Fitness Advice: Start a Streak!

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May 20, 2008

people walkingNo I don’t mean as in take off all your clothes and run through a public place, although with the heat wave we’ve had here in Santa Cruz this week, it is a tempting idea. I mean a streak as in establishing a habit and maintaining it on an ongoing basis. Success in exercise and nutrition depends on consistency. More than anything else, making the changes you desire in your fitness requires creating and breaking habits through small actions maintained over time.

Keeping a streak going can be challenging as well as motivating. When you look at the success, be it every day for a week, month or year, it boosts your power; momentum and determination to stay on top of your desired goal. Some people gravitate toward streaks. They get a rush out of seeing how long they can go without drinking soda and a sense of accomplishment from exercising for 60 days in a row. If you are one of these you probably use the practice to achieve desired changes. Other people are a little more wary of streaks. It might seem overwhelming to set off to do something everyday. The streak can be modified to fit a more flexible concept, such as, “I will walk 3 times a week”, or drink water instead of soda every other day.

Why not start a streak today and see how it works for you. The more consistent you can be, the more results you’ll see!

How about setting a goal of a 30-minute walk every day? Seem like a lot? Set your goal at taking a 10-minute walk every other day. As you achieve this goal, play the add on game, if you have walked 10 minutes every other day for a week, add 5 minutes, to aim for a 15 minute walk every other day. When you are up to 30 minutes every other day and have maintained the streak for two weeks, add another “bonus” day.

If you break the streak, don’t give up, just learn from the mistake. Are you trying to walk too long, too far, at the wrong time of day? Do you need new shoes or a better walking path? What makes it difficult to maintain?

Let others know what you’re up to; public streaking is the best way to guarantee success. If the others know what you’re up to, they’ll help you keep on track, and your own pride will keep you going when motivation is flagging.

I have heard from so many people who say they started with a small streak, a ten minute walk every morning, and as it got easier, walked longer and further, until the next thing they knew they were up to an hour a day, with the accompanying drop in blood pressure, weight and waist size, and the increase in stamina and cardiovascular health. You too can experience this great process; I dare you- start a streak!

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