, but having a plan for when during the day you're going to do this and how it's going to fit in your world. I mentioned that a couple of days I did lapse on planning specifically when I was going to do my workout. This led to me having to make that harder decision to stick to my commitments later today when I was tired, which is not usually the best case scenario. Most of these 30 days I made a plan to do my workouts first thing in the morning, before my other distractions. And that works best for me. But I think the combination of the “what to do” and the “when to do” is the magic secret sauce for any effort like this to work.


So that was my experience! I’m happy to not only have completed the challenge and gained some strength, but because I approached these past 30 days committed to activity as a daily habit, I've been able to keep it up since sending that 30 day streak.


Now that’s I’ve experienced the power of a true daily commitment for 30 days, I want to encourage you to undertake a challenge yourself, to make a commitment that you know you can make work, that's bite-sized enough but still a challenge, and to go for your goals focusing on the daily habits and not just the end result.


If you are local to Charleston, this is the reason we've built a 30-Day Jumpstart here at reFORM Studios. It includes not just the planning piece, but also the structure and the coaching to make sure things are bite sized and fit into your world, so you have less decisions you have to make and you can just follow the plan and gain the confidence, and the results, from the activity you commit to. Curious? Learn more here!

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