Exercise has always been important to me. It helps me deal with stress and anxiety in a positive way. It alleviates headaches and tight muscles. And it’s always a guaranteed mood boost. I’ve practiced yoga, run, and swam for what feels like most of my life.
Although I would describe myself as a regular exerciser, I have one fatal flaw – I tend to go all or nothing. I either go for a morning walk, do a workout at the kids’ nap time, and then throw in a little yoga to round it all out – or – I do nothing. I don’t like living in extremes, mostly because, well, I tend to gravitate towards them. I wanted to change my approach to be a little more balanced and to keep my workouts more consistent, so I gave myself a challenge: 35 days to exercise every day for 15 minutes. I could exercise for more if I had time or the energy/motivation, but the goal was just 15 minutes. It didn’t matter what I did, just that I did something.
I chose 15 minutes because it seemed so manageable. In the past, busy days would make long workouts impossible so I would skip them all together. Now, I know my goal is to just make it 15 minutes.
If I don’t get my workout in by dinner time then I’m probably not going to get in an hour of yoga or weight training before bed. But, it’s not unreasonable to wait 15 minutes before starting dinner to make sure I get my goal in for the day. I can turn to youtube and do an energizing HIIT workout, sweat a ton, then hit the kitchen and be right back on schedule with everything I need to do for my family.
I’m on day 15 of my 35 day challenge and the reason why I’m writing this post today and not on day 36, is because I NEED THE MOTIVATION! It’s been a rough day and I’ve busted my butt for everyone around me and honestly, I just want to pour some kombucha and snuggle up on the couch and watch some Netflix. But….
I know that 15 minutes tonight of some gentle yoga will ease the tension in my shoulders, will help soothe the chatter in my brain, and will ultimately make me sleep better and help me wake up feeling refreshed.
And that, I guess, is the biggest reason for giving myself this 35 day challenge. I know that I need a little bit of purposeful movement every day. I don’t have a weight goal that I’m trying to meet. I’m not trying to fit into a certain pair of pants. I want to do this because I know my body needs this. My body doesn’t need me to kill myself with two intense workouts each week just to not do anything the other five days. I need consistency. I need balance. And I need attainable goals.
So far, there have been plenty of days that start out with 15 minute workouts but turn into much more. But there have also been plenty of days where I have to intentionally carve time out of my schedule, put the brakes on everything that is going on around me, and just give myself the time and space to move and breath for those 15 minutes.
One of my favorite quotes is, “Make it simple, but significant.” The line comes from advertising wiz Don Draper on the show, Mad Men, but I think we can apply it to almost anything in life – even exercise. Sometimes we overcomplicate things and place such high expectations on our workout goals that we are defeated right out the gate. If we simplify our goals but face them with greater intention and commitment, the result, I think, will be significant.
Ok. I’ve stalled long enough. Time for my 15 minutes on day 15. Then I’ve got a good book and a comfy pair of PJs that are calling my name. 😉