I Exercised 50+ Times in 4 Months And Here Is How You Can Do It, Too

In the last days of 2020, I set a challenge for myself. I decided to (try to) work out 50 times until May 2021. Here we are five months and 53 workouts later. It was an interesting journey, getting to the present moment. What started as a way to get “fit” for bikini season ended up saving my wellbeing and sanity in months of endless lockdown, busy workload and shitty weather.

While my body did not get “fit” for summer and on the contrary – I gained 2kg and no, it is not muscle, my mindset around moving my body and why I do it changed drastically. Towards the end of the 4 months, it was not about how I looked. Moving was all about how it made me feel. It took me 27 years to say this: I do not work out to look good, but to feel good in my skin. Ah, it feels good to really mean it!

Of course, a challenge is a challenge and I am so happy I completed it. I intend to keep following the same direction for the rest of 2021 and beyond. In hopes to inspire you to set a goal for moving your body, I decided to put together a few tips that really helped me.

Set a goal containing a number

In the past, I have written plenty of goals with the word “more”: I will read more, I will drink more water, etc. If there is one thing I have learnt about setting goals, it is this: make them as precise as possible. If you want to read one book per month, then write that down. If you want to drink 2l of water a day, aim for that specific quantity. Numbers make abstract goals more real and more achievable. Instead of saying you will work out more, commit to a specific number in a specific amount of time – 3 times per week, 10 times a month, or in my case – 50 times until May 2021.

Track your workouts on paper

There is so much research about the benefits of writing things down on paper. Seeing your goal black on white brings it to reality. It is not just an idea anymore. It exists in this dimension. I dedicated a whole page of my bullet journal to tracking this goal. I made 50 + 10 extra squares and circles to fill in after each workout. I will not lie – some days the act of filling in a circle was more satisfying than moving my body. Additionally, you can stick your tracker somewhere visible to remind yourself of your goal.

Make it easy by eliminating decisions

The best thing I did when I started was defining what kind of workouts would be “acceptable” to count as movement. The list included a minimum of 20min of yoga, all types of HIIT workouts, running any distance and long walks. Every time I thought I needed to move, I knew exactly what the options were. I did not waste time choosing what to do. If the weather was good, I was out running. If it wasn’t, I was on my yoga mat. If I wanted to sweat, it was HIIT and if I wanted to chill or stretch, it was yoga. Less time to think, less opportunity to find an excuse and not move!

Give yourself some easy options

I was fully aware that in the middle of the Lithuanian winter when it is dark, cold and generally depressing, I would not want to move as much as in summer. So I gave myself one easy workout option – walking. I decided that every walk longer than 5 kilometres would be counted as a movement. I have to say that this was the best decision. Some days I would go for a stroll in the city and I would make a bigger circle on purpose to track the needed distance. You might think that walking this much is not a “workout” and I see your point. However, I moved so much more with this option than I would have without it and this makes it a success. Think about what is an easy option that you can add to your options and do not be shy to use it.

Forget the “all or nothing” bullsh*t

Many people think that to form a habit you need to commit to your timeline 100%. If you skip a day or two, everything is ruined and you have to start again. Science shows that this is not true – habit formation is more flexible than you would imagine. Therefore, do not punish yourself if you skip moving a few days or even a whole week. It is normal that over longer periods of time you will have a week or two when you do not feel like running or doing yoga. Once you are ready to continue, pick it up from where you’ve stopped. Remember, you are doing this for the long-term benefits.

Listen to your body

Each body is unique and their need to move and rest is unique, too. If you feel more comfortable moving in the morning, then go for it. If that makes you uneasy, then consider yoga in the evening. If you do not feel good while doing it, it will not stick (and this applies to everything, not just movement). Furthermore, for us girls, listening to the body also means taking notice of our monthly cycles. I am sure you all know those days of the month when you feel sluggish and all you want to do is stay in bed with a book? This is a real thing. It is called the luteal phase and occurs between menstruation and ovulation. During that time your progesterone hormone level drops and you would much more benefit from a massage than from a run. Listen to your body, it usually knows what is good for you.

More Stories
Feel-Good Morning Routine: Why & How