Four days. That’s what it takes to “jump-start” things, according to my new BFF Martha. According to most psychology-type people, it takes 21 days of repetition for an act to become habit. In Martha’s world, that’s five linked wins plus one day.

So the exercise in Chapter 2 is to create a four-day win (FDW). She breaks it down to five simple steps so even if, like me, you tend to be a bit hardheaded, you’re setting yourself up for success.

“Step 1: Pick a Goal”

My daily goal is to walk 30 minutes. Seems fairly simple, and yet, a bit of a stretch for me, since I’m so damn fat that I clearly can’t follow specific instructions.

Wait. What was Chapter 1? Oh yeah, open up to hope. Right. Hope springs eternal and I have to be nice to my body because I wouldn’t treat anyone else like this.

OK. Walk 30 minutes. Check.

“Step 2: Play halvesies until your goal is ridiculously easy to attain.”

Using my goal, that would be 15 minutes, 7.5 minutes, 3.525 minutes, etc. I’d actually like to see results before I’m 50, so…

Ridiculously easy daily goal? 15 minutes. Check.

“Step 3: Identify a Reward.”

Here she talks about a daily reward. Not the “big picture”, like weight loss or lower blood pressure or anything, but immediately gratifying, pleasurable things.

Daily reward? Long hot bath with my favorite book and no child or canine interruptions. Check.

“Step 4: Identify a 4-Day Reward.”

This should be a slightly larger reward. In my case, trying to be somewhat frugal means I don’t buy pretty things like personalized stationery.

4-Day Reward? Some personalized stationery from my fave online store, English Tea Paperie. Check.

“Step 5: Make sure the action and the reward are linked.”

Basically, this means, if you accomplish the goal, you MUST give yourself the reward and vice versa. No cheating, no excuses.

For me this means that since I walked 15 minutes (actually 25!) today, I get a nice hot bath tonight! Check!