New Absurd Exercise & Meditation Habit Forming Experiment

October 21, 2012

To recap: I’ve tried many different tricks to get myself to work out. Personal trainers, walking, p90x, wii fit, ddp yoga, fitocracy etc.

I’m losing weight currently but getting fit is also one of my major life goals. I wants me some muscles.

Ok, so I had this thought today for a new experiment.

New Exercise Routine:

What is the LEAST amount of exercise I can do that will make it seem so absurd if I don’t do it?

Going along that thought process – I had to first figure out what type of exercise to do.

I could try wii fit again – the hula hoop thing on there is a calorie burner. But there’s the hassle of turning on my tv, switching from hdmi to component source, turning on the wii, loading the game, blah blah blah. I know, I’m super lazy, right? It’s just a hassle to do all of that. And the hula hoop is pretty exhausting. The other games on there are kinda boring.

I could do either of my older or newer versions of ddp yoga dvds. But that’s a lot of effort (at least 20-30 mins), busting out the yoga mat & its pretty repetitive. I get sick of programs where I know exactly what they’re going to say every time.

I got it.

I could do bodyweight squats & wall pushups – like it mentions in the Four Hour Body. The pushups work the arms, chest & back while the squats work the legs, gluts and also gets me out of breath easily (cardio). Plus, the wall pushups are way easier & funner than regular pushups.

Using 80/20 principle (#16) – these two small exercises can probably workout 80% of my body.

And these are two exercises I can do anywhere, anytime. No equipment needed.

How long should I do it for? I can either time myself (do it for 1 min straight) or I can do a certain number (do 20 squats + 20 pushups).

I went for the latter and wanted to do the absolute minimum I could. 1 pushup & 1 squat? Now that’s just way too absurd.

I figure I can do at least 5 at a time & still not be physically exerted. That should be super easy & take like 30 seconds or less. And it’s so easy that I should be able to do it every day.

The goal is to just get myself to do anything for a long enough time so that a habit pattern of exercise builds. More on this later.

Meditation:

Along the same thought pattern, I wanted to revitalize my meditation practices. A strong quiet mind can accomplish anything + leads to happiness.

I had been doing 2x a day for 20mins each for about two weeks before I lost steam. Meditation is easy & enjoyable once I start but hard to just turn off all gadgets and get started.

Ok, I decided to redo my mantra meditation I learned from My Big Toe (similar technique as transcendental meditation) and to do it for a whole one minute!

Yes, you heard it right. I’ll set my phone timer to 1min and just keep chanting my mantra in my head over and over until timer goes off.

Sound absurd? It is! The one min goes by so fast and it was actually pretty fun!

Method to the Madness:

I’m attempting to use the techniques I learned from The Spark, Four Hour Body & a few other sources.

The Spark is a book written by a guy who lost weight and found out that if he kept track of some type of health habit, no matter how small, it snowballs into huge results.

I’ve experienced that myself with losing weight. I started keeping track of my weight on a weekly basis on a spreadsheet. After 4 weeks passed, I had a thought to restart my green smoothie diet – emulating Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead (substituting pure juicing with blending veg/fruit instead).

After two days of blech smoothies, I switched over to the Paleo way of eating. And that has taken me about 10 weeks so far and around 12lbs lost. And it’s super easy to do.

In the process of tracking my weight, I started another spreadsheet to keep track of my supplements & other health habits. The ones that really have the biggest impact (again using 80/20 principle).

The point being that something small being done long enough is sure enough to snowball into something big & affect things I could not foresee.

Like Warren Buffett says about investing: I don’t look to jump over 7-foot bars. I look around for 1-foot bars I can step over. Doing 5 bodyweight squats + wall pushups & 1min meditation are definitely 1 foot bars (maybe even 1 inch bars).

And of course, I’m using the consistency/commitment principle (#8) immediately to teach others (via this post) so that I learn it better myself + it sinks in to my subconscious so that I continue doing it.

As humans, Cialdini found that once we commit to something, we are likely to follow thru on it since our brain wants to be consistent. So now that I’m publicly playing the guru expert role (even though I’m far from that), my subconscious mind has to keep me consistent with that image = keep exercising + meditation = I get what I really want!

I’ll keep you updated. Wish me luck! We all deserve to experience what it feels like to have a bangin 6-pack at least once, right?