Constructing an Environment to Support Positive Habits

If you’re committing to a fitness routine, you’re also most likely hoping to experience some kind of positive change in your lifestyle. Maybe you want to be able to chase after your kids without tweaking something in your back, maybe you want to put on your skinny jeans without having to suck it in, or maybe you have an upcoming Spartan race and want to make sure you can cross the finish line.

In order for any of us to accomplish the positive changes we're looking for, we have to be consistent, and it's easier to be consistent when you have simple tasks to chase.

When I became a member of Street Parking, I was looking for a community and program that helped me maintain consistency on a weekly basis. As I was looking through my membership and what was included, I quickly learned of a program they have for members  to earn exclusive apparel pieces just by maintaining consistency!  All I had to do in order to hit those milestones was log my 75th, 365th, and 1000th workout. 

Not everyone cares about hitting this specific milestone and that’s totally fine - but I did. I knew it wouldn’t necessarily be easy, but the task itself was simple and just required that I show up and accomplish the workouts without the pressure of worrying about the score or result, one day at a time. Since maintaining consistency on a weekly basis was what I was focused on, this was a no brainer for me.

A few things about me:

  • My name is Moose (@moose_sp)
  • I discovered the fitness lifestyle right before joining the Army in 2004
  • I joined Street Parking in August 2019
  • I got my L1 Crossfit certification in Sept 2018 and currently volunteer as a coach at my military assignment in VA
  • Overall, I’d characterize my relationship with fitness as consistent. I definitely have phases where I’d rather eat all the things and skip the workouts, but I know that fitness is a path to long lasting health and sound movements so it’s not difficult for me to rekindle the flames for my love of the functional fitness lifestyle
  • I mainly workout in my garage and the gym at work (my work gym got shut down when COVID struck the nation)

As of today, I have officially accomplished the milestone of logging 365 workouts (earning that #AlwaysOn shirt felt GOOD), but my journey from 0-75 workouts looked A LOT different than 75-365 workouts did because of the global pandemic.

One of the main reasons I was still able to accomplish 365 workouts during a chaotic time that none of us saw coming? I had already been constructing an environment that supported this habit, BEFORE the chaos arrived.

Constructing an Environment that Supports Your Habits

75 Workouts

When I joined Street Parking in August 2019 I was determined to log my 75 workouts and earn the highly coveted Street Parking hoodie. 

I ended up accomplishing that goal in November 2019 and quite honestly it was a relatively smooth and easy process. For me, part of what made logging my 75 workouts easy was because Street Parking as a community and program provided me with structure, purpose, and incentive. They took the guesswork out of the process for me and all I had to do was show up and do the work, one day at a time. Additionally, there was nothing going on in my personal life or around the world that threw me off course at this time.

365 Workouts

After I hit the 75 workout milestone I was determined to go after the 365 workout milestone. When I was 125 workouts away from hitting the 365th workout - COVID struck the nation and all the gyms shut down. 

Now - the gyms shutting down is where every single one of us found ourselves looking at one of two situations:

  1. We were scrambling and trying to figure out what we were going to do because we solely relied on our gym being open and didn’t own any equipment to accomplish workouts on our own
  2. We were bummed the gyms were shutting down but were fine because we had access to equipment and could accomplish workouts on our own for the time being 

This time around, I found myself looking at situation #2 because in the last 5 years leading up to the gyms shutting down in 2020, I’d already been slowly but surely investing money into building out my garage gym. At some point years ago, I decided that pursuing a lifestyle of fitness was something I was going to commit to, and year after year I saved up money to buy one piece of equipment at a time. Whether it was a bumper plate, pair of dumbbells, sled, bands, etc. - those equipment purchases were helping me construct an environment that supported my habits. The way I looked at it (and you could apply this to any habit you’re trying to build) was:

  • Foundation: The foundation of my environment was the vision I had of me becoming the best version of myself (in this case with my fitness and health)
  • Pillars: I then erected the pillars (in this case those pillars were discipline, motivation, nutrition, etc.)
  • Walls: Then I poured my heart into building out the best environment with the resources currently available to me in order to ensure my habits could be sustained (no matter what sort of chaos was taking place). The walls we build will look different from person to person based on context and available resources, but for me it was finding the best programming, community, and incentive followed by purchasing the equipment necessary to make it happen

Because I committed to creating the environment  to support my habits over the last 5 years, COVID didn’t throw me off track to accomplishing my goals. Regardless of the gyms being shut down I still had the environment and resources I needed. I just needed to channel my discipline in order to seize the opportunity to get it done.

Start where you’re at

Now, I understand that every single one of our situations is different and we don’t all have access to the same exact resources, but the point is:

Whatever lifestyle habits you’re trying to create - you have to actively choose to look around and use whatever resources are currently available.  Start constructing an environment that supports those habits.

  • Don’t have a garage but DO have a balcony, driveway, or patio? Purchase a set of dumbbells and do your workouts with the space that is available to you 
  • Don’t like the taste of vegetables when they’re by themselves? Find ways to hide them in your food (soups, smoothies, omelettes, etc.)
  • Need to consume less alcoholic beverages on a weekly basis but constantly find yourself at the bar with friends because your apartment is in the heart of downtown? Rent a place outside of downtown next time your lease is up.
  • Can’t find dumbbells anywhere because everything seemed to be out of stock? Buy a different piece of equipment such as a Brute Force sandbag (they’re consistently in stock), join Street Parking, and do Version C of the Street Parking workouts. 
    • Fun fact: Active Street Parking members get discounts on Brute Force Sandbag purchases. 

No matter what situation you’re in, there’s always SOMETHING you can do to start constructing an environment that supports your habits TODAY! Rome wasn’t built in a day - but every time you save up money to buy a dumbbell, you’re laying down a single brick.  The more bricks you lay, the harder it will be to break down those walls, ESPECIALLY during the chaotic and messy seasons of life.

This blog post was written in collaboration with Bryan Suhr (@moose_sp)