Health

The Power Of 21 Day Challenges

By January 8, 2019 No Comments

New Year, New Me. You’ve told yourself this at the start of every single year. January 1st comes and you start strong. You’re hitting the gym like never before. 2 hour sessions, 3 times a week, pushing yourself to your limit. 2 weeks later, your motivation dwindles slightly, you’re sore and so you take a few days off. Those days off become weeks as you get busier with work or school. Weeks become months and by the time December rolls in nothing has changed. You find yourself at the same level as when you entered the year, if not worse. You tell yourself you’ll throw away these next few weeks and start again ‘fresh’ in the new year… and the cycle begins again.

 

Why does this happen?

The main thing stopping most people from getting results, is not due to a lack of effort during training sessions. In fact, especially in the beginning of the fitness journey, most of our clients push too hard.

The main sticking point when it comes to reaching your fitness goals is in failing to get into the habit of exercising. It is the mind, not the body that fails.

 

The Key: Start with a 21 day exercise challenge.

Master your mind first then worry about ‘physical results’. Scientifically speaking, it takes 21 days to build a habit. On your calendar mark out the 21 day period and cross out each day as you complete it. You are aiming for 21 crosses in a row. Every time you put a cross on a day, you reward yourself with a ‘hit’ of dopamine (the happiness hormone) and cause yourself to get addicted to the positive habit you are trying to build. 

 

How do you pick a ‘21 Day Challenge’?

Start with your goal and work your way back into the most minute action that is required to make that goal a reality. If you want to get a 6 pack, for example, it’ll probably help to just get yourself into exercising to begin with. If you want to sleep better, it might be in switching of electronic devices at a certain time. The secret is in giving yourself ‘wins’ early on. If you set the bar too high, too early – let’s be real, chances are you’ll quit. Start slower so that you can go for longer. Positive reinforcement for taking action. Start on the lowest level and build up.

 

The Levels:

‘Level 1’.

The intention of Level 1 is to build the habit for your mind to tell your body to do the exercise. Try to think of tasks that are right on the edge of your comfort zone but are easy enough so that any excuse not to do it would seem silly.

Level 1 examples:

Person A: Hasn’t exercised in 3 years.

Challenge: Do 5 minutes of exercise every day.

 

Person B: Has never had the discipline to train for the Marathon he wants to do.

Challenge: Run 1km every day.

 

Person C: Wants to build stronger legs.

Challenge: Do 30 squats every day.

 

Person D: Inconsistent eating patterns

Challenge: Eat 1 banana every morning.

 

After Level 1, take 2-3 days off maximum and proceed to Level 2.

 

Level 2

Now that you’ve ingrained the habit of taking action – level 2 focuses on the action itself. Marginally increase the action in a way that brings you closer to your goal but still sits on the edge of your comfort zone. Continue the momentum that you’ve built.

Level 2 examples:

Person A: Hasn’t exercised in 3 years.

Challenge: Do 10 minutes of exercise every day.

 

Person B: Has never had the discipline to train for the Marathon he wants to do.

Challenge: Run 2km every day.

 

Person C: Wants to build stronger legs.

Challenge: Do 50 squats every day.

 

Person D: Inconsistent eating patterns

Challenge: Make a healthy breakfast smoothie every day

 

Level 3 and beyond

Once you’ve reached level 3, you would have completed your ‘success task’ 42 out of 44/45 days. From this point on, if you choose, you can continue to ‘level up’. You’ve built the foundations, now it’s a game of seeing how much higher can you go!

Case study:

A client of ours, we’ll call him James, had previously struggled to stick to a 3 times per week complex gym workout and had poor health and eating habits.

We applied the principles above and started James on Level 1.

Level 1:  5 minutes exercise

Level 2: 10 minutes exercise + breakfast smoothie

Level 3: 15 minute exercise  + breakfast smoothie + meal prep lunches

Level 4:  20 minutes exercise + breakfast smoothie +  meal prep lunches + no soft drinks

Level 5:  25 minutes exercise + breakfast smoothie +  meal prep lunches + no soft drinks/alcohol/sugar

Over a period of 6 months, James made huge changes to his lifestyle, not by taking massive action, but by focusing on small things, consistently, in the short term. He ingrained the habit of health in his mind, and the result of this is a loss in fat, gain in muscle and a deeper  feeling of happiness. James gave himself the chance to start and provided the environment for himself to keep going. You can too.

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If you want a bit of extra help with your training, or even in picking a 21 day challenge for yourself, feel free to give us a call or shoot us an email (info@getgoingpt.com.au)! We’d be more than happy to have a chat.

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