A Habit Must Be Established Before It Can Be Improved

A Habit Must Be Established Before It Can Be Improved

This is my 100th blog post. It took one-month shy of seven years to get here.

Nobody knows what they’re doing when they start. I didn’t know when I started but I know more now. What might I know in ten years? I hope I find out.

The title quote is from James Clear. It helped me a lot. I was not doing things I “wanted” to do because I didn’t really want to do them. Or I “wanted” to do them at a high level, a level so high it was only possible to imagine doing it, not actually do it. I “wanted” to do yoga for an hour like I did at my yoga studio before the pandemic. But I never wanted to be in my living room with my yoga mat for an hour. Never. Never once did I want that in the past year. That’s why I went to a yoga studio in the first place. Because once you’re there, there is no escape. The social pressure is really important for me to overcome lethargy.

But in dwelling on the quote, I thought maybe I could start with something very very short. I could just do it for the length of one song. Just a few stretches. That’s it! One song Caren. You got this.

It worked! That was not too bad. I did not hate that.

Over time, I found that I was totally willing to do yoga for the length of a few songs. Sometimes I would do more than I intended. Isn’t that fun? That’s like a habit starting to form. Woah! I now exercise several mornings a week for ten minutes. Ten minutes is something I can manage. Ten minutes doesn’t freak me out. Ten minutes is happening. I don’t have to pressure myself into it. It’s something I actually like to do. I’ve built a habit.

Rather than make your hopes and goals bigger make them smaller. Make them so small you are doing them.


Are you by chance curious what little book I wrote this quote in? It’s last year’s pandemic little book. Here is a picture of the cover. I can’t get my fill of Danny Trejo in pink. His vegan donuts are off the hook. Try them if you are in Los Angeles.

I Just Invented This Round Thing. I’m Gonna Call It a Wheel.

I Just Invented This Round Thing. I’m Gonna Call It a Wheel.

What I am about to tell you is something you already know. Everybody knew it but me. Actually even I knew it but I forget. Ready?

If you listen to workout music while working out, you will work out harder. I worked out so hard yesterday, I was sore all day. And I only worked out for seven minutes.

Here’s the story. The pandemic gutted my old exercise routines. No more in person yoga class. I don’t have a laptop to move around the house for doing online classes. I did one in front of my office computer and frankly, I am in front of that thing enough as it is. My friend Mary told me about the YouTube channel Fitness Blender. We can play that on the tv in the living room so all three of us started together last fall. The group energy was great and overcame decades of home workout inertia. Alas, husband and kid injured themselves, back and ankle, so it was just me. As a group we were watching a variety of videos but for the last two months I’ve been doing only one, the same one every day.

The Scientific 7 Minute Workout Video – Bodyweight Only Total Body Workout

It’s only Seven minutes! Even I can manage seven minutes a day. I have no idea why I prefer the repetition to novelty but I do. For the first 6 weeks of this routine I listened to podcasts while exercising to trick myself into the desired behavior like giving a small child a lollypop after a shot. It worked, I kept showing up. But I was aware that I was not very aware. I knew I wasn’t fully in my body.

This week I was finally ready for music. I hit play on my evening playlist. The first song was happily upbeat and quite pleasant but then a morose slow jam came on. Ugh!!! No! Stop high stepping and swipe next. It went on like this as a new item was added to the running mental to do list, make workout playlist. Yesterday I start it and get one song added. But at 8 am I can’t recall ten move your ass songs. Let’s see what Spotify has put together. That’s when this song came on:

From the second it started I already couldn’t wait to hear it again. Best life coach ever in the form of music. I was immediately dancing my way through the workout. I was doing every set at four times my usual speed and intensity. And I was loving it! I can hardly type out this post because I am so psyched to get back to it! It’s not just the music, he is talking straight to you. If you are alive I know you ain’t reached your best yet. He is laying it down! You got more! You can do more! You can see more! You can be more! Yes! Yes! I am feeling you Disclosure! Thank you!

So, here’s the wheel – if you want to push yourself while exercising and love every minute of it, listen to this song! I’m just gonna add a little Rage Against the Machine to balance out the sweetness and we should be a whole lot stronger in a few weeks! Pushups, get ready to finally go into the double digits!