Lose Pounds in Just 15 Minutes a Day!

In the last couple posts, I’ve been talking about two different but related concepts:  namely, that I’m getting fat and that my house is also getting fat.  Now, of course when I say “I’m getting fat,” you know what I mean.  However, when it comes to my house getting fat, you may not have such a clear idea.  So, to be clear, let me explain it this way:  both of us–my house and I–are exceedingly out of shape.

With me, you can see it in my new bulges and the fact that I get winded while walking and channel surfing.  For my house, it’s evidenced by the chipped trim and the dinged-up walls, the old, tired paint and the wobbly cabinet doors.  My house–and I, for that matter–aren’t what I’d classify as morbidly obese . . . or even semi-morbidly obese.  But, as I mentioned, we’re both out of shape and not that appealing when looked at appraisingly.

And so, work needs to be accomplished–on both fronts.  But the problem is time.  I don’t have time to exercise for hours on end and I don’t have time to do home maintenance for hours on end.  I don’t even have enough extra time to combine the two into some hybrid home-improvement-exercise-regimen.  And so, what typically happens, is that I put it all off.  I don’t start exercising because I don’t have enough time to do it right.  I don’t start doing my little home repairs because I don’t have enough time to do  them right.  And so everything piles up–the weight and the jobs.  And I get a little more depressed each day.

But not too long ago, it hit me:  I’d made a critical mistake.  I suddenly realized that I don’t need to exercise like the people who are completely and totally committed to becoming fit.  If I could just find 15-30 minutes a day walking, I’d see a dramatic improvement.  And that led me to conclude that the same is true for my home:  if I could just implement a 15-30 minute home improvement regimen two or three times a week, I would see tremendous results in a very short amount of time.

See, the key to any successful exercise program–I’m told–is setting a schedule you can keep.  Setting up a grueling, hour-long, daily program sounds like a great idea, but usually, in 3 weeks time (or far less if you’re me), you’ve given up completely.

Instead of those marathon, epic, exercise programs, we’d be better served to put our energy into a smaller program we can actually stick to and keep up with.

The same is true when it comes to a home improvement regimen.  And that’s what I’m going to implement in my home for the foreseeable future.  I’m going to take a night or two or three every week and I’m going to set aside 15 – 20 minutes each time.  My plan is to set this schedule for the same 2 or 3 nights every week and I’m going to set it for a time that will be as painless as possible.  For me, that’s going to be right when I get through with work, while my wife’s making dinner.

If you’d like to try this in your own home, do the same thing:  pick a couple nights and pick a time that works well and get started.  Use this time every night to tackle all the little jobs that would normally pile up over time.  And don’t worry about not completing any given task in your allotted 15-20 minutes.

For example, let’s say you’ve got some nail holes that need to be puttied, sanded and then touched-up with paint.  Well, take your 15-minute segment on a given night and run around the room with some spackling compound and a putty knife.  Fill in all the nail holes and call it a night.  Clean your tools up quickly, put them away and carry on with the fun part of your night.

DON’T BE TEMPTED TO KEEP WORKING!  Extending your work over the allotted 15-20 minutes sounds effective, but in the end, you’re just going to burn yourself out faster and you’ll end up quitting.  So quit on time and plan to start back up the next day.

When the next work day comes, set a timer for another 15-20 minutes and run around that same room with sandpaper.  Sand down all those nail holes and vacuum up all the dust you just created.  When that’s finished,
put your stuff away and call it a night.

The next time you have your 15-minutes of home improvement time, finish the project by touching up all the spots with paint.  Clean up your tools at the end, put them away and go cross that little job off your list.

Keep working around your home like that.  One night you can replace that vent cover that’s all dented because of the kids.  Another night, you could go around and sand all the chips in your woodwork.  2 nights later, on your next “fix-it” night, go around and do your touch-up painting.

Stick to this schedule week after week and you’ll be amazed at what kind of accomplishments you’ve made in six months.  Or a year.  In fact, if you implemented a 15-minutes-a-night work-time, 3 nights a week and kept up on it through an entire year, you’ll end up logging almost 40 hours of work on your home.  Think about that!  Nearly 40 hours of work on your home in a year . . . all done in virtually painless 15 minute chunks!  Think of the difference that would make!

Sure, these little fix-it nights aren’t going to get your living room painted or help you accomplish other bigger projects, but they will help you get all the small, obnoxious, time-consuming ones of the way and will help you get on the road to getting your homes back in shape.

I’m starting tonight.  Why don’t you think about it, too?  I’ll let you know how I’m doing . . . and feel free to post your experiences in the comments here.  Good luck!

The 15 Minute Paint-Exercise Regimen that Will Change Your Life!

Last time, I wrote about an email I’ve been receiving lately that has the following subject line:  “So Now That You’re Fat, What Are You Going to Do About It?”  (You can read that post by clicking here.)

It’s an obnoxious subject line and I hate seeing it in my inbox because, sadly . . . it’s dead-on.  I have gained some weight and seeing that email in my inbox reminds me of that fact and depresses me.  I’m especially depressed when I go on to read about the exercise programs and regimens designed to take off the fat.  They’re incredibly grueling and I think their main strategy is to kill you and let the normal flow of decomposition take care of the weight loss.

For example, my wife bought a Jillian Michaels’ 30-Day Shred video.  It’s a 20 minute workout that you can do everyday.  If you keep up on it, Ms. Michaels promises that you’ll see tremendous results.  I don’t know if she’s right or not.  See, I’ve tried to do this on two separate occasions and each time . . . after about day 4 or 5, I found myself at the Dr.’s office trying to figure out why I  was having chest pains, shortness of breath, chronic back spasms and shin splints.

Each time, they’ve told me I’m healthy and they’ve sent me off home with a laugh.  But I’m not laughing.  Because the only reason for my symptoms–that I can determine–is that I’m not man enough for Jillian Michaels.

In fact, when I boil it down, I’m not man enough for exercise in general.  It tires me out.  If I do the easy, slow, low-impact exercises . . . I’m going to have to exercise 6 hours a day, everyday, for the rest of my life just to maintain my current weight and not gain any more.  If I do the quick, high velocity, hard-core Jillian Michaels’ workouts, I may lose weight, but it will likely be while lying in a coffin.

And so, needless to say, that’s a little depressing.  The death part, sure . . . but also the fact that getting back to my slim, high-school body is going to take forever . . . if it’s even possible.   In the end, it kind of makes me want to just forget the whole thing and quit trying.

And finally, that brings me to the home improvement point I wanted to make:  our homes can be just like our bodies.  They get pudgy and out of shape just like we do.  And when that happens, getting them back in shape can take so much work and effort that we sometimes feel like not even trying.

This all hit home for me last week when my wife and I spotted a house for sale.  Now, I should point out that we’re perfectly content with our home right now.  We had no plans to move.  We weren’t looking for a new house . . . we weren’t even thinking about it.  But then, late last week, we saw one that was for sale.  And it was amazing.

It was located on the edge of a big city park in Zeeland.  A screened-in porch looks out over a baseball diamond.  There’s a huge yard for the kids to play on–a yard that is mowed and maintained by the CITY (does it get any sweeter than that?).  It was a perfect home for my family . . . it was a house we’d looked at for years and always dreamed about . . . and now, it was for sale.  To top it all off, we called on the price and discovered, much to our shock, that it was in our price range.

We were excited.  Shocked.  Thrilled.  Nervous.  Excited.  And then we drove home.  And I walked into our home . . . and the scales fell off and my eyes were opened and I realized how out of shape my home was . . . how fat I’d let it become.

I looked and I saw cabinet doors that needed to be painted, others that needed to be touched up.  I saw chipped-up woodwork and dinged-up walls.  I saw wallpaper that was coming loose in a couple spots, a kitchen that needed a new paint job.  A back entry wall that needed to be cleaned and a floor that needed some work.  I saw little things like a broken switchplate or two and some lights that were burned out.  And I saw big things like carpets that needed cleaning, porch screens that needed sanding and repainting, and the exterior trim that needed to be completely redone.

If I was going to try to list this house and get people interested in time to have a chance at this other house, I would have to list it now–almost immediately.  But I couldn’t.  I had months of “home exercise” to do before my house would be even close to being in shape.

That was a depressing realization. It’s exactly how I felt about myself after receiving my “So Now You’re Fat” emails:  getting back in shape was going to take months of grueling work and effort.  In fact, getting back in shape (both me and my house) was going to take so long that I found myself wondering if I had the energy to even start.

But since we were interested in this new house, I decided I needed to buckle down and start working for hours on end for the foreseeable future until I had all these little projects finished.  But then, before I started my work, we toured that new house and decided it was not for us.  Beautiful on the outside . . . but not big enough for all my kids on the inside.  The whole new-house-thing was a no-go and I slowly downshifted and slid back into my planning-to-live-in-our-current-house-for-awhile mentality.

However, even though we’re not moving anytime soon (as far as I know) this experience has taught me something.  It has taught me that you never know when the right opportunity might present itself when it comes to buying a new home.  That particular home wasn’t the right one for us . . . but who knows . . . next week we might find the perfect place.  That meant I still needed to tackle the jobs at my home and get them out of my way.  So I resigned myself to horrible nights of grueling, 4-hour and 6-hour shifts with only time to sleep and eat in between.

But that’s when the light dawned and hope sprang to life.  See, right around that time, I read an article about the benefits of walking for 15 minutes a day while eating the right food. 15 minutes a day?  I re-read the phrase . . . I could do that. And that’s when I realized that I don’t need to do the Jillian Michaels’ Kill-Yourself-To-Get-Thin Exercise program to see results.  I can watch what I eat and I can find time to walk or jog 15-20 minutes every day.  Something low-impact and manageable . . . something I won’t tire of instantly . . . .  Something like that will produce results in the long run.

Oh, I may not ever find my way to the cover of People magazine . . . but at least I won’t be able to nestle my mountain dew in my belly button when I’m trying to change the channel on the tv.

Once that dawned on me . . . I realized the same is true with my home.  I looked at all the projects I had sitting around and I realized that each one of them could be tackled . . . in tiny, bite-size chunks . . . if I’d just allot 15 minutes a day . . . or even every other day.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to implement something I’m calling RepcoLite Paints’15 Minute Paint-Exercise Regimen that Will Change Your Life.  Yeah, it’s a mouthful . . . but it’s going to work.  And it’s going to produce results.  And I’m going to invite all of you to try it.

Next time, I’ll tell you how it works.