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Episode 50: Personal Permission

Video Highlights

- What is the right amount of exercise?
- How do you manage your day to get in "enough" of a workout?
- Why some is better than none.

Hi everybody. Dr. Cobb back with you.

Hope you are having a great week.

This week I want to talk about what I call personal versus professional permission. This is a simple concept but for some people it can be life changing. Let me keep it really simple.

A few days ago I was working with a new client. We were having a discussion … Tell me about your exercise program.

He said, “You know I love to exercise because it makes me feel good, but this has been a bad year. Life has been super busy, my kids are young, business is booming but, as a result of that, I am spending 60 and 70 hours a week at the office. I don’t feel like I have the time to exercise and unfortunately when I don’t exercise I feel worse. So I feel like I am caught in this ongoing spiral and I am exhausted.”

Now I said, “Well let’s assume that you realize a couple of things. Number 1, it’s great that you realize that exercise makes you feel better. That’s good.  A lot of people don’t know that. They wonder, but they aren’t sure. Number 1, you have that in your favor. Tell me what it means to you to exercise.”

He said, “I like to go to the gym. I like to lift weights. I like to do things like that.”

I said, “On average, when you get a good workout in, how long do you spend?”

He said, “Somewhere between a half hour and an hour and sometimes I like to take longer bike rides with my friends. Then if I am talking about 2 hours, I just can’t fit that into my life.” I said, “What about the half hour?”

He said, “No, honestly since the beginning of the year I can’t fit anything in that I’ve ever done before.”

I said, “Let’s think about it differently. What would it feel like to you to go, my big commitment for the day in terms of exercise is to do 1 pushup or 1 pull-up or 1 squat.”

He said, “I don’t know. It doesn’t feel like that’s very much. I don’t know that it could do very much for me.”

I said, “Here’s where I want you to understand something. Exercise has to fit your life for most of us. Now there are a few people who can fit their life around their exercise program, but for many of us who struggle to find time for our families, our kids, our work and all those other things, we have to make it work together.”

I said, “I want you to consider something.” You guys have heard me talk about this in prior blog posts where I said, “Hey set a timer. Every 30 minutes get up and do something.” I said, “Would it be possible for you to consider setting a timer every half hour or hour and when it goes off do 1 of something. 1 Pushup, 1 pullup, 1 whatever it is that you want to be working on, just do 1 of them.”

He said, Well, that seems like that can be fairly easy, but I don’t really know that it’s enough that it would matter.”

So here’s the rub, right? This is what I want to talk to you about. I’m sitting there having a conversation with this young man saying Hey I am giving you professional permission to understand that 1 pushup is better than zero pushups. 1 pull-up is better than zero.

Yet his brain was like Yeah, but it’s not enough. I need to work harder than that and yet, because of his life, he’s not working hard at all, ever. He’s not doing anything.

This is what I talk about in the difference between professional permission and personal permission. I am going to encourage you this week to think through what your beliefs are about how much work you need to do at any one time to feel like you have exercised, to feel like you have done something.

Then I want you see if you can roll it all the way back to the point that you can mentally feel good about doing 1 of something. If you are already exercising, this probably doesn’t really matter that much to you although it can be a great way to introduce additional movement into your day.

This is particularly for those of you that are struggling, Man, some days are great and other days it just drives me crazy and some weeks and then months pass and then all of a sudden I haven’t done anything.

If that’s been the way of your life, give yourself, or consider giving yourself personal permission to do less, even much, much less, just a lot more often. At the end of the day, 1 is better than none for the vast majority of us and if you start taking on that mindset, what you typically find is you are more willing to engage in things that you have been resisting. Once you get into them, you might actually find out that you like them and you spend a little bit more time.

Think about that this week, do your little test. How do you feel about exercise?

How much would you have to do to feel good about it? Is it possible to roll it way back and still feel good about it if the answer is I’m doing one of something?

All right. Give that some thought. If you have questions about this idea, please let us know.

I hope again that you are having a great week.

I look forward to talking to you soon.

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