Advice Re. Commitment, Goal Setting and Habit-Building

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    Advice Re. Commitment, Goal Setting and Habit-Building

    Hi y'all! Hope your day has been great so far.

    Soooo I've been using Darebee since the end of 2019. I finished my first program towards the end of last year (2020) after starting and dropping various programs for about two years. I've been hovering close to completing my second program since the beginning of this year but can't seem to make progress more than once or twice a week.

    I find that with my ADHD I have trouble sticking with a single program and doing it on a regular basis. I end up doing some exercise here and there but get very frustrated because it feels like I'm going in circles and not really progressing. Does anyone have any advice about how to create realistic fitness goals and develop realistic and stick-to-able habits? Or how to create structures of external motivation? It's hard for me to find a way to reward the small, daily steps that I need to be taking (say, a day of Square One or Yoga every day) and end up only rewarding the larger exercises (ex, going for a run once or twice a week).

    I would really love to make the rest of 2021 my year. Any advice about fitness goals/routines/etc. would be greatly appreciated. So thanks in advance!

    PS: I'm also studying taekwondo and seriously need to figure out how to incorporate daily practice into my schedule if I want to progress (which I definitely do!).... so you can see why it's quite hard for me to figure out how to prioritize!
    (ADHD moment: oooh new star emojis! Got to try them out! )

    It's still a work in progress for me but what helped the most was ... time ! I now that's probably not what you hoped. Every year I struggle finishing my programs because I invest myself a lot in my work and lack the emotional stamina to workout after. The same pattern repeats : 1 or 2 programs in summer then not much until march, repeat. It's been about 5 years now. I switched my focus. In the beginning all I wanted was a shiny new badge, now I try to reduce de off period as much as I can. That's how I mesure my progress. It's less exciting but it slowly pays off.
    This interview of Firas Zahabi also helped me look at my training differently.


      My trick is to simplify what I want to do as much as possible and remove all that is not essential

      5-10 min of exercise per day, that is any program done at level 1 of difficulty or even just 1 set gets used to training every day, when then it becomes a habit the road is downhill.

      I find myself more comfortable with the programs because there is an already well-structured training scheme, I just have to follow them, if I want to work harder I do them at difficulty level 3 otherwise 1 is fine.
      In my experience, being flexible helps, I do something every day but I always take into account how I am and what I want to do.


        Hi princess_sarena! How I wish there was an easy answer to that problem. I think it's very unfair that the one thing that seems to be the key to everything, consistency, is something that I naturally suck at. I find it's important to do a daily practice, it's something that has to be done every day, like feeding the cat. If I can't do a full session, I do a mini-one to hold the place. Also, I use lots of tricks to keep myself going, including using the tools that Darebee provides. Personally, I find it very motivating to tick off days on the programs and challenges. Another thing I do is that, because I like starting new things more than finishing things, I'm always thinking and planning about what I'm going to do next, after each program or challenge is finished. Somehow that triggers the anticipation of starting something new and keeps me going.

        If you haven't already, you should read these two threads started by Damer on the topic of motivation, here and here. You might get some ideas from those.

        Keeping a log and filling it out daily, and following other people's logs is also a helpful thing. Knowing that you've got to tell everybody that you were lazy and didn't do something might be the thing that gets you off the couch when all else fails.

        Finally, ask yourself what's stopping you from doing what you want to do? Find your barriers and figure out ways of removing them. For instance, one of my barriers was not wanting to disturb my husband, who gets up later than I do, in the mornings, so I moved my workout area from upstairs near the bedroom to downstairs in my office. Little things like that can sometimes make a big difference.

        I hope you find your mojo!


          well, it is a random thought... but did you tried to do the Workout of Day?

          It isn't a program, so you haven't to be stick to a specific workout... every day is a random and usually low-timed exercise...

          also, doing with the dailydare, I think that is enough to general exercise in one day...

          one more thing.... the daily log, help me a lot to get the routine... I think "oh I have to post my log today, even that was just the DD, the Bees are waiting for my post", so, when I'm unmotivated, I try to do the workout for the bees in the hive!


            I like stringing activities together to generate consistency and a routine. For that to work, I look for something I do throughout the day anyway. For example, I drink coffee every day at the same time. Perfect to do something after that. Basically, I piggyback on already established things. At the moment, I put my training directly after my morning coffee on my weight-lifting days and on an hour after my first evening coffee on the cardio days. This works perfectly for me (but not at all for my husband, who suspects he has ADHD, too).

            Goal setting is tricky and I struggle with that, myself. For some time, I was badge-hunting, too, but sometimes I didn't like a programme I was doing, fell off the wagon and got demotivated. I've learnt to be kinder to me, though, and nowadays I look for something that keeps me going, regardless of how much I have to switch. Right now, for example, I don't follow any Darebee programmes, which means I have to motivate myself with something other than a shining badge I think you'll stick with something more if it gives you satisfaction. It takes some while to find that, sometimes and weird as it may sound, it took me a bit of effort to give up on Darebee for now and focus more on weight-lifting. But I like it very much, so the motivation comes almost naturally. To find a goal, I guess it's mostly thinking about what you want to achieve and hunting for the way to get there. Sometimes, you'll find the goal on your way (happened to me).

            And about rewarding the small, seemingly insignificant successes... I like making thumb-ups, so whenever I have finished something, I give myself a thumb up and a wink (okay, it looks more like a spastic twitch in my case, because I have horrible muscle control in my face, but whatever). If my success was especially great, I even give myselfa double thumb up (yes, with both hands!)

            Hope you'll find something that works for you


              Thanks for all the really great advice, everyone!

              After some reflection, I think I might be trying to spread myself too thin, and overfocusing on the long-term goals to the detriment of short term ones (I know that might sound weird, but I mean trying to finish a specific program instead of trying to do the ideal amount of exercise for a given day, or focusing on what I want to accomplish in a given year without considering what I might, say, be able to accomplish this week).

              I think I'm going to work on planning out my exercise routine day by day, and avoid overcommitting by scheduling only one major workout session per day (whatever that means - could mean a run and a cooldown stretch, or a few lighter workouts mixed together, etc.). Weekly taekwondo class counts as a full session (especially with the 2km walk there and back.) Aside from that, I'll try to include taekwondo in my daily routine by training for a few minutes once first thing in the morning (practicing patterns) and once before going to bed (practicing self-defense).

              I also realized that I've almost completely stopped focusing on the joy of the workout in the moment. Over the winter, I've switched to walking while listening to podcasts instead of running to music, and while I do enjoy the podcasts, they don't put me in the right "mood" - like when that song comes on, I've just got to run it out! Whereas while I'm listening to a good story, I tend to slow down to focus more and stop paying attention to how the exercise actually feels while I'm doing it (the high of a good run, or the feel of a good stretch!).

              I also LOVE stories that somehow give my workout "meaning" and make it feel more fun and keep me wanting to come back to it day after day to find out how the storyline continues - or even just pretending to be punching aliens while doing a random daily dare, for example. I think I want to start including more of the fun, creative aspects of working out back into my life... which is, after all, why I joined Darebee in the first place (started out with Hero's Journey but never got past day twelve...)!

              So, basically: add taekwondo training to my daily wake/sleep routine; create daily goals that are easily checked off instead of larger goals that are hard to measure and hard to hit; limit intense, difficult or boring workouts to once a day (with the option of short stretching/exercise breaks throughout the day if I have time and really want to), instead of stretching out the workout through the entire day (ex, doing 1 set of square one day #29 every hour or so); liberally include elements that make workouts fun and enjoyable (great music, fun, comfortable workout clothes, choosing programs/workout/apps with a strong and entertaining story, gaming and/or RPG elements).

              Thanks everyone! It's been really helpful for me to think this through and focus on some clear, easy changes that I bring my training regimen back to life! Let's see how this goes!


                It sounds like you've got yourself a good, workable plan. Now you just have to stick with it! Consistency is key. Good luck!


                • #9
                  If I may, I have struggled with both ADD and ADHD since I was young. Both of my boys struggled as well. What has worked for me is routine and checklists. I have them everywhere. From waking up to leaving for work, to starting my workday/ending my work day, to closing out my day. In the morning, it is now like clockwork. I get up at 0430, brush my teeth, take my vitamins, drink 16oz of water that was placed on the counter in the bathroom. Then its into the closet for my workout cloths that were laid out the night before, either rucking, yoga/stretching or resistance training. Once that is complete, shower and dress, then sit down for 10 minutes of reading and journaling. I live on my Surface so its convenient. This approach takes a lot of the distraction out of my daily life and a lot of the shiny object stuff as well.


                    princess_sarena Taekwondo (probably all martial arts) is perfect for getting into a habit of training. It only needs a few minutes to practice every block, each side, five times. It's easy enough to do - you don't need to change your clothes, you can do them anywhere, and every time you practice them, you get a little better. Do the 15 Days of Exercise challenge. I find ticking off a box very motivating, and 15 days isn't so long. And once you've done 15 days, well 30 days is well within your grasp, right? There are many Challenges that require only a minute or so of your day, and one (or more) of those might be easier to stick to than a programme. I look forward to reading of your progress.