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James Hong

Monday, August 22, 2011

How I finally managed to start doing small exercises regularly

I've tried many times in the past to try and do some small exercises regularly, but i've never been able to keep it up for very long. 3 or 4 months ago, I went to a talk given by Dr. BJ Fogg, and experimental psychologist at Stanford.

He talked about behavior modification, and how in order to achieve it one needs 3 things: a Trigger to get you to think about the desired behavior, the Motivation to do it, and the Capability to do it. During his talk, he asked everyone in the audience to laugh and cheer whenever anyone's cell phone rang. This was quite interesting, he was connecting the desired behavior to something that had NOTHING to do with the behavior.

That night, I decided I would start doing wall squats for 2 minutes as I brushed my teeth (2 min is easy to time because I use a sonicare toothbrush which lasts 2 minutes). It's dead time anyway, i figured. This worked like a charm, twice a day I have been doing wall squats since I started. After a week of pain things started to get a lot easier, so I started using my wall squats as a trigger to do pull ups (search for the door gym on amazon), pushups, situps, and a few other things. All in all, it takes about 2 minutes in the morning and 10-15 minutes each night. After a month of that, I've started going to the gym again.

The point is, the trigger can be anything. By my own willpower, I've never been able to create a strong routine of doing any exercise, but in the end all it took was piggybacking on top of something I already do as a habit: brushing my teeth.