As a health practitioner I am always hearing from my patients that they don't have enough time to exercise or do stretches or any of the other things I recommend so I decided to see how easy it would be to increase the amount of exercise I participated in. So, a couple of months ago I stupidly came up with the idea to increase the amount of time I used my exercise bike on a daily basis. My plan was to start on the first day of the month and do one minute of exercise, on the second day do two minutes of exercise and so on... I say this was a stupid idea because rather than pick a month like February I picked one with 31 days!
Anyway it went really well and I completed the month and managed to fit in an extra 31 minutes of exercise on the final day without any great hardship, sacrifice or loss of doing anything else I enjoyed and as well as feeling better for it (and hopefully not just kidding myself I learnt a few useful things as well many of which relate to marketing and life in general – and I would like to share a few of those with you now...
1. There is always more time in the day than you imagine! We all feel that there is never enough time in the day but it is incredible how some people seem to fit so much more into the same 24 hours without sacrificing personal time or rushing their professional life either. I found initially I could fit up to 20 minutes of exercise in whilst I was waiting for things to cook, whilst waiting for the television programme I wanted to watch to actually start rather than sitting through the end of something I wasn't interested in. after that I just got on with doing the exercise as soon as I got in from work - and it fitted in perfectly - I don't know what I used to do in that time but it certainly wasn't missed!
2. I decided to start at one minute and build on it daily because I knew that one minute would be easily achievable. I would have hated to have decided to start on 15 minutes and found that I really didn't have the time to fit the extra exercise in – then I would have been disheartened and less inclined to continue.
This in effect was one way of setting a SMART goal – it was:
Specific (one minute a day and building),
Measurable (I knew exactly how much I was supposed to do on any given day),
Achievable (not too much of a push but enough of a stretch to be worthwhile),
Realistic (if you can't do a minute a day of anything and add on it there really is no hope for you is there?)
Timely (I knew it would last a month – it was planned to finish on a set day at a set time – none of this I'll do it sometime / whenever!)
2. The gradual increase although slow get increasing and momentum built over time. Adding an extra minute a day although it did not seem a lot meant that at the end of the month I had done an extra 496 minutes worth of exercise or on average 16 minutes a day. More importantly it meant that I had also done eight hours 16 minute (longer than an average working day – without breaks!).
When you add it up like that it seems a little more impressive and although I chose exercise I could have chosen anything and at the end of the day I would have committed a day to achieving whatever took my fancy! Imagine if you devoted a whole day to studying your own profession / increasing your skills / marketing your business what effect would that have on you revenue / client base / standing in the community.
3. When I told family and friends about my idea most of them laughed and said that is was pointless to start so low / did I really have the time to fit it all in as the end of the month approached / did I really need to prove anything / why etc. My father on the other hand who was 91 at the time and has won medals for cycling (including 24 hour endurance cycling events!) said that it was quite low to start with however when he trained he used to increase the time and the speed on a daily / weekly level to build up his endurance and it worked for him. He also commented that "at the time he wasn't working full-time and so had more time at his disposal so he could see the rationale and good luck!"
He also made the very good point that it didn't matter where I started as long as I just started and did something!
It was funny how those that you expect to support you and spur you on often don't and that you can get support from other where you least expect it. The person that was in a position to ridicule the idea of doing one minute on a bike (have spent periods up to 1440 minutes on his at any one time) actually was in favour of the idea and quite supportive whereas other family members and friends weren't.
This could be that those closest to you don't want to see you fail in your endeavours so they try to persuade you against trying something. It could be that they are unable to do these things themselves so don't want to see you succeed but often if you try to better yourself (in any way) you will likely face negativity and pessimism from those who are closest to you. Be prepared for negativity, listen to their reasoning but don't let it stop you.
One final thought is that it only takes 21 days to create a new habit therefore doing something consistently for a month means that it makes that brain / body connection and becomes a habit - easily and simply without any difficulty!
What habits would you like to create for a better you? When do you have a month free in order to so? Go on it really is as simple as one minute a day!
W.J. Simmons has been involved in complementary health for over 25 years as both practitioner and lecturer. During this time he noticed that there was a wide discrepancy between how successful individual clinics were - a difference which had very little to do with the skill of the practitioner.
Learning from these successful practitioners allowed him to develop a system of easy to implement, ethical ideas for practice growth - the Exponential Practice Growth programme. To get your free 16 step report guaranteed to boost your own client base go to http://www.exponentialpracticegrowth.com/newsletter. The information contained in this report is applicable to all businesses.