Make Exercise Effortless: The Three Painless Steps to Creating the Habit of Working Out
Have you ever talked to someone that’s a regular exerciser or someone that’s really achieved a goal that you want, and it looks like they have this superhuman discipline?
It seems like they magically have no problem going to the gym everyday and you’re like, how the hell did you become that way?
Maybe you’re just special and I’m just not like that.
Well, when you go after really any goal, it’s really a three stage progression – any almost no one just wakes up loving the gym.
For me, and like many people, we’re driven by emotion. I hated being skinny.
Someone else may hate being fat.
In today’s video I want to share with you the three steps that basically anyone goes through from hating or being really resistant to some kind of habit or exercise to eventually really, really loving it.
How to Make Exercise Effortless: The 3 Phase Idea
The Three Phases
There are three phases you go through and it doesn’t matter if you’re dating, if you’re trying to get fit and go to the gym or if you’re getting a new job. I tend to find these three phrases almost universally when we do something new.
The first phase here is the resistant phase.
Phase 1: The Resistance – “My Life Sucks”
In the resistant phase it’s where you’re like “okay, I need to get fit, I know I have to go to the gym” and you’re thinking constantly (with lots of frustration).
There’s knots in your stomach, you don’t want to do it, and you’re trying to do anything but do the habit.
You know you should, but there’s a lot of internal resistance. It’s like pushing a wall.
It’s the same thing in a relationship at the start where you have to kind of put in a lot of effort, and you’re not sure if the other person’s going to give it back and it just takes a lot of work.
It requires a lot of energy. It’s the same if you’re playing a sport, like if you want to learn tennis.
At first you can’t even hit the ball, and then eventually you hit it over but it flies out, and then you hit it again and it goes into the net.
The first phase is really painful, and it kind of sucks.
Where you just want to play a freaking game of tennis but the ball keeps flying out, into the net, up behind you, you miss it and you think there’s a hole in your racket – all this stuff is the first phase of going after any habit or any goal. There’s the resistance, where it’s not that fun and you’re pushing a wall.
It requires energy.
Phase 2: Treading Water, Aka “I Still Hate Working Out… Sometimes”
Phase two is really the treading water phase.
In working out, for example, this is like doing the doggie paddle.
You know when you’re treading water, you’re kind of like doggie paddling and barely sinking, barely floating?
Well in working out, this is the phase where if you miss a couple days, you really get off track easily and then you miss a couple weeks.
It’s the phase where your habits are kind of up and down, where you go great for a couple weeks and then you get off track for a couple weeks.
In the new relationship it might be where you’re texting each other, you’re going out, and there’s lots of back and forth, but you guys aren’t sure if you’re going to be a thing yet.
There’s still this weird sink or swim feeling, where it might work out or it might not – you’re in limbo.
It’s that in between, which is a very delicate phase.
Regarding the tennis analogy, it’s where you’re not hitting things out, up and down as much, and you’re getting a few balls over the net.
Maybe you’ve realized, okay, I need to hit it at this angle for it to go over the net, and you’re getting a few nice swings in.
Things are going better but you’re not good enough to really play a match yet because it’s still very hit or miss.
You hit three perfectly and then one just flies out of the park. Right?
You hit three perfectly and then you completely miss a ball, where it like flies backwards.
This is the treading water phase. The habit is very delicate – it can change, it can go up and down, and you get off track easily but you’re still improving quite a lot vs the resistance phase.
Phase 3: The Horizon – “Sweet Baby Jesus I Can Do This!”
The third phase is what I call the horizon.
The horizon, if you’ve ever been on a sailboat or a boat, you see the horizon, where the sun is rising in the morning, or maybe it’s setting. It’s just like this beautiful, inspiring thing where it’s awesome to see everything lining up for you.
Well in the horizon phase, when it comes to working out, which could be six months in or it could be six years in, fitness and working out is just what you do – you love it.
It’s at the phase where I am now, where I’ve been doing it for ten years and I crave it when I don’t work out.
I go through a full day working nine hours and I have to go to the gym or else I’m a grumpy old bastard. It’s just what I do and who I am now.
I was never like that.
There’s nothing genetically about me that allowed me to do that; I’ve just been doing it for so long that I’m at the horizon stage. It’s the same in a relationship.
The horizon stage is where things are just working out. You guys have clicked, now you’re official, things are going well and it’s easy and effortless. The right relationship is just fun.
You go on adventures together, you’re laughing, you’re having fun, there’s not that much uncertainty and not that much insecurity – it just works.
It’s just a solid habit and everything’s going well and is happy.
In the tennis horizon phase, this is where it’s actually fun because now you can play back and forth with your friends.
You don’t have to worry about missing the ball or shooting it out of the park and losing all the balls again, having to be that person. You can actually play a match – you can have fun.
The Essence of the Three Phases of Creating New Habits
What I’m trying to say is simple.
Whenever you go to create a new habit or achieve a new goal, there’s almost always multiple phases.
There’s the resistance phase that everyone goes through, like trying to wake up in the morning or trying to eat a new diet or do a new workout plan. It’s kind of rough at first, where there’s nothing fun about it.
You may feel good or you may start looking better but it takes a lot of energy.
Then eventually you move into the treading water phase where your habit’s kind of up and down, your consistency’s up and down, and it’s very delicate because you can get off track easily.
That’s the middle phase, treading water.
Then eventually you will get to the horizon phase. If you persist long enough, you will get there.
The horizon phase is awesome, whether you’re trying to lose weight and just have that fitness habit. If you persist with the tennis training habits long enough, or the new relationship habits, you get to a point where it’s mostly enjoyable all the time.
That’s just the way you are. That’s when life gets really good.
If you’re feeling really discouraged right now, always think about this kind of three phase approach, because I spotted it quite a lot in many different aspects of my life.
It’s not easy at first, in the middle the habits are very hard to keep, they’re up and down – and then eventually you get there if you persist.
Your Tiny Daily Habit for Today
Before you go I want you to leave a comment right there below.
Along your kind of weight loss journey, what phase do you think you’re in?
What phase are you in in regard to the three that I mentioned here and how far away do you think you are from that horizon phase?