Originally published on 14 December 2015
Are you trying to get into the habit of running but find it hard to wake up, put on your running shoes and get out the door?
I often struggle with this as a podiatrist who is extremely health-conscious. Finding that work-life balance is a real challenge. I have experienced sport at the elite level through my time as a soccer referee on both national and international stages.
At this level, a considerable amount of time and effort is required to be put into training to maintain my fitness. Things are constantly changing and evolving as we go through different stages of our personal and professional lives, which can result in fitness taking a back seat.
I moved to Perth and, so to speak, had to start my new life from scratch. So this required making new friends, setting up a new community and developing new daily routines.
When I started getting into work, the challenge was now finding time to fit exercise into my schedule.
I put the refereeing on hold and started taking exercise into my own hands. This is where I was introduced to the term; Excusitis. I heard this term recently from a motivational speaker and I thought it was really appropriate, as it is something that is almost like a disease that anyone can get. No doubt about it, we all use it as a barrier to stop us from exercising. Excusitis, “I’ve got that … or this… (this morning) I can’t get out the door and have my running shoes on”; “I need to stay inside and work longer or I need to cook dinner”. We are all guilty of doing it.
Excuses, I mean Excusitis.
Personally, I struggled a lot with motivation from finding that time to exercise. And I guess I had to make some small changes to begin with.
I have changed the way I eat and started to make sure I’m getting enough sleep as well as putting my shoes more often. I’ve actually had to reschedule my entire diary to make getting some time to exercise in my day a priority. I am in the clinic from eight till six, several days a week so what I’ve done is put in a two hour lunch break a couple of times where I actually leave the office and go out for a swim or go for a walk or run. It not only is physically beneficial, but also mentally enables me to have a break, feeling really refreshed afterwards. The benefits are two-fold.
Now I’ve had my diary this way for over 2 months and sometimes the plan follows through well, other times I get distracted with work meetings or trying to catch up on office work. So, yes I’m also guilty of using Excusitis often. And the more I see my patients struggling with this, the more I am aware that I need to be working on it myself.
So the tips I have are probably starting small, make time in your diary for the things that you consider important. We do it for other things so why is exercise such a struggle?
A recent blog I read discussed the phases we go through when creating new habits. You start your new habit with excitement for the first 23 days (this is easy, fun and enjoyable and you feel good because you’re making a positive change); the next 23 days you’re using the new habit, but you’re also struggling with the old habit (you know the new habit is what you should be doing, but you have your old habit the body is so used to doing) – you are doing bit of both. And the preceding 23 days, your new habit feels comfortable, you’re able to do it with ease and your old habit is a distant memory.
So if you think about it, 23 days +23 days + 23 days, takes over 60 days in order to get a new routine.