I promised last week that I wasn’t done talking about The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin, and today I’ll deliver on that promise. I wanted to write about making exercise a habit, and to do that I simply have to talk about the four tendencies. For the first time since college, I feel like I have a very consistent exercise routine. I leaned into my questioner nature to set this routine, and I’m happy to report it’s going great!
I like routines, repetition, and schedules. I like to know what I will be doing and when I’ll be doing and (especially) why I am doing something. I’m a familiarity lover to my core, and I’ve always loved exercise. So why has it been so hard for the last few years to make it a consistent, routine habit?
It was easy for me to stick to an exercise routine in high school and college where I had a pretty set schedule and exercise had a designated spot in each day. Now that I’m an adult with a normal job, I could fit exercise in each morning, or after work, or after dinner, or maybe even at lunch. Having all these options seems good, but I could never decide which was best. Or what exercise was best. Should I be running? Or doing weights? How many days a week should I do each? How important is yoga? Because I could never decide, I never had a routine, and my exercise was inconsistent.
I need exercise in my life to help keep me calm, focused, and able to sleep at night. I realized that I exercise consistently when I have a class to go to, so this fall I signed up for three classes. Even though I was getting my workouts in easily for weeks the habit still didn’t feel set until a week or so ago, when I gained clarity into why it was working. Why something works is what’s important to me, so when I came to my realization I was overjoyed! Getting enough exercise won’t be an issue until after the holidays when the class schedules will change again.
Why does having a class work for this questioner? Having a class means I know where and when I will be exercising each day of the week, and how much time it will take. It’s efficient. I won’t have to make a decision, so I won’t get bogged down in deciding what the best option is for the day or the week. It’s written into the schedule, so I don’t have to decide if it’s the best use of time.
It can take me a long time to decide, but with classes I can decide once to sign up, and then not have to decide again for months at a time. I’m free to wonder about everything else. My decision to exercise is already made!
Questions: Do you like to exercise? Do you prefer classes, or working out on your own? Does having clarity around a habit help you stick to it?