Building a habit: A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

When it comes to building a habit, consistency is self-reinforcing.

As I walked to the gym today, I noticed how important it was that I was simply going to the gym at all.

Because this is a habit I’m working to newly reestablish in my life, I want to make sure I create a solid routine of going to there on a regular basis. Not easy for someone who has excuses about a million other things she “should” be doing. (Sounds an awful lot like what I used to say about writing. Ahem.)

It dawned on me that in some ways it doesn’t matter how much I work out or what exactly I do for exercise — at least not at these beginning stages — as it does that I am there and exercising at all.

First get the habit in place

This is exactly the same principle we use in my Writer’s Circle.

We ask our newest writers to focus primarily on first building the habit of checking in regularly on the site and noticing what happened around their writing, whether they did it or not.

There such deep power and information in that noticing. It’s the power to refine, hone, and improve. To make something actually work.

This is true with all endeavors that generate resistance, like taking action to build your business, practicing your art everyday, prioritizing your personal growth work, making your spiritual practice a priority, etc.

Do it as early as you can

And very often, it involves making sure you do the hard, scary thing first, before you have a chance to think about it.

That’s why I write before I’m even fully awake, and before I do anything else.

That’s why I frogmarch myself to the gym directly after I take my son to school, because I know I won’t get there otherwise.

We have to be smarter than our extremely tricky, slippery selves that would rather go along with the same-old, same-old than try something new, grow, or rise into being all of who we are here to be.

Interestingly, building those habits makes overcoming the resistance in the long haul much, much easier.

And of course, it begins with a single step.


Your turn

Share your thoughts. I always love to hear from you.




Coming Attractions

~> May 1st to June 5th. My new Spotlight Study Group for sensitives, artists and hermit types who are ready to take their call to the spotlight more seriously and clear up the obstacles getting in their way.

> June 7th. Last day to register for the next 4-week session of my “Just Do The Writing” Accountability Circle. This is for writers who want help staying on track and consistent about doing their writing, day in and day out.


What I'm Up To

~> New! I’m now doing some mentoring work with Chris Soth through ScreenwritingU. We had our first meeting today, and it was outstanding.

~> Fall. Heading to Hollywood for a ScreenwritingU event to meet with producers and agents.

~> Sacred writing time. Early mornings and Fridays.

~> Just reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire to my boy. Now we’re starting in on The Incredibly Awesome Adventures of Puggie Liddell, Tesla Time, Book 1 by Karen Mueller Bryson.




  1. Nice. And so true.

  2. Hi Jenna,

    good advice for folks.

    The hardest step is the first one. That’s the one that almost never gets taken. Very easy to “talk oneself” out of doing new things.

    I’ve got the opposite problem. Am constantly doing new things and want to do more! G.

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