You know that exercise is good for you. You know you should be exercising regularly. You also know that strength and cardiovascular exercise are equally important for your best health.
But, do you do it?
What we know is not always what we do.
There is a gap between knowing and doing. Stanford professors Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton wrote about this gap in their book, The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Action.
It works for people too.
Here are my 7 simple steps, based on the book, to change knowing into doing when it comes to your fitness.
- Don’t substitute talking for doing. How many times have you heard yourself say, “I need to lose weight, eat better, get up earlier, go to the gym….? Now is the perfect time to just do it.
- Stop talking and ask yourself “did I do something about X today”. If your goal is to get to the gym then do one small thing. Find the gyms close to you, sign up for a tour of the facility, get a free pass and use it. Start small and do one thing today. All the small things add up.
- Have a complete plan, not a fuzzy transition. You know this, it is the one where you imagine a miracle transformation. Like having 6 pack abs in 6 weeks, nice idea, but sorry no, that is not going to happen unless you are almost there now. Uncertainty prevents progress. Know where you are going and how to get there. Have a plan.
- Ask yourself, “What is standing in my way?” Vague goals with no concrete action steps will always bring the same result – nothing. Having a plan and understanding the details for success isn’t easy, but it is the path to success.
- Don’t be afraid to try. Fear is not a motivator. If you think “I have to stop eating junk food because I am going to end up unhealthier than ever”, your first instinct might be to reach for that bag of chips. Fear widens the knowing-doing gap, don’t go there.
- Stay calm. Take a deep breath. Remind yourself that everything will be okay. Self-compassion works best when you want to change. Be kind to yourself and appreciate all the little things you do that help your progress. This sounds easy, but it is often the hardest step.
- Measure what matters. If you are trying to improve your fitness researching fitness trackers or the best workouts for 6 pack abs doesn’t actually improve your fitness. Measure how many times you went to the gym. Measure what you did. Measure increments of progress. Measure only what matters.
Change your mind, change your health,
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