Schedule in a Habit

I’m a planner. I used to carry my Franklin Planner in the 90’s like it was a bible. Now I am in love with my iPhone calendar feature. I think at times the real dilemma with exercise or personal time is – should you schedule it in? This can be particularly tricky for parents that work outside the home.

I used to think (and teach) that it would take 21 days to build a habit. I believed the 21 day rule until I read James Clear’s article on forming a new habit. According to Phillippa Lally’s study a habit will take a longer term commitment. This means for me that after my period of rest (little or no exercise), I am looking at 2 to 3 months of movement instead of my initial 3 weeks. This habit stuff isn’t for wimps! The good news is, this long term method is more forgiving. (You can skip a day or two and not break the habit.)


So what does this mean for my schedule? At first I tried to insert a class each day that would both fit my existing schedule and that would motivate me. I set them all as re-occurrences (meaning they would reappear on my schedule each week) and they all had a reminder. That not only led to successful couch potato time (or more sleep), but was just calendar clutter. I now take a look at my calendar the day before and compare it to the gym schedule. This is refreshing because I have the freedom to choose the right class for that day and for my body. If my body is sore, then maybe it is yoga or something light on my own. If I am feeling good then it is a cycle class or trying something new.

I am happy to build my new habit. Scheduling it in with iPhone is just part of the fun.

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