Sunday, April 4, 2010

Real Simple Week

This week I'm making a big goal: I'm going to post something EVERY DAY! Please try to contain your extreme excitement. I've been thinking about things to post, and I've been wanting to share lots of little systems I use in my life to make things simpler. Lord knows that life is complicated enough. I have plenty of complexity already, thank you. But I'm also a very disciplined (somewhat OCD) person who likes to have everything just so. For this reason, I've come up with little time savers that I thought you might want to know about. Come back every day this week for real simple tips on cooking, shopping, working out, and even making it to work each day with a sane and peaceful mind.

Up first: Real Simple Exercise Tracking

In high school and college, I had a relatively consistent exercise routine. However, when I graduated from college and became a teacher, all consistency went right out the window. And if you think I was going to plan lessons until 11:00 pm and THEN go work out during my first year of teaching, you are out of your mind. So, for about six years now, I've been trying to find a sustainable system that will motivate me to work out. I've tried everything - tracking exercise on, keeping a diary on paper, keeping a diary on my computer, iPhone apps, etc. Basically what happens is that I get motivated and work out for about a week. Then I get tired and stop for months at a time. No good. In anticipation of my trip to Hawaii, I decided I wanted to track my exercise in the months leading up to our trip. It was then that I stumbled upon the cheapest, easiest, most no-fuss, yet most motivational exercise tracking system ever. All it requires is some paper, a pen, and a roll of double stick tape. It's almost embarrassing how easy this is.

First, I printed out blank calendars for every month of the year from I cut out the calendars and placed them, along with a roll of tape and a marker, in a kitchen drawer right next to my refrigerator. Each month, I tape up a new calendar. Then, I simply write down all of my exercise in the little squares. Any exercise that is 45 minutes or longer counts: yoga at home, going to the gym, boot camp, or walking the neighborhood.

I've discovered that the problem with NOT tracking exercise is two-fold: (1) If you don't exercise, nothing happens. Tomorrow, it will be forgotten! (2) If you DO exercise, nothing happens. You forget that, too. My system solves both problems! When you don't exercise, that box is glaringly blank. The days of no exercise stare you in the face. Secondly, when you DO exercise, it somehow counts more when you write it down. It helps me to see my progress and feel good about the success.

I don't know if I'm stuck in childhood or I've simply been a teacher for way too long, but I LOVE filling in those squares. When I get home from working out, I kick off my shoes and go straight to the fridge where I write it down. Sometimes I make little goals like: This week I'm gong to work out more than last or I'm having a hard time working out on Tuesdays, so I'm going to work out on Tuesday this week. It's right by my coffee maker, so I look at it every morning and think about my exercise habits. Obsessive? ...maybe a little bit. But it's definitely less obsessive than logging every calorie burned online. It has worked for me! Maybe you can tell from the calendars that my workouts have increased since August. It's real simple and real cheap. Try it!

Come back tomorrow for a real simple dessert!



Liz said...

Good idea!!! Thanks for sharing, buddy. :)

Shayla said...

I'm so looking forward to Real Simple week! I'll be checking back every day. Love your blog!

Tiffany said...

I love this! I printed a calendar a few months ago and it ended up being a total waste because i couldn't get my act together. I just printed a new one for April and I'm giving it a's to round 2 and to you blogging every day!! YAY!!

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