Old habits. Not new resolutions.

Just a thought that popped up while work­ing out the upper body in the last hour.

But first some con­text.

Last week and this week, I am find­ing it very hard to exer­cise. It is after all hol­i­day sea­son, and I have had excel­lent exer­cise com­pli­ance so far this year. So why not take a break for Christ­mas and New Year weeks? The world does­n’t stop, and the sky does­n’t fall if you miss just two weeks, has been my inner mono­logue!

But some­how that did not feel right. I felt uncom­fort­able from with­in about not hav­ing to exer­cise even for a week. That’s prob­a­bly a nice side effect of keep­ing the “Exer­cise 3 times a week” habit for about five years now. So I dragged myself into work­out clothes and laced my shoes. Rest every­thing took care of itself. I worked out three times last week. I am already done with full and upper body work­outs this week. And I am look­ing for­ward to some squats and swings tomor­row. And repeat it all next week as well.

Again, it was­n’t easy…until I changed into work­out clothes and put on my shoes.

I don’t take all the cred­it though. I am sup­port­ed by a few great peo­ple. Besides the momen­tum of my exer­cise habit, the sup­port sys­tem of the peo­ple I know or fol­low has helped me not dither in this sil­ly sea­son.

First, my ex-col­league, friend and a cham­pi­on train­er (for the last five years and count­ing!) who sends my work­outs remote­ly and checks-in every week. He also occa­sion­al­ly sends some much-need­ed inspi­ra­tion:

Hol­i­day exer­cise inspi­ra­tion

Sec­ond, this retired US Navy SEAL named Jocko Will­ink. I recent­ly start­ed fol­low­ing Jocko — author of Extreme Own­er­ship, a book that I have in my read­ing list and Dis­ci­pline Equals Free­dom, a book I bor­rowed from the library, read and kind of liked it, but I loved the title!— and he tweet­ed this:

Which lead me to think, I most­ly don’t need any grand new year’s res­o­lu­tions. I just need to con­tin­ue my bor­ing, but ben­e­fi­cial old year’s habits. I said most­ly because I will like­ly have a few res­o­lu­tions around my learn­ing goals, but for the most part, I will be bet­ter off car­ry­ing my old habits into the new year.

I encour­age you to con­sid­er this idea and think in terms of habits you can start and keep for the years to come, not the res­o­lu­tions you will set and for­get in a few months.

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