Habit Layering

Let me walk you through what the first ten minutes of my typical day looks like. After my alarm goes off and I roll out of bed, the first thing I do is stroll over to my coffee maker. I grab the hand grinder; dump the coffee beans in and start grinding them up into the perfect consistency (if you aren’t using freshly ground beans then you are missing out). I then add water, switch on my percolator and start the brewing process.


As the water heats up and starts making my perfect cup of Joe, I grab my dog’s leash and take him for a walk around the block. As we are walking, I have learned to think about two things. First, I think about the one thing that I want to accomplish at work that day if I couldn’t do anything else. This isn’t always a major thing. Sometimes it might be to schedule a new athlete for their first training session or write a blog post. Sometimes it could be a bigger task like collaborating with other coaches to develop the next several weeks of a training block. Doesn’t matter, the important thing for me is start pondering how I want to go about accomplishing this agenda.


The second thing I think about is what I want to focus on for my training session later. If it is a particularly heavy training day, I might focus on my heaviest, top end sets to get my mind right. I might envision myself lifting more weight than last time. Sometimes, I may remind myself to focus on certain coaching cues or tweaks that I want to make to an exercise or two. Again, these thoughts aren’t always major goals or strength numbers that I want to hit in the gym. It’s just something that I want to get done for that particular session.


My dog just turned one year old this week. That means for the better part of the last 365 mornings, I have spent the first ten minutes walking alone with him. When my wife and I first got him, it was not nearly as easy as I remembered growing up. We would have to take him outside every two hours in order to train him. The