On Wednesday I presented to a small group of Fredonia staff members on the basics of exercise. Much of the presentation was about my personal exercise routine, which I can sum up in two points:
- I’m active every day.
- I do only a little bit so that I’m excited to do it again the next day.
Regardless of the specifics of my routine, “every day” and “a little bit,” are the important points. If I were starting a flossing routine I would not try to floss every tooth, every day. I would floss my two front teeth every day until I felt like doing more. Same with exercise.
Chip and Dan Heath, in their book Switch: How to Change When Change is Hard, cite a study of hotel maids. The maids were given a pamphlet that listed the calories they burn simply by doing their jobs every day (vacuuming, scrubbing tubs, etc.). Just by getting that information the maids burned even more calories by subconsciously working a little bit harder (“My job is exercise!”).
Same idea: every day, a little bit.
Here are the free notes from my presentation.