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A 15 Minute Tip that creates big results in the gym and beyond

Justin And Patti Read Journals

I relearned an important lesson today.   It was a common sense lesson I thought I had locked down long ago.  But after I goofed a few weeks in a row it was a good wake-up call for me.  I’m sharing this today so you can get an easy win from my mistake.

I promise if you follow this tip it will lead to big gains for YOU, and not just in fitness.

Here’s what happened.

My important lesson from a simple workout

Sundays I keep workouts casual.  Monday to Saturday I’m hitting it hard and chasing my calisthenics goals.  Sundays, I like a much more relaxed approach.  But, not so relaxed that I’m sitting on the couch all day doing nothing.  The perfect compromise is doing stretches or mobility work to help.  It’s low key, gets my blood flowing, and strengthens my weaknesses (like my perpetually tight shoulders – but that’s a whole other story.)  Even better, I can do it while listening to a Podcast or watching a TV show.  Win win!

Three Sundays ago I made a mental note that my exercise for the day would be 30 minutes walking and some leg stretches.   Easy, right?  Guess what?  It never happened!

Fast forward to the following Sunday and I made a mental note again.  Leg and shoulder stretches I told myself.  And guess what?  Fail for the second week in a row.

What’s the big deal, right?  It was a Sunday anyway, for crying out loud.  What’s wrong with missing the day?

It wasn’t the day off that bugged me. 

What bugged me was the frustration of telling myself I would do something and then not making it happen.   It was something so easy and painless … that made missing my commitment to myself even worse in my eyes.

So fast forward yet another weekend and this Sunday I was bound and determined not to slip.  This time I made a small change.  I made the mental note, but most importantly I wrote down exactly what workout I wanted to do and when.  I  ballparked about how long it would take (30 minutes), and then decided on exactly when I was going to do it (Mid afternoon as a little pick-me-up.)

Magic!   The workout happened!  It took a bit more than 30 minutes  (I underestimated it), and I don’t think I started it at exactly the time I thought I would.  But the important part is – I got it done!  My lesson, relearned, was simple:

Something magic happens when I commit my goals to paper, no matter how big or how small that goal is.  

Even more powerful is when I take the extra few minutes to really think about exactly how and when I want to achieve them.

How to generate results in 15 minutes or less

Reading Journal Upside Down on Monkey Bars

Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been working out for years, any fitness goal can be a bit daunting (or even any goal for that matter!)

Just starting out?

In the groove but trying to figure out how you’re going to get 1 or 2 workouts in during the week?

Or maybe you’ve been working out for a while and you want to set a new challenge for yourself and it’s a bit daunting to think about how you’ll achieve it.

Here’s a powerful tip for achieving fitness success:

Plan the work and work the plan.  Write down your plan and then work  through it. 

Another day, I’ll share my process for how to do this for bigger goals like a 1 week, 1 month, or even 1 year plan.

For now, here’s a simple process for getting results today.  Ideally, do this first thing in the morning, or, even better, the evening before for the following day.

  1. In 10 minutes or less, think about all the things you’d like to do today. You can do this in your head, or you can write down every little thing that occurs to you.  Why 10 minutes or less?  Two reasons.  One – this needs to be something that you can get through quickly, not a project that feels overwhelming.  Two – we’re after the most important TODOs for the day, and 9 times out of 10, those are going to pop into your head within the first 10 minutes.
  2. From your list above, pick a maximum of 5 top TODOs for today. NOT six – that’s too many!  Why only 5?  Because we’re shooting for a list you can realistically get through.
  3. Make working out one of your top 5! If one of the 5 on your TODO list isn’t working out for at least 30 minutes, remove one item and Add “Workout for at least 30 minutes.”
  4. Write down your top 5 TODOs. The writing part is very important.  You can “write” it digitally in a note somewhere if you like. Personally, I think it’s much more powerful to physically write it using pen and paper.  I prefer a Moleskine journal.
  5. Now, to the best of your ability, estimate out how long each activity will take. Be as realistic as possible.  Be generous with how you allocate your time.  For example, for my 30 minute workouts, I usually write down that it will take me 1 hour.  WTH?  How can that be?  Well, 30 minutes of working out for me means I have to put on gym clothes, fill my water bottle, drive to the gym, workout, come home, then shower afterwards.  All-in that takes me about 1 hour of my day.   IF there’s a task that will take you more than 2 or 3 hours, figure out a smaller piece of that task you think you can get done in less than 3 hours.   As a rule of thumb, I don’t want all the tasks on my list to add up to more than 6 or 7 hours.  That gives me time for breaks in between tasks, time to handle phone calls and e-mails, time to deal with emergencies, and time to just not feel rushed.
  6. Next to each of your TODOs, schedule exactly when you’re going to complete it.  If you went through the last few steps as described, you’re only going to be scheduling in 6 – 7 hours of work into what is probably a 9 – 10 hour day.  This gives you plenty of time to work work around the most common gotchas.
    1. Leave some gaps for emergencies that come up.
    2. Leave some time for breaks and to clear your head. I find its hard for me to do anything for more than a few hours before I need to get up, walk around, etc.
    3. Leave some breaks for returning text messages, e-mails, and phone calls.

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