Fit Tip: Fitness Challenges
Even before the pandemic it was said that only a meager 8% of people followed through on their New Year’s resolutions. For 2021 let’s try something different. My kids and I are doing different monthly challenges.
People are wired to like progress. By sticking with one goal for a month you get to chart where you started and where you ended up and feel a sense of accomplishment. By picking a new goal each month, we get the joy of novelty, which adds an element of fun to the boring drudgery of pandemic living.
In January, my daughter (age 13) and I decided we were going to do three exercises per day (crunches, squats and push-ups). My daughter did 15 reps and I did 100 reps of each exercise and then we put a giant X over the day on my makeshift calendar. We didn’t do it every day in a row (due to school or work craziness) but we doubled up when we did miss. Once time we missed four days in a row, which wasn’t so bad for my daughter but was quite a punishing workout for me. This unintended consequence was that it made us more vigilant about sticking with the daily deadline.
In February my son (age 11) and I are working upper body strength. We are going to hang from a chin up bar (one of those things you can buy and hang over a door) and plan to use the stopwatch timer on my phone to see how long we can do it, with the hope that we will progress in strength by the end of the month.
What challenges will you give yourself? Try mastering a new dance on TikTok. Or see how far you can jump with your kids. Get in touch with your inner cheerleader and try to do a split by the end of the month. You might not be able to be a Dallas Cowgirl, but you’ll probably be more flexible than when you started.
Sometimes having a buddy-challenge can be fun. My friend, Obidia, and I measured our biceps at the start and end of a month to see who could build the most muscle. I had to buy her a T-shirt that said, “I won the bet.” But hey, it was fun and kept both of us motivated until the very last day.
Get curious. See what seems fun to you and give it a try for 30 days. If you don’t like it, hey it’s only 30 days! And if you do like it you are well on the way of establishing good habits and routines for yourself.
Don’t let the pandemic keep you down. Think outside the box (or big box gym) and find ways to make your workouts more interesting. You’re more likely to stick with a habit (or resolution) if you like it!