I was the kid who hated gym class. I always got a stitch in my side from running and I wasn’t athletic. So how did I eventually become the kind of person who works out 5 times a week, consistently? A LOT of hard work on my part. The wake-up call of hypothyroidism diagnosed at 30. Stubbornness didn’t hurt either. It took me a long time to get to where I am today, but I don’t seem myself going back. I’ve been fortunate to build exercise into my daily routine. I can practically hear all of you scoffing at me – I swear, I’m not a gym rat or a rich woman with a trainer. But I found what works for me. I only wish I’d learned it sooner. You might be able to fast-track yourself by using a technique called The Zorro Circle. It’s normally used in workplace environments, but it can be applied to most anything. The Zorro Circle can help you learn to exercise consistently.
What is The Zorro Circle?
The Zorro Circle is a technique developed by the author of “The Happiness Advantage”, Shawn Achor. It says that if you focus on small, achievable goals at first, you can eventually expand to larger ambitions. It is so named because of a scene from the movie “The Mask of Zorro”, where Don Diego (Anthony Hopkins) trains Alejandro (Antonio Banderas) by having him practice swordplay within a small circle before tackling other more difficult skills. Though Achor applies it to workers who want to feel a sense of control, you can apply this idea to most anything, including exercise.
One Minute a Day
I’ve talked to so many people who say that the biggest obstacle to consistent exercise for them is time. I understand this all too well. It’s why I generally exercise first thing in the morning – if I don’t do it then, it’s not likely to get done. But I am fortunate – I work from home and I have no children, so I have a lot more flexibility to my schedule than a lot of folks. It’s daunting for most people to try and fit in exercise. So, instead of worrying about getting in some long, exhausting workout, start out small. Exercise for one minute a day. That’s right – one minute.
Don’t believe me? Try it out. The most difficult part of exercise isn’t actually finding time. It’s getting started. But giving yourself permission to exercise for just one minute? That’s easy! Anyone can fit that in! While you’re at it, maybe you’ll decide to exercise for two minutes, or ten. And the next day, maybe you’ll only do one, but that’s okay. The point is to create the habit. You can increase the time when it feels right.
Find What Works for You
While you’re exercising for one minute at a time, use it as an opportunity to explore what exercise you might like. Biking, walking, running, jump rope, an elliptical, dancing, kickboxing, Pilates…the possibilities are endless! Maybe you’ll find several things you enjoy – I do yoga once a week and different cardio workouts and varied strength training four times a week. I sleep better, I am better able to cope with anxiety, and it just plain feels good!
One final note – try not to think of exercise as punishment. It is a privilege of being alive and a celebration of what our bodies are capable of. You deserve to take care of yourself, even if it’s only for one minute a day.