Healthy habits add structure to life, which helps you achieve. Maybe our parents and grandparents didn't need structure beyond their big-company 9-to-5 jobs, but I know almost no one my age or younger whose work structures their lives. We're hustlers.

I've written about doing 90,000 burpees, writing 2,500 blog posts, and 16 tips to start habits. Friday's rowing session on the rowing machine took me to 999,316 meters.

Here's the readout:

My next rowing session will hit 1,000,000 meters.

One million meters is a nice milestone. It's small compared to a competitive rower, but that's the point. I'm not a serious rower. I'm 45. I write books, I teach, and I live a regular life.

Anyone can include exercise like this in their life. Especially rowing. These machines are indestructible. I periodically oil it and dust it. Otherwise it works. Rain, snow, day, night, winter, summer, etc.

I've run marathons and played sports. Outside of bodyweight exercises, rowing on a machine distracts least from life. I can row 20 minutes and burn over 300 calories in less time than to put on running shoes and get to the river to run and back.

Rowing on a machine doesn't depend on the weather.

In other words: I leave myself no excuse not to exercise.

I'm not special ...

People ask me if I have special discipline to exercise so consistently. I'm just like everyone else. I know how lazy I can be so I design routines that prevent me from postponing or chickening out.

I like wasting time. I waste a lot of time.

But I know what I value

Mostly I know that the rewarding feeling of milestones like 1,000,000 meters, however fleeting the moment, means more to me than watching all the episodes of Game of Thrones, House of Cards, or whatever.

So I structure my life more around exercise than TV.

The one missing element

The one missing element is that I've never rowed on open water in a boat. My friend was a coxswain for Princeton and said she'd get me a chance on their boats, but she graduated before we got the chance.

Oh, and I can't help comment that the "Lifetime meters" on the readout really means meters on that memory card. I rowed a lot before getting the card, so I've done more.

I really want to get on the water, though.

[Update: Crossed the one million meter mark]

I'm writing the following week. I crossed the million meter mark. Only 993,522 to my next million!

Published on: Apr 30, 2017