3 Simple Ways to Make Exercise a Habit

A lot of people want to build an exercise habit that sticks. (A 2012 survey analyzed the top ten habits of thousands of people and found that exercise was number one by a long shot. [1])

Of course, wanting to make exercise a habit and actually doing it are two different things. Changing your behavior is difficult. Living a new type of lifestyle is hard. This is especially true when you throw in very personal feelings about body image and self-worth.

But there are some strategies that can make it easier to stick with an exercise habit.

I have been using the three strategies below to build my personal exercise routine, which I have stuck to for two years without skipping a workout. While I don’t claim to have all the answers, I’m happy to share what I’ve learned so far and how I have successfully made exercise a habit that am I excited to do each week.

Here are 3 simple ways to make exercise a habit.
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Photo Essay: The Isle of Skye, Scotland

I believe that creativity is one of the pillars of living a healthy and fulfilling life. And, because I try to live out the principles that I write about each week and not merely talk about them, every few months I set out on a photography trip to create art, explore the world, and learn a thing or two along the way.

This photo essay was created on the Isle of Skye, the largest island in a chain known as the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. As always, all photos are my own.
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How to Build Muscle: Proven Strength Lessons from Milo of Croton

Nearly 2,500 years ago, there was a man of incredible strength and athleticism roaming the hills of southern Italy. His name was Milo of Croton and he was almost certainly the most successful wrestler of his day.

Milo was a six-time wrestling champion at the Ancient Olympic Games in Greece. In 540 BC, he won the boys wrestling category and then proceeded to win the men’s competition at the next five Olympic Games in a row. He also dominated the Pythian Games (7-time winner), Isthmian Games (10-time winner), and Nemean Games (9-time winner). [1, 2]

In the rare event that an athlete won not only the Olympic title, but also all three other games in one cycle, they were awarded the title of Periodonikes, a grand slam winner. Milo won this grand slam five times.

Now for the important question: What can Milo’s incredible strength teach you about how to build muscle and improve your health and fitness?

The answer is covered in a story about how Milo developed his strength…
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This Simple Equation Reveals How Habits Shape Your Health, Happiness, and Wealth

In 1936, a man named Kurt Lewin wrote a simple equation that changed the way we think about habits and human behavior.

The equation makes the following statement: Behavior is a function of the Person in their Environment. [1]

Lewin's Equation

Known today as Lewin’s Equation, this tiny expression contains most of what you need to know about building good habits, breaking bad ones, and making progress in your life.

Let’s talk about what we can learn from it and how to apply these ideas to master the habits that shape your health, happiness, and wealth.
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My Upcoming Speaking Schedule (Let’s Meet in Person!)

Earlier this week, our little community passed 84,000 members. (First time visitor? You can sign up free here.)

One of my favorite parts about writing for a global audience is meeting you all in person when I speak at various events and organizations.

With that in mind, I’m starting to book my speaking schedule for the end of 2014 and the first half of 2015. If I’m coming to a city near you, I’d love to meet you and say hello. And if you’d like me to speak at your organization or event, details for contacting me are below.
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What I’m Reading: Fall 2014 Edition

It’s time for the Fall 2014 Edition of my reading list.

For each of the books below, I have assigned a rating and written a three sentence review, which summarizes my thoughts about why I did or did not enjoy the book. At the end of each review, I have included a link to the book on Amazon so that you can read additional reviews and learn more about the book.

Here’s what I’m reading…
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Measure Backward, Not Forward

We often measure our progress by looking forward. We set goals. We plan milestones for our progress. Basically, we try to predict the future to some degree.

We do this in business, in health, and in life at large.

  • Can we increase our quarterly earnings by 20 percent?
  • Can I lose 20 pounds in the next 3 months?
  • Will I be married by 30?

These are all measurements that face forward. We look into the future and try to guess when we will get somewhere.

There is an opposite and, I think, more useful approach: measure backward, not forward.

Here’s what I mean…
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How Creative Geniuses Come Up With Great Ideas

In 2002, Markus Zusak sat down to write a book.

He began by mapping out the beginning and the end of the story. Then, he started listing out chapter headings, pages of them. Some made it into the final story, many were cut.

When Zusak began to write out the story itself, he tried narrating it from the perspective of Death. It didn’t come out the way he wanted.

He re-wrote the book, this time through the main character’s eyes. Again, something was off.

He tried writing it from an outsider’s perspective. Still no good.

He tried present tense. He tried past tense. Nothing. The text didn’t flow.

He revised. He changed. He edited. By his own estimation, Zusak rewrote the first part of the book 150 to 200 times. In the end, he went back to his original choice and wrote it from the perspective of Death. This time—the 200th time—it felt right. When all was said and done it had taken Zusak three years to write his novel. He called it The Book Thief.

In an interview after his book was finally released, Zusak said, “In three years, I must have failed over a thousand times, but each failure brought me closer to what I needed to write, and for that, I’m grateful.” [1]

The book exploded in popularity. It stayed on the New York Times best-seller list for over 230 weeks. It sold 8 million copies. It was translated into 40 languages. A few years later, Hollywood came calling and turned The Book Thief into a major motion picture.
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The Physics of Productivity: Newton’s Laws of Getting Stuff Done

In 1687, Sir Isaac Newton published his groundbreaking book, Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, which described his three laws of motion. In the process, Newton laid the foundation for classical mechanics and redefined the way the world looked at physics and science.

What most people don’t know, however, is that Newton’s three laws of motion can be used as an interesting analogy for increasing your productivity, simplifying your work, and improving your life.

Allow me to present this analogy as Newton’s Laws of Productivity.
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7 Improvements I Have Made to My Writing and Work

Back in June, I took a sabbatical from writing for the entire month. One of the reasons for the break was to reflect on how I could produce a higher standard of work.

When I returned in July, I started to test a few of my ideas. Today, I want to share 7 ways my work has improved, what you can expect from me in the future, and what steps I am taking to deliver a higher standard of work to you.
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