Health and weight loss are almost purely psychological.

You know that by now.

The more we begin to understand that it’s the thoughts in our head (aka our mental habits) that are holding us back, the better we understand the game.

When you know the rules, it’s easy to find ways around them.

Amod says About a decade ago, when I didn’t exercise regularly (though I loved when I did!) one of my friends who also loved to workout but wasn’t regular, we came to a conclusion:

We loved working out, yes, including the benefits it gave us in daily life, but it was pretty hard to actually just get it done every day.

Getting started was hard when it had to be done every single day.

I thought it would be easy.

So we decided on a challenge—we called it the One Minute of Workout Challenge.

We both realized that FORCING ourselves to start exercising, even if for just 30 minutes, felt great when we actually did it, but if it was a Friday night, thirty minutes felt like an eternity when all we wanted was to get some food and watch the TV.

So we made it smaller, so small that we didn’t even think it was worthwhile.

The real results don’t come in the first thirty days; they come in the days after those first thirty.

Let’s look at days 30-90—where real transformation occurs.

This is the real “100 day rule.”

Take a look at the numbers now.

It’s pretty clear: on day one, I easily dwarfed the amount of time in exercise compared to if I only did one minute per day.

But do you remember… weight loss is a process not an event?

And now let the 100-day rule sink in.

It’s more important to still be doing one minute a day after 100 days, than it is to be doing thirty or sixty minutes a day if it only lasts thirty days.

You can see the ups and downs in my brute force “must do thirty minutes” approach.

Some weekends I didn’t want to.

On vacation I might not want to. When I’m tired I might not want to.

And that’s because thirty minutes seems like an insurmountably large amount of time.

But a minute? Or just six minutes after six days? I can do that.

That’s just like 2 sets of an exercise, I can do them during a commercial, or even say while my hot water is boiling to make tea or coffee.

Obviously, there’s a powerful comparison here.

You could easily have swapped out exercising goal with other daily habits that’ll get you closer to where you want to be: eating one home-cooked meal per night, eating out one less meal a week, doing yoga, etc.

Think about how we often approach our new year’s goals.

Every single year I’m frustrated (in a selfish way!) because the first three months of the new year leaves my gym so clogged that I have no space to park my bike.

Why? The influx of all the people who come fired up, ready to change their lives!

But I know, anecdotally, that most of the parking space is cleared out by March typically!

The Two “Do Less” Principles

1. Choose Less

This is the entire idea of just picking a few lifestyle changes and daily habits and focusing entirely on those to the exclusion of everything else.

If you’re following a specific health or diet regime, just do that!

Promise yourself you’ll ignore all the shiny objects; dedicate yourself for an entire year to one single approach, and then apply the principles here.

Remember, the key here is simplicity.

Don’t tell yourself that you’re going to follow three different health books, a dietitian’s plan, and two personal trainers’ advice.

Pick a few principles, commit to them, and do them day in and day out.

Amod says For e.g. personally, at a high level, the only real two habits I engage in on a weekly basis are:

  1. I go to the gym and exercise four times a week, for 45-60 minutes each visit.
  2. 95% of the food that goes into my body is cooked at home, especially Monday through Friday.

That’s it.

And those two things have allowed me to maintain my health for almost 8 years now, year round, with 2 kids, a busy work schedule, even when I’m working 10-11+ hours a day for months at a time.

There are almost always just a few habits and behaviors that are worth more than all the others combined.

Here are a few you can pick up:

  • Pick one day a week and cook all your own meals.
  • Fill half your plate with plants at each meal.
  • One day a week, eat for energy (eat vegetarian, no coffee, no alcohol, no sugar).
  • Swap out any liquid calories (meaning no soft drinks, diet sodas, fruit juice, etc.) with lemon water.
  • Swap out any high G.I. carbs (white rice, white bread, bagels, pasta), for low G.I. carbs (brown rice, wheat bread, etc.).

Each one of these tiny habits has produced dramatic weight loss and better health in my clients, as well as people I’ve spoken with and interviewed.

It’s just a matter of doing them. And naturally, as you begin doing them regularly, you’ll begin doing them more often.

The second principle here:

2. Do Less

This is the idea behind the one-minute of exercise challenge.

In the short run, people with the “brute force” approach may exercise thirty minutes a day or an hour, but they always lose in the 100-day test.

The ultimate test is whether or not you can do something for 100 days. That’s where the real results start rolling in.

On the days when you can’t seem to get yourself to do that 30-minute workout, or that meditation or yoga session, or that stretching regime you said you would do, just play this game.

Today, only do one minute.

The irony is that after doing just one minute of it, it’s usually pretty easy to do five, ten, or thirty minutes.

The biggest resistance point is beginning.

So, what’s your one-minute of exercise challenge?

Start today. It’s just a minute, right?

Anyone could do that.