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Midnight Run: Health and Fitness is One of the Secrets to Happiness

May 11, 2009

I am just coming back from another “Midnight Run”, a habit which I have taken up as of late. With a gym in my building, literally 20 steps from my apartment door, I love working out late to get some energy to charge my night. I generally stay up until 2 or 3am, since I work with programmers in Asia and just operate better during late hours. You know, sometimes it dawns on me that life does not have to be as complex as we make it out to be. For all of the struggles we have with self-confidence, anxiety, depression and our physical health, there are two basic habits, which if followed, essentially neutralize our negative states.

1. Faith: Engaging in daily prayer and/or meditation rituals;
2. Exercise: Doing some type of daily exercise to raise our heart rate and build/maintain physical stamina.

Of course, these are not easy things to maintain, because they require internal discipline. However, if we think about all of the energy that we waste chasing other diversions and activities – what if we simplified our lives and made the two items above daily priorities, above all else – even going to work or eating three meals a day? Of course we should eat and work, but this is presented as such to bring to light that faith and exercise ought to be our highest priorities, because they form the foundations of a happy, healthy lifestyle.

While I know this, it easily gets lost amongst the many ambitions that are constantly juggled in my mind. To hold myself accountable, I use goal-setting. In 2009, for example, I set a goal of exercising at least 300 days (out of 365). A workout can be as short as 15-minutes of yoga or on the treadmill. So far, as of today (5/11/09), I have logged 103 work-outs in 131 days (79% rate – 3% off the needed pace of 82%). My workouts are a mix between weights (gym), karate, yoga, running (on treadmill and outdoors), golf soccer and tennis. Having a goal keeps me honest and brings a level of solidity and seriousness to the commitment. I created a little spreadsheet which I call “TimeBug_Goals” that I will share in the blog here sometime soon, so that others can try using it to track their progress.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 12, 2009 3:26 pm

    I feel the same way about working out and health. I really do enjoy it. It’s become apart of my life and I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I did have it. I am always at the gym and work out with a personal trainer, not to impress others but to feel good about myself and maintain my health for as long as I can.

    Great post.

    TJ

    • May 12, 2009 11:15 pm

      TJ – That is wonderful to see what a priority you are making regular exercise. I don’t think there is a better gift that you could be giving yourself (or your family) than that! Of course, there are other elements to finding happiness, but staying fit and healthy is literally the first step, the base.

  2. May 13, 2009 9:17 am

    A 79% accomplishment for working out is great. I’m a pro and don’t think I hit more than 67%. I’ll be interested to see that spreadsheet.

    • May 14, 2009 12:50 am

      Matt – Thanks for the encouragement on the %. Although the 82% (300 of 365 days) goal is ambitious, my mentality is one of not beating myself up if I fall a little short. So I generally aim really high – as they say “shoot for the stars, and you’ll end up in the penthouse.” Lately, I’m trying to be more ‘realistic’ and set achievable aims. What has made this goal more achievable is the lenient definition of a workout – 15 minutes of push-ups and sit-ups or some yoga postures will do when time is tight, and I take advantage of that at least once or twice a week.

      I’m planning on making that spreadsheet available in the next couple of weeks, and will definitely keep you posted. Appreciate the comment.
      – Arman

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