The default exercise

If you wanna build a habit or even to just sustain one, it helps to have a default exercise. One that you do if you can’t think of anything better to do. This takes away the added burden of deciding what to do that just leads to decision paralysis.

For example, I want more flexibility. My hips are as stiff as a rock. This is a real problem when you have to sit on the floor for hours on end during Yamabushi training, so I want to improve my flexibility as much as possible. There’s a 21 day hip opening challenge that I’ve been doing on repeat since August (I think it’s working, but every time I stop I lose the gains). Every once in a while I get the urge to try something else, and I allow myself to, but I know that if it doesn’t work out, I can go back to my default exercise.

Likewise, when I start up swimming again after a long break (I’ve stopped due to the risk of either catching or passing on COVID-19 to all the old people at the pool), I swim based on percentages of effort rather than time, so I can build back my fitness. I can already tell you how I will swim when I can finally get back in the pool.

So if you can, start thinking of or practicing default exercises. It will help you build and maintain your habit, which will help you build and maintain your life.



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