There's only one reason you don't exercise.
Maybe it's because you:
- Got bored.
- Got tired.
- Got busy.
- Got lazy.
But there is no getting around it.
You gave up.
But fear not!
If you follow this one rule, you'll never quit again.
The Beginning Of The Journey
The first time I "exercised" was in high school.
My girlfriend had just broken up with me, and I was in a pretty dire state of mind.
Depressed, suicidal, and I had no idea how to get out of it.
My mom recognized it and still calls it "My Dark Side."
At the time, she was going to the local YMCA and invited me to join her.
I didn't expect the gym to do anything magical for me, but I was desperate.
When I got to the gym, I did the stereotypical bro workout.
Bench press, bicep curls, and the pec fly machine.
Nothing wrong with it, but looking back at it, I would have given myself some better advice (i.e., compound movements).
I left the gym that day, and to my surprise, I felt a little better.
Still incredibly depressed, unable to sleep, and constantly ruminating over my ex-girlfriend. But better.
I woke up the next day sore beyond belief. I couldn't even lift my arms to wash my hair. Luckily I wasn't showering much those days.
A few days go by, and my mom invites me again.
This time I mixed in a few leg exercises.
I felt better on my way out of the gym that day.
The next day, I could barely get off the toilet seat.
I repeated this for weeks until I woke up one day and realized, "Holy shit, I'm not depressed anymore!"
I regularly reflect on that experience and recognize how lucky I am.
How lucky I am that fitness was the modality that pulled me out of my depression.
That was over 15 years ago, and I've been exercising ever since.
I'm not implying that you need to go through something like that to adopt the habit of exercise.
There is a much simpler way (which we'll get into).
I bring this up because exercise literally saved my life, and I've still fallen off the wagon many times.
In those 15 years, I've tried a lot of things.
- Weight training programs
- Home workout videos
- Community workouts
- Interval training
- Group classes
- Spin classes
That's just to name a few.
But here's what I've realized.
It all works if you stay consistent.
And none of it works if you don't stay consistent.
Consistency is the most important ingredient in the dish that determines if you hit your fitness goals.
And the best way to stay consistent is to follow this one rule.
The One Exercise Rule To Rule Them All
Move. Every. Day.
It seems so simple, and it is.
That's why it works.
This rule has got me to exercise for 1,437 days and counting.
I move my body EVERY SINGLE DAY.
It doesn't matter what it is.
- Lift stuff
- Push stuff
- Jump stuff
- Stretch stuff
Anything that involves movement of the body.
There are 3 reasons why this rule works.
Let me explain. 👇
Number 1... It removes ambiguity.
Ambiguity is the enemy of consistency.
When I followed a weight training program, there were days when I was sore as hell or even injured.
On these days, the brain goes, "Should I workout today, or should I take a rest day?"
Even though it was a terrible idea to do a heavy bench press that day since my shoulder hurt like hell... I'd do it anyways.
"I have to stick to my workout program!"
"If I quit now, I'll break my streak!"
"Making gains is all about consistency!"
The injury worsened, and eventually, it was no longer a choice.
Shoulder pain forced me to take time off.
I'd fall off the wagon.
The problem wasn't the program.
The problem was the ambiguity of "Should I or should I not workout today."
The solution to that problem is forever solved by following one rule.
There are infinite ways I could have (and should have) moved my body instead of weight training.
Here's the beauty in practicing daily movement.
It's no longer a question of should or should not.
It's a practice of how.
HOW should I move my body today based on how I'm feeling?
Number 2... Exercise is a state of mind.
What even is "exercise?"
Before I adopted the daily movement practice, I would have told you it meant something along these lines:
- Lifting weights
- Going on a run
- Riding a bike
- Joining a yoga class
These are forms of exercise, but structured exercise.
Oxford Languages defines exercise as "Activity requiring physical effort, carried out to sustain or improve health and fitness."
Now this is a definition of exercise I can get on board with.
This might seem like semantics, but here's why this is important.
It removes resistance around what it means to exercise.
- I've mowed a lawn and called it exercise.
- I've squatted a baby goat and called it exercise.
- I've run up a flight of stairs to my apartment and called it exercise.
- Hell, I've had sex and called it exercise.
This is important because it follows a fundamental truth about human behavior that I learned from BJ Fogg.
BJ founded Stanford's Behavior Design Lab and wrote a book called Tiny Habits. In his book, he states this.
"We change best by feeling good, not by feeling bad."
This means that one of the keys to behavior change is feeling GOOD.
We set the bar to success so low that we almost guarantee ourselves a victory.
Move. Every. Day.
We can all do that.
Number 3... It creates an identity.
Identity is one of my favorite topics.
It controls everything about the choices that we make.
If you believe yourself to be a wealthy person.
You make choices that make you wealthy.
If you believe yourself to be a happy person.
You make choices that make you happy.
If you believe yourself to be a healthy person.
You make choices that make you healthy.
Identity drives behavior.
But which comes first?
Does consistent behavior lead to identity?
Or does identity lead to consistent behavior?
The answer is both.
But the only one you can control is the behavior.
The identity is a byproduct.
I can't tell you exactly when I adopted the identity of a healthy person.
But I can tell you that after I stacked enough healthy behaviors under my belt, eventually, "healthy" is who I became.
Now I do things that re-enforce that identity.
The bad news is that there is no shortcut to this process. You must do the behavior enough times that your brain eventually clicks into that identity.
The good news is that the "move every day" rule solves this problem.
I can't tell you when or how long it will take to adopt the identity of a healthy person.
But I can promise you this.
If you move your body every single day, you will become a healthier person.
Keep moving my friends.
- The only reason you don't exercise is you quit.
- Exercise saved my life.
- The one rule to rule them all... move.
- Remove ambiguity from exercise.
- Exercise is only a state of mind.
- Identity drives behavior.
If you're interested in learning more about habits, contact me here.
Hope you enjoyed this one, my friend.