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The Routine is the Goal, Not the Result

The Routine is the Goal, Not the Result

Goal setting is fun. Really fun. We get to think about all the cool stuff that we want to do with our lives, all the places we wanna go, the weights we wanna lift, all the radness we want to achieve. When you achieve something you want to, you can proudly cross an item off your list — one that you have earned.

But if goals are so rad, why do so many people struggle with them?

Why do we spend so much time trying to create new and better ones when the old ones don’t pan out as expected?

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Case in Point: New Years Resolutions. They’ve become such a watered-down exercise in personal change that they have become a running joke. At cocktail parties across the world on the eve of a New Year people joke about the resolutions they are never going to keep.

But if we have the intention to do better, to be fitter and faster, than why do we have such a hard time seeing them through?

Reasons Goal Setting is So Tough

Deadlines rarely work. Some people work with deadlines, others don’t. When those deadlines come in too quickly, we get discouraged and throw the whole goal out the window.

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We stink at forecasting at how long it will take to accomplish something. There is nothing worse than coming up against a random setback or something you didn’t come up with in the first place. Illness, injury, a full weekend bender of Netflix can all seem like setbacks but can also count as simply living your life. Those who are diving into a fresh workout plan, and aren’t as realistic as they need to be about how much time it takes to make that progress are especially prone to this.

Goals are all or nothing. Goal setting tends to make us a little crazy. And panicked. As a result, we launch ourselves into whatever it is we want to achieve with everything we have. Before long—for some it is a couple days, others make it for a couple weeks—we get burnt out. A routine—especially one that is so small that it is impossible to say no to, builds something exceptionally more powerful than anything you can achieve with a spurt of high amounts of effort—and that is making exercise habitual.

Deadlines are almost always inflexible. Achieving a goal is a best case scenario. It requires you to be 100% on, every time you are at the gym, with every day required to be a top-notch workout in order to achieve your goal.“I am going to need to go to the gym every day for the rest of the month to hit my target!” And while holding a gun to your head might work for some people, it doesn’t work for most.

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Goals leave you feeling “less than.” The thing I like least about goals is that the moment you make one, it immediately puts you in a position of feeling as “less than” Your goal is to lose ten pounds? Until that happens you will always feel like something is lacking. Wanna add 100 pounds to your bench press? You’ll view yourself unfavorably or as “weak” until you hit that goal.

The Power of Implementing Routines

So if there are limitations to goals and goal setting, how do we go about getting the things we want? Simply: Adopt routine. Be willing to embrace the boring consistency that comes from showing up every day at the gym. After all… Something funny happens when we adopt the routine and systems.

They remove the pressure that comes with them, and takes you out of a mindset where you are stressed about whether you are progressing fast enough, to a mindset where you are focusing on taking things one day at a time. At that point the end goal, the reason you initially got back into the gym or ramped up your commitment to the gym, is almost moot. The goal, the scale, the measuring tape, are all things that fall to the back of your mind.

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And to be frank, it is a pretty liberating feeling.

When you can unshackle yourself from the chains and pressures of that goal in the horizon, of stressing about whether or not you are making the kind of progress you want at the pace you desire, than you can unburden yourself and focus solely on the workout today

Destroying your squat PR is going to be a hell of a thing. Running 2 miles further then the week before is awesome. Benching a weight you always thought impossible is rad. Something to pause and celebrate.

But being the guy or gal that shows up every day and absolutely kills it at the gym? Now that is something to be stoked about.

This post was originally published over at YourWorkoutBook.com.

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Last Updated on February 6, 2020

10 Simple Morning Exercises to Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises to Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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