Patton Oswalt is a popular comedian these days and he does a great bit in one of his recent stand-up routines about how he has trouble finding the motivation to work out. His tread mill is in the same room as his television and his computer and it has to audition for his attention every day but fails horribly because there are too many fun and interesting things to do instead.
Exercising isn't always fun but it is a necessary part of our lives. We live in the daily cubicle rat race and there is an epidemic of obesity spreading far and wide over the land. We must stop this process but the only way to stop it is by looking in the mirror and changing our own lifestyles.
Let me offer up a solution that even Patton Oswalt might enjoy. If you stop thinking about exercise in terms of competing against video games, television, and the internet for your attention and start thinking about it as part of all of those things you might find that it is easier to motivate yourself to work out.
What do I mean by that? Well, you can use an every day item like a pedometer watch to turn your exercise routine (at least the running and jogging portion of it) into a really cool game that plays out a lot like all of the video games on the market today. Think of it like an exercise role playing game.
Things You Will NeedAll you'll need for this exercise role playing game is the will to succeed, a little bit of a time commitment, and a pedometer watch. You could also use some good running shoes and maybe a buddy to help keep your eyes on the prize but those are optional. You can play this game out on the streets in your neighborhood or you can hop on the treadmill and play it the same way.
Step 1The first step is committing to the process. You have to want to get healthy for yourself and you have to decide that you aren't going to just up and quit the very next day. A defeatist attitude is only going to breed defeat and we don't want that to happen at all. Healthy living is about the sustained effort.
Step 2Next you're going to need to prepare yourself for the game. To get prepared you'll need to go out and buy a pedometer watch if you don't have one already. You'll also want to set up a spread sheet with a couple columns. Here's how the game is going to work:
Every day you are going to go out for a jog or for a run. You're going to wear your pedometer watch during that time and it is going to track the amount of steps you take. If you're familiar at all with online role playing games like World of WarCraft you should be familiar with the experience bar and leveling system.
In video games you go out and complete tasks and kill monsters and with every little thing you do you get a little bit of experience for it. That experience builds up over time and you level up to get stronger and gain more rewards. That's what we'll be doing with your step counts.
Each step you take is an experience point and every work out you do earns you experience points for the day. Some days you'll earn a lot of experience and some days you'll learn less but that doesn't matter because you are trying to gain levels and that's what will keep you in the game.
Step 3You need to determine what your level cap is. Let's follow World of Warcraft's example and say the level cap is at 80. When you hit level 80 with your work out role playing game you will be able to say that you completed the game and you can go off and do what you want. Hopefully by the time you hit 80 you will have developed a work out regiment that you will want to sustain because you feel fantastic.
So let's say that every level requires five thousand more steps than the previous level. Achieving level 1 requires that you rack up 10,000 steps so achieving level 2 will require you to rack up 15,000 steps. Keep track of your experience bar and then give yourself rewards at every 10 levels.
The leveling system is going to give you something to focus on during the long sustained effort you're putting in. People who play World of Warcraft have been known to play for 16 hours straight because they get so involved in the tiny accomplishments built into the game and that's the kind of dedication you want to have in exercise.
By the time you start hitting level 50 you'll really be in good shape and if you keep it up to 80 you'll be in excellent condition. It may take a few months but you'll lose all of that weight and you won't even notice because you're having too much fun leveling up. Reward yourself with fancy dinners and special treats at certain milestone levels and really just have fun with it.