We know exercise is important. Not only does regular exercise make you feel better, it can also help you live longer. Some things in life are so simple to understand yet difficult to actually do. As one wise author wrote…
“The path of least resistance is paved with instant gratification. Choosing this path will take us to the destination of average… sometimes even below average. Mediocre achievements are often standing on a mountain of good intentions, but those who take even the most incremental action will achieve above average results.” –Opie Taylor
Every December I write down my goals for the upcoming New Year. For three years in a row, I wrote down some degree of weekly exercise as one of my goals, and every year I’d continually hit all of my goals except the commitment to exercise. I just couldn’t get myself to take action… it was time to try something different.
Last December I decided to change the goal into a challenge. The challenge was designed around my favorite vice. Beer. I created a set of rules that would incentivize me to “earn” beer credits by doing exercise. The credits were easy enough to earn so that I would not feel discouraged, yet just difficult enough to feel some traction towards a healthier lifestyle. As long as I stuck to the system, I would either be exercising more or drinking less. Thus, I named it the “Earn Your Beer Challenge”.
I started the challenge on Jan. 1st 2018, opting to commit to a three month long challenge because it seems to takes 90 days to create a habit, and I know I can do anything for three months. I created an Evernote document and updated it each day, recording both the amount of credits I earned and the amount of credits I used. This is a screen shot of my Evernote including my log for the first week…
I am excited to announce that to this day, I have stuck to the challenge. Finally, after three years of empty promises I have successfully integrated exercise into my life. I feel healthier than I have in a long time and don’t see any reason to stop using the challenge as an incentive to keep going.
Every donkey needs a carrot in their life, mine just happens to be a craft brewed carrot made from hops and barley. Anyone can use this type of challenge as an incentive to take action on something you have been putting off. You can also easily modify the challenge to fit your situation. Maybe an “Earn Your Wine Challenge” or an “Earn Your Fried Twinkie Challenge” might be more fitting for you.
Let me know if you have any success!