“Gym Rat” Shares 4 Secrets to Creating Habits


Last September I had some minor surgery that prohibited exercise for a short time. Fortunately, in November I got the All-Clear from my surgeon so I high-tailed it over to the gym and kicked my weight training routine back into into gear!

Just kidding.

Want to guess how many times I’ve been to the gym?   Here are the actual stats from my gym, showing the number of visits between 11/15/12  –  02/01/13:  one.  Yep, I went once.


The old ways of motivating myself weren’t cutting it.  Being a Drill Sargent no longer worked (as if it ever did), pep talks were lame, and threats of  losing muscle mass/bone density had no effect.  I needed a new approach.

New Way Saves The Day

That’s when Leo Babauta’s article on Sticking To a Habit: The Definitive Guide arrived in my inbox.  Here’s my version of his premise:

1.  Build ONE habit at a time — don’t try to get in shape, change your diet, quit coffee, de-clutter your house, etc., all at once.  Choose one.  Don’t add another until you have some confidence in the first one.

Photo by Lee Goss

Photo by Lee Goss

2.  Start with micro-steps — Break it down into ridiculously manageable action.  I started by doing 1 push-up, 10 sit-ups, & a 30-second plank.  Slowly adding as I get stronger.  I’m on day 5 and can already tell a huge difference.  [By the end of the month, I’ll be doing 20 push-ups, 50 sit-ups…but I’m getting ahead of myself.]   Here’s the other great thing about these micro steps:  my excuse for not having enough time has vanished!  Seriously, how long does it take to do a push-up?

3.  Do it once per day and don’t miss more than 2 days in a row — obviously essential to converting a one-time action into a reliable habit.  Stay with your daily action and crowd out excuses.

4.  Have an accountability buddy (or two) — yes, you could hire a coach for this but  it isn’t necessary.  You could check in regularly with a friend.  I have two friends as accountability partners:  Photographer and Real Estate Agent Extraordinaire Kate Maxwell-Williams and Brilliant Coach & Trainer Keri Kuerbis-Lehmann.

Your Turn

What do you want to accomplish?  What habit would facilitate that accomplishment?  Who will be your accountability partner?