How to Get Healthier in 5 Minutes a Day

by Don Smith

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Healthy family walking

We can't get healthier in just 5 minutes a day, can we?  That sounds a little too good to be true!  The answer is yes, absolutely we can!  So how is it that just 5 minutes a day can get us off the couch and into something resembling a healthy life?

The answer is taking 5 minutes to form one new habit.  Do something so insanely easy that you would feel silly not doing it!  Make sure to tie it to a specific trigger off a habit you have already developed.

Here's an example of a habit that I personally am working to redevelop this week, this is how I would suggest starting your journey as well.  If this seems overly simple, just keep in mind that this is the same way I started my journey to completing 3 Tough Mudders a few years ago!  In case you haven't heard of Tough Mudder, it is billed as one of the toughest events on the planet.  It's essentially a half marathon through mud, water, and insane obstacles.  Here's a video with a little taste of what that looks like.

So what is the habit I'm working to redevelop?

It's walking around the block!  Yep, I'm a guy that has completed 3 Tough Mudders, has ran many 5k and 10k races, and the beginning of my training for this season is just getting up and walking around the block each night!  I'll run several more 5k and 10k races this season, and may even do some more obstacle courses!

Do I really think that walking around the block will get me in shape???  Absolutely!  The reason is that starting the habit is the majority of the battle.  Just getting my shoes on and getting out of the house every day will get me 90% of the way there.  As I go along, I'll start enjoying the time outside again, and a walk will turn into a jog, and 5 minutes will turn into 10, 10 into 20, and before I know it I'll be running a half hour or more again every night.

The trigger for this is twofold, first I put it in my calendar in my phone, and second I have a nightly routine with my kids to get them to bed.  As soon as they are in bed, I'll take off and walk around the block.  I've already established the habit of getting my kids off to bed at a certain time, so piggy backing this habit to that one will mean that I'll get in the habit of getting out the door each evening.  How do I know it works?  Because I've established that habit in the past using this method, and it's pretty easy to do once you get into the swing of it!

So set yourself up for success tonight.  Pick a trigger point, set out your shoes, and go walk around the block.  5 minutes a day is all it takes to establish a new healthy habit, pick just one habit with a specific trigger, make it ridiculously easy to complete at first to the point that you would feel silly not doing it, and get started today!

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About the Author 

Don Smith

Happily married with five kids, Smith owns a technology company, is the founder of this site, has served on the board of directors for multiple companies, and loves playing soccer, hiking, and mentoring.

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