My Starbucks Exercise Program

November 8th, 2012 // 6:16 pm @ eileenwebb

I’m now completed 40 consecutive days of daily exercise with a goal of 90 in a row.  It all started when I read the book, The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg and an article in Science News “Fighting Willpower’s Catch-22.”   I started thinking very differently about my own habits.  I decided that I wanted to create an exercise habit – partly for general health and partly because I had just purchased my ski pass for the season and wanted to enjoy skiing more.

Habits have a cue, a routine, and a reward.  So my normal cue is to get up and take a walk as the first thing in my day.  My reward – well, I live 0.6 miles from Starbucks, so it’s a tall decaf coffee with some 2% milk and 2 packets of sugar.  And usually a refill.  And sometimes a breakfast sandwich.   And much to my surprise, I enjoy the walk itself – being outdoors, the sunshine, the breeze, the feel of the pavement and dirt under my shoes and a space when I’m not doing something “productive” or feeling like I should.  And I’ve had some interesting conversations.  I think it as “My Starbucks Exercise Program.”

It is easier replace a habit with another habit than to make one completely disappear, because it’s much more difficult to eliminate the triggering cue from your life.   In the book, the author replaced a mid-afternoon snack habit with a mid afternoon get up and go talk with a friend habit.  My normal habit is to wake up, laze in bed for a while, then get up shower, dress and have breakfast.  So I cut short the laze in bed to do the walk. 

It needs repetition to stick.  Until I read the book, I never knew that one part of Alcoholics Anonymous is 90 meetings in 90 days.  That’s how I picked my goal of 90 consecutive days.

You need a backup plan because things happen.  Within a few weeks I started having 7 am meetings with one of my clients.  I’m self employed, in theory you have a lot of flexibility, in practice you take care of your customers.  So when I have an early meeting I plan to do my walk as soon as I’m done.  I have also made the quarter mile trip to the grocery story and even one day, an extensive walk through Costco.  I’m not proud of the Costco day, but that’s what I fit in that day and it was a rather long walk.

My experience has also proved that the Science News article about willpower was absolutely on target.  It said that willpower fluctuates during the day.  And if you use will power you will be less able to resist temptation later on.  It’s a whole lot easier for me to exercise first thing in the morning.  If I wait until later in the day, I have a much harder time doing it and tend to do a much shorter walk.  And sometimes I will spend as much time thinking about it (I should take a walk, I need to get work done first, I don’t want to exercise, what’s the minimum I need to do for it to “count”…) as it would take to just get up and do some kind of exercise.

Of course, I still have many days before I hit my 90 day mark, but I’m confident that I will get there. I’m already thinking about the next habit I want to tackle and it will probably be directly work related. And when I want to replace a bad habit or create a new one, I have the knowledge and experience I need to succeed.

Category : Blog

5 Comments → “My Starbucks Exercise Program”

  1. Anna

    6 years ago

    I like it Eileen! That is so true about will power. I never thought about it but if I don’t exercise in the morning, the chances it will happen later in the day are slim. It is just nice to read it!!! Maybe Paul and I can make it there this year.


  2. John Moran

    6 years ago


    Sounds like a great program – I want to hear how it progresses. I also do much better with my exercise program when I do it early in the day.


  3. Craig Meyer

    6 years ago

    A journey starts with a single step. A habit sticks with 60 or 90 Repeats (depending upon the book).

    You go girl, it becomes part of you and you’ll find alternative at least as creative of laps at COSTCO. And the Costco option or Home Depot works when the flakes fly.

    Enjoy the Pass and make more turns!


  4. carisse

    6 years ago

    Nice article – nice picture too. good luck with the next 45 days!


  5. Laurie Reeves

    6 years ago

    What a good lesson. Keep it up pretty girl. I have orders to walk 20 minutes a day from
    PA Well I have a lot of excuses- too numerous to name. My balance is off and has
    been. I use cane outside. Hoping to do better. Love, Laurie


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