Often when we hear the word habit, we think of bad habits: biting one’s fingernails, interrupting someone when he or she is talking, eating junk food while driving, smoking, or eating & drinking too much…the list can go on and on.
Definition of a habit
But the word habit can also describe something good. A habit is when you do something without much thought or effort to get started.
One good habit I have developed is going three miles on the treadmill every day. I know it has become a habit because I don’t have to give much thought or effort to get started. I wake up knowing that I am going to work out.
I don’t have to talk myself into doing it; it has become automatic.
It is now a habit in my life.
That does not mean I don’t miss a day or two due to work or other responsibilities. But because it has become a habit, it doesn't take much effort to get back into it again.
Developing a habit can take away the struggle. Let’s say you are trying to lose weight. Instead of focusing on your weight loss, focus on a habit that will give you the results you are looking for.
Here are two simple things I do to develop my exercise habit:
1. Make it more than just a physical experience. Give it purpose by adding a spiritual reason.
Being on a treadmill can be very boring – you don’t go anywhere. So I use my iPhone and make something boring into a spiritual blessing.
I listen to one chapter of the book of Proverbs, and three chapters of the New Testament with uplifting music between each chapter. Now my boring time on the treadmill has become a productive time of spiritual blessing.
Every 89 days that I work out, I go through the book of Proverbs almost three times and the entire New Testament with its 260 chapters. Listening to the wisdom of Proverbs and the power of the Gospels every day will give purpose and meaning to a boring time of exercise.
2. Start first thing in the morning.
Henry Ward Beecher said, “The first hour is the rudder of the day – the Golden Hour.”
I have tried to do my treadmill at different times of the day. As far as weight loss goes, I don't think it matters much as to when you do your exercise. The most important thing is that you do it.
But to make this kind of exercise a habit, I think you need to have a set time.
Often when you plan to exercise later in the day, other interruptions can easily cancel out your plans. If I start off the day with exercise, then the rest of my day is alway better.
In the book Rudder of the Day – Daily Work Inspiration, Dan Miller writes about the importance of the first hour of your day:
Because I have combined these two elements in my habit on the treadmill:
- Spiritual purpose and motivation
- First thing in the morning-so nothing else gets in the way.
…I have developed a good habit that serves me nicely – a habit that I do not regret.