Start where you are

In this series of articles I’ll talk about ways you can align your craving to take charge of your health to guide you from where you are to where you want to be. You don’t need to wait to join a gym or wait to be the kind of person who joins a gym. If you’ve been frustrated at figuring out how to not only start, but gain momentum, then please read on.

Happy Place Habits

Starting something new can take a ton of mental energy. That energy can be easily siphoned off by all the little fires that pop up and need putting out day to day. So how can you make a desired habit not only happen, but stick around long enough to see results?

James Clear offers an excellent breakdown of this process in Atomic Habits. Clear argues that grafting a new habit onto an existing one makes the process easier, allowing you to stack challenging new habits onto easier old ones. (I highly recommend Clear’s work if you’re looking for a deep dive on this subject.)

Just as you can reduce the energy needed to get a new habit started by using the momentum of an existing one, you can increase this effect if you pick locations or activities that you already find energizing. It’s ironic that so many people want to become more active in order to have more energy, then find themselves too worn out to get the consistency to raise their energy level. Starting a fitness routine is much easier when you swap out an intimidating setting for a place that already gives you a boost of happy energy.

Think of a space where you feel comfortable. The location will be different for everybody but going there should feel easy. It doesn’t take an hour to work up the nerve to go there to exercise for 30 minutes. The people you run into there are welcoming and share common interests. Maybe a gym is that kind of place for you, but what if it’s not? Learn to actively seek opportunities to move more and move better in these places. Once you do this, you’re on your way to shifting the tide of your movement habits.

What are some of your happy places? Are they indoors? Outdoors? Where are places you go during the week that recharge your energy? How do you incorporate an active lifestyle in these places? You can also leave comments below if you would like to see ideas for how to re-imagine non-traditional workout spaces in ways that fit your health goals.

  ….Next up: How to exercise in a public library without being kicked out.