How to Establish a Habit

I am a person who exercises.

I never thought I would say that sentence.

I remember when my daughter was little, my husband invited her to watch a college basketball game with him. She sat and watched for a little while, and then she asked, “If you go to college, do they MAKE you do that?”

That was me and exercise. It was something I had to be forced to do. I ran track in high school, but I never actually liked it. It was something I did so I’d look “well-rounded” on my college applications.

But about a year and a half ago, I started doing taekwondo. My daughter had started a few months earlier and she really liked it. I had to drive her, so I saw every workout and it actually looked fun.

I gave it a try and I liked it!

So I started doing taekwondo 3-4 times a week. I noticed that on the days when I worked out I felt much better. I had more energy and I was in a better mood. I also liked sparring against my teenage daughter. 🙂

So I stuck with it!

The downside is that I got injured a few times – and the last injury was to my wrist, which made it hard for me to work for a few months.

I also couldn’t do taekwondo while it was healing. And then when I was ready to come back, Jo was injured and I didn’t make the time to go on my own.

I thought I had built a good habit – I wanted to exercise regularly – but I wasn’t doing it.

Do you have something you wish you were doing that you just. . . aren’t?

Maybe you wish you read more, or cooked more, or quilted more – but you just never seem to make it a priority?

Read on.

I remembered this post that Abby Glassenberg wrote a long time ago, about how she made exercise a part of her life. Such good advice! She wrote it about exercise and I used it for exercise – but it applies to anything you want to make a habit.

Abby identified specific problems – the reasons she wasn’t running – and found a solution to each of them.

So I did the same thing.

I realized that I liked working out, but I didn’t especially love taekwondo. In fact, I didn’t love the precision needed, and memorizing the forms. My favorite classes were when we played games.

So I looked for a workout where I would be moving, but not in a specific way. No Zumba, where just as soon as I figure out what we’re doing, they change to something else. 😛

Dance. I wanted to dance.

Ok. When? And where?

I really didn’t like going to work out in the middle of the day. It meant showering twice and changing clothes what felt like a million times a day. Also, going to a set class run by someone else meant I needed to get there early to stow my gear, stretch and loosen up. And there was driving time there and back. It ended up being a big chunk of my day! It was worth it, but if I could get a workout with less transit time, that would be better.

I also didn’t like driving there and back. I’ve been trying to walk to as much as possible (bank, library, post office, grocery store, etc.) so I thought about trying to find something within walking distance of my house.

But I feel dorky when I work out. I’m not very coordinated. I like to dance, but I don’t want anyone to see me dance. 🙂 I could get over it (I did with taekwondo) but I knew I’d enjoy it more if I did it at home, by myself.

I tried a bunch of different dancy/workout classes on YouTube and finally settled on Body Groove. I liked it so much that I bought a full year of her on-demand service with TONS of different videos.

Now I don’t work out 3-4 times a week. I work out every single day! And I love it!

I roll out of bed in the morning before anyone else is up, throw on my workout clothes, and turn on the TV. I choose a workout and I dance for 30 minutes, until I’m sweating and breathing hard and tired – but also energized. I’ve also built some special 30 minute playlists so I can dance to my own music using the moves I’ve learned in the classes.

I’m healthier, my energy levels are great, I start my day in a good mood – and it’s all because I figured out a way to get past all the little reasons that were keeping me from doing a thing I actually wanted to do.

Use Abby’s method and figure out how to make time for the thing you actually want to do. 🙂

Maybe it’s stitching. 🙂

Happy stitching!




  1. Yay! This makes me so happy. And I can report that all these years later I’m still a person who exercises. It’s possible to establish new, healthy habits!

  2. I’ve seen some of the BodyGroove videos and they do look like a lot of fun. I agree with the dancing at home exercise. I did that a long time ago. Maybe I should get back into it.

  3. Linda Codey SAYS...

    I hate exercising but love moving to the music and I craft alot= sitting.
    I usually have a variety of music playing while I craft. So I decided that every time a fast song come on I have to stop crafting and move to the music. Obviously a lot of moving but I’m finding ways to stretch the dancing; for example while brushing my teeth, some cooking, while waiting for the microwave to keep or the water to go boil.

  4. Elizabeth SAYS...

    Well done! I needed this today. I had to take a break from exercise to get enough energy to get over being sick. But I’m better and still don’t want to get up. I know it’s good for me……..
    but your reminder is motivating me to do what needs doing. Thank you!

  5. Robin SAYS...

    I tried Body Groove and really liked the way she had you move. But didn’t like something else. (her language I think, but I can’t remember for sure) Then I found Your Daily Walk. I really enjoy Leslie Sansone and her walk exercises.

  6. DeeAnna SAYS...

    Oh my! Thank you so much for your post. I’ve spent the last 90 minutes reading all about Body Groove and exploring her fitness videos. My mom and I are going to give it a try. We both have rheumatoid arthritis and I think this will be gentle enough for us to try. xox

  7. Janis SAYS...

    I love Body Groove videos. I’m not as committed to it everyday, but I really enjoy dancing with her. Thanks for sharing your experience, it gives me more incentive to get up and dance.

    • I don’t do the Body Groove videos every day. Once I got the hang of a lot of the different moves she uses in her videos, I created some 30-minute playlists of my favorite songs – the ones that really make me want to dance – and a lot of days I dance to those instead. But I go back to hers 2-3 times a week just to keep reminding me of the different moves and combos.

  8. Anonymous SAYS...

    I have a degree in Recreation Management. I love to play, dance, swim, walk, etc. Not fond of working out.
    I do have a Fitbit and I try to walk 10, 000 steps a day. Not doing as much since it is cold. I don’t bother going to the health