Smallness: The Bridge Between the Success and Failure of a New Habit

This post was inspired by the WordPress Daily Prompt: Bridge.

I recently read a brilliant article by Bell Beth Cooper about how to form and foster the growth of new habits called “How I became a morning person, read more books, and learned a language in a year.”  For me, forming the new habit of walking with my husband in the morning has been a mix of success and failure this week. I think between Saturday last week and Saturday, today, we walked a total of three times. The first day we walked four miles in the drizzling rain. Yes, I was determined, and Alex was graciously putting up with my determination. The first working weekday that we tried to walk we woke up late, so Alex suggested that we walk to the edge of our yard and back. Which we did, and it was very refreshing. The second working day that we tried to walk early in the morning it was a lot colder outside than we had anticipated, and feeling improperly dressed we turned back after getting a few minutes down the road.

Starting too Big

Last Saturday, before our four mile adventure, I found a free online walking resource about how to use walking as a means of exercise and weight loss, complete with various training plans. Mentally, I selected the “walking a half marathon” training plan and thought we were all set to go! (Aside from starting too big, my other failure was not communicating this grand plan to my husband who was now, in my mind, my exercise companion. After all, we had at some point, perhaps months ago, talked about how it would be great to wake up earlier and go for walks). So my walking habit started not just as the desire for a new habit but as a means of using walking as a form of exercise.

Starting with Too Many Habits?

I quickly realized that if we wanted to make time to walk 45-60 minutes on weekdays when we had to get to work on time then we needed to adjust what time we wake up in the morning, and if we were to do that we also needed to adjust what time we need to go to bed at night. So in the course of one week in order to form the habit of walking in the morning as exercise we needed to stop staying up late, become morning persons, and invest in winter exercise clothes!?!

Smallness: The Bridge Between Success and Failure

As I sipped my morning coffee perusing my e-mails this morning, one of my favorite bloggers sent out her weekly list of links that she loves, and one of the links was about forming the habit of reading more books, and this article had a link to Cooper’s article about fostering new habit growth through small steps. Which made me realize that Alex’s idea to walk to the edge of our yard and back that one morning when we overslept is where we need to start every day to really make walking a daily habit in our lives. How else does one cross a difficult bridge, in this case, the bridge of forming better life habits, but one small step at a time?

via Daily Prompt: Bridge


Walking: the habit that will remedy your unused gym membership.

Today I decided to start a new habit: walking. I think and I talk a lot about things that I would like to do and habits that I would like to form. I have to do lists scattered across our apartment: they are on our refrigerator, on scrap paper, on new, cool note pads from the art supply store, in journals, and on free list making web applications. I enjoy list making and find it satisfying to check things off. I’m guilty of completing tasks and then adding them to my lists just so that I can check them off.

Much to my shame, one item that is always on my lists and very little fulfilled is exercising. I like reading about exercising and living a healthy lifestyle but I find it very difficult to actually apply what I read.

I talk a lot about wanting to exercise more. I start, and then I stop. I bought a gym membership this summer very close to my job, but then I changed careers and now the gym is far away and inconvenient. Start. Stop. I have also started a handful of home exercise video programs multiple times. Start. Stop. Before our wedding we bought kettle bells, hand weights, and stretch bands, but we’ve only used them a few times since then. Again. Start. Stop.

This month this blog is dedicated to the exercise start-stoppers. This month this blog is dedicated to people with gym memberships they don’t use, or people who find that a gym membership is out of their budget. This month my new habits are walking and cross training with free forms of exercise like push ups and planks.