Writing Made Simple | How to Develop New and Healthier Habits in 2019
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How to Develop New and Healthier Habits in 2019

How to Develop New and Healthier Habits in 2019

The new year is just around the corner (at least that’s when we wrote this article, but this information will help you any time) and with that comes the desire to do better and be better. Mike Peshler from Athletic Strength Training and I hope you enjoy this article. Read ALL the way to the bottom because we also have a powerful FREE resource that will help you push through resistance (and yes, when you decide to make changes resistance will come but we got you covered). Enjoy! 


Helping people to adopt the habit of writing and working out – a parallel piece, how both habits have more in common than people think…


Catherine’s take:


What if people tried to become experts at something before fully understanding their subject matter or developing a realistic goal?  For example, working out has always been something I could never get excited about. It’s not laziness cause I love long distance walks, hiking, kayaking, and anything outdoors really. I do know regular exercise has great benefits for the mind and the body. I have tried joining the gym several times.  Actually, joining was never the problem; attending was.


This time I am determined to see this thing through.  The older I get the more I see my body changing but my goals to remain active and the ability to push myself are not. Also, I am very competitive and now this has become a personal challenge.


I have done much harder things than developing the habit of working out. I made the decision early in life to not conform to the status quo (which is how I knew that marrying someone or staying on my island was not going to work).  I have never believed in communal thinking and nothing or no one was going to change my mind about that. I have ALWAYS had my own opinions; shoot, I have opinions about having opinions. I needed to move to a place where individualism, and having wild crazy curls and lean limbs were good things. I was always destined to live in The States, but I digress.


I learned English as an adult, adapted to frigid temperatures (I moved to Boston in mid-nineties when single digit days were the norm), I cut all my hair off (yes, it was after a bad breakup. Give me a break I was nineteen years old!). I survived life after divorce (divorce is the one thing that should kill you but does not), and I worked with a chef for 6-months and learned to eat and make ALL kinds of delicious food (before this I was a VERY picky eater). I gave up beef (once my one true love), chicken and pork and began to eat veggie burgers and love them. ME! I talked myself into eating veggies. It was a mental game for me. Now I love them and cook them all the time. I learned how to finally finish books (after three-and-a-half years I’m on book number twenty right now). I quit my six-figure corporate job in order to further pursue my entrepreneurial dream. How is it possible, that after accomplishing ALL of that I cannot talk myself into working out? I know the benefits; I have the time and the drive, and yet, the barrier is still there.


I have decided to look at working out from the perspective of someone that wants to learn how to write. This is how my collaboration with Mike Peshler from Athletic Strength Training was born. If I could help him see himself as a writer-get inside his head and ask the right questions to unlock his inner Shakespeare; and if he could get in my head to help unleash my inner athlete-together we could help lots of people adopt healthy habits as well. Does that make sense? The more we talked about writing this article together the more we noticed the similarities in the work we do. We are both poster children of the very things others want to accomplish but can’t. Could we together figure out the formula we used to become experts in our respective fields? We decided to find out.


I do many things as an entrepreneur but at the end of the day what I do is teach people how to write (create content) and tell their stories. Writing has been my passion since I was a young girl growing up in the Caribbean. I just knew I would be a writer when I grew up. Never mind that the dream got delayed by my family’s move to the States. Learning a new language as an adult required determination and the complete isolation and almost elimination (at least for the time being) of my native tongue, Spanish. I am still fluent when I speak but my written fluidity is not what it used to be.  That was the only way I knew how to accelerate my learning process so I could start taking college classes as soon as possible. I accomplished this goal my first year in Boston.


I thought my writing career was never going to happen for me. But I was wrong, it had just been delayed…for twenty years. The good news is that because of that LONG wait I had better content for my books (I always say the best stories come from heartache, loss, and pain). Are you curious to know how I wrote ALL them books in such a short period of time? Keep on reading cause a promised I will tell you.


There are seven steps I took to get me to where I wanted to go. I will break them out below:


  1. The Why
  2. Make The Commitment
  3. Write the Vision/get a Picture – EXAMPLE
  4. Write a Schedule and Put in on Your Calendar
  5. Get The Right Type of Accountability  
  6. Set a Reward
  7. Celebrate Celebrate Celebrate 



1. The Why


Why do I want to accomplish the goal(s)? It has to be more than just because. Why? Because when you feel like quitting (and you will) you will remember your why and won’t quit.


My why was simple. I knew I was a writer and that in writing I would find the real me. The me that was trapped behind my quiet whispers and polite smiles. The powerful me that while shaking would one day make her dream of speaking on the TEDx platform a reality. (See my 2016 talk here).


I knew somehow that writing would unleash my voice, boldness, superpowers and the confidence that was once stolen from me. So no, quitting was NOT an option. I NEEDED to meet that Catherine. She was fierce, courageous, wise, funny, and the catalyst for others to find their voice and eventually herself. So whenever the fear of, “What if I am not good enough”, came to plague me I quieted it with my reasons of being, with my desires of freeing others that like me had been quiet for far too long.

BEFORE you try to write, workout or develop that awesome habit, think, really think about your why. Make it a powerful one so when fear comes (and it will come) you can smack it into next Tuesday!


2. Make The Commitment

Commitment is not flitting which is why it cannot be entered into lightly. You better know what you are saying yes to. You probably have seen this quote before, “If it’s not a heck yeah, it’s a heck no.” I wish I had known about that quote before I said yes when I was 24-years old; before I knew who I was or what I was saying yes to. Commitment is knowing it WILL be hard, but the end result, the finish line is SO worth it that you don’t care what it will take because the reward SO outweighs the late nights, the rejection, fights, the bullying; it is ALL worth the struggle in reaching your destination…


3. Write the Vision/Get a picture – EXAMPLE

Visualization is a strong way to put yourself in the shoes of what you want to become – actually already are.

What do you actually want to accomplish? You must know EXACTLY what you want, otherwise, you won’t know how to get there.

I am a visual learner and thus I have had two pictures with me, one is older than the other. I cannot even give credit to the picture of the girl running up some steps (she must be a model I saw on a magazine over 10-years ago. I keep the cutout on the door of my refrigerator and no matter how often or how many times I have moved the picture comes with me). The other picture is of an amazing psychoanalyst I met at a conference who happens to have written quite a few books himself. I found the picture in one of his social media accounts and have kept it on my favorites folder ever since.


4. Write a Schedule


My first coach told me something back in January of 2012 and I never forgot it: “Nothing gets done without a budget or a deadline.”


If you want to accomplish something you MUST make room for it in your life. What days and times work for you and what time can you dedicate to your new habit?


It is NOT enough to say when you want to do it.  You must have also heard, “If it’s not on your calendar it does not exist.” Choose any electronic calendar (unless you are totally old school – ain’t nothing wrong with that). I personally use the Google calendar to create several reminders. Starting out I would set the following reminders: a day before, 2-3 hours before, an hour before and 15-minutes before the activity. That might seem excessive to you but you gotta do what you gotta do in order to accomplish your goal and developing the new habit.


5. Get The Right Type of Accountability 


This is one of the MOST important steps, if not the most important thing you could ever do when wanting to develop a new habit. When I FINALLY sought help to finish my first book I had already wasted 20-years of my life.  Wasting more time was NOT an option. I reached out to a coach to help me. The BEST coach I knew. I needed help to finish writing the book. I listened to EVERYTHING he told me to do. I did not make excuses or suggestions. I listened, did the work and finished the book. I KNEW I needed help getting to the finish line. After that, I knew I could get there on my own again and again.


Your accountability partner should be someone that is ALREADY a pro at the thing you are trying to master. You might as well get advice from someone that has made ALL the mistakes you do not want to make. Look through your social media, ask friends and soon you will have your very own accountability partner.


Once you have the right accountability partner ask him/her the following questions:


“What does it look like? What do you eat? What do you listen to? Who do you read?  What do you watch? What are your habits? What would you tell your younger self? What would you do differently knowing what you know now? What do you see in me? How can I improve my natural abilities/gifts? What does your working space look like? What tools/resources do you recommend? How much access to you can I have? Who else should I follow? What did I forget to ask you?” More than likely this type of accountability partner will not be free BUT you better believe your results will be AMAZING. Investing in yourself is the best investment you could ever make. I have invested over $100,000 dollars on myself and something tells me I am not even close to being done.


Do not ask someone to become your accountability partner if they are also struggling to do what you want to do. Find an expert, someone you can relate to and is willing to see you through. When I am teaching people how to write I am supportive, I provide the resources and tools but I also have a wooden ruler I am not afraid to threaten with (I can sound pretty scary, and don’t catch me wearing my pearls because that’s when I get REALLY scary). You need an accountability partner that has been where you are so they can walk you through the process and know when to push and when to retreat.


6.  Set a Reward


It does not have to be something big or expensive.  You can decide to take yourself to your favorite restaurant when you finish writing your book, buy a new laptop or go to UnderArmour to get the cute little number you saw online.


Whatever it might be, pick something that will help you look forward to accomplishing the goal. Do NOT cheat and get it ahead of time. Integrity with yourself is key, that’s why I do my best to keep my promises to myself. How can I expect others to respect me if I don’t respect myself?

7. Celebrate Celebrate Celebrate


Celebrating has always been my favorite, after all, I am an island girl. Growing up I always looked forward to December 31st. My dad would set up a little fireworks show in our street. Ever since then I think Fireworks are the PERFECT way to celebrate EVERYTHING; that must be why I love the 4th of July so much.  Seriously, it is imperative to celebrate one’s accomplishments. The brain reacts loves rewards (you can read more about studies were done in both rats and humans on the Olds, James, Milner, Peter research on rewards and the brain here). Reward yourself for ALL your hard work.


There you have it, that’s how I became the writer, content creator and storyteller I am today. And you know what I just realized?  I have not followed ALL the above steps when it comes to working out. How ironic is that? I’ve never seen all my workout setbacks as I do now.  Looking back I can see where I fell short.


I cannot wait to compare notes with Mike and see how I can enrich or improve my new habit-forming formula. I also have lots of questions for him as he is my fitness coach and accountability partner 🙂


I wholeheartedly believe that people can develop new habits and can also learn to do it without wasting money, time or confidence in themselves.



Mike’s Take

What do I do for a living?  I have a gym and I put people through workouts.  But is it really as simple as that?

When I mention what I do I am not just talking about my clients; it’s what I do too.  There is a reason why I chose to start a gym. There is a reason why exercising is important to me. When my clients see how important it is to me, it becomes just as important to them.  What I feel from my training is what I want them to feel.

With the outside eye looking in you may see this logo of a muscular, arms crossed, bald, badass-looking dude with the words Athletic Strength Training underneath.  You may get an intimidating vibe.  You probably picture the stereotypical meathead gym.  Heavy metal music blasting through the speakers so loud you cannot think.  Huge muscular men sizing you up and down, pitying of your weak and overweight existence.

Shoot, maybe you didn’t even get to the logo.  Maybe just the idea of lifting weights, working out and sweating is a complete turn-off for you.  If all of these assumptions are in your head already then clearly that is the way I am and that is what I do at Athletic Strength Training, right?

So, in a nutshell, my gym is for superficial meatheads that only care about muscles and their egos…RIGHT????

But what if I told you none of that represents me or the people that come to Athletic Strength Training.  For us, it is so much deeper than appearance.  Looking good does not even hit my personal top 5 reasons for training, and I know it is not for my clients either.

Something pretty amazing happens when you focus on your fitness.  In fact, I do not even like using the word fitness because it is an understatement of what really happens on this journey.

I do not train for fitness…I train for life.  I train to be an involved and energetic dad.  I train in case of an emergency.  I train to not be sick all the time.  I train to keep myself in a good mood and fight anxiety.  I train to keep a magnetic personality and a great sense of humor.  Those are the real reasons why I train.

My love of sports is the reason why I stepped into a weight room.  But that is not the only reason.  I also wanted to be physically bigger and stronger.  Most of those reasons were fueled by my insecurities.  I thought my outside appearance would erase any self-doubt.  The thing is I had no real reason to believe that I needed to change my appearance to be more confident.  I was taller than almost everyone and already naturally pretty strong.  I am sure plenty of the kids I grew up with would have loved to have my physical attributes.  But try telling that to my inner dialogue back then. I grew up in northern New Jersey. There were plenty of tough guys and attitudes.  I believed that everyone else had “IT” but not me.  

As you are probably gathering, I was super shy and reserved with little to no confidence.  I always seemed to be missing out on something.  Whether it was dating the girl I wanted or simply observing life instead of living life.  From high school through college the amount of missed opportunities I had with girls was embarrassing.  I had the sense that girls liked me but I really did not believe it.  “Why would she like me, I’m not as cool as the last guy she dated.”  Over and over again I’d develop a crush on a girl but never make the move. During this time, I would notice how some guys were able to have one steady girl whom they dated. Not me.  I did not have a steady girlfriend throughout high school or college.  Any “action” I did get was initiated by the female. I was that kid in the corner that would sit there quietly and not speak until spoken to.  Never in a million years would I imagine people paying me for my services.

Have I changed?  You bet I have!

Now when I think about training and what it has done for me I realize it is the most important thing in my life.  That may seem shallow to you since I have son’s, family and friends in my life. But the reality is, the better mental and physical shape I am in, the better I am as a person.  There is no doubt about it.

I have more energy.  I am happier.  I am funnier (true story, my buddies can testify to that).  How I present myself to the world is better when I am in shape, eat well and put myself through tough training.  The superficial – yes I am human too, I don’t mind seeing women appreciate whatever they appreciate – that stuff is a cool by-product. Of course, I like it, but what’s most important to me is being the best version of myself I can be.

I have a memory that I will never forget for which I have nothing to thank but the physical condition in which I had gotten myself.  It was an early spring day and the weather was absolutely perfect. I was playing with my sons in the backyard.   Ben, my oldest son, and I decided to try and keep a soccer ball up for 10 strikes in a row.  Between the two of us I think we had at that time 3 years of soccer experience so you could imagine how much of a challenge this would be for us.  What started as a quick game for fun ended up being an hour-long bonding experience with my son.  For that hour I did not check my phone once.  I did not worry about any bills or e-mail that needed my attention.  I was 100% present with my son laughing, playing, being challenged by the task at hand and taking my mind off of everything else completely.  I knew that we were at it for a while but an hour flew by and I was surprised that I was able to keep up the running, jumping, falling and kicking for that long and not tell my son I needed a break.  When I felt like I needed a break he needed more than a break…he was done!  

This was the key. I do not just want to be in the same place as my sons. I want to play with my sons.  I do not want to get frustrated because my son took my attention away from scrolling down a timeline of other people living their so-called lives.  I want to be frustrated that I messed up on the 9th strike and we have to start all over.

Once my why’s for training became more meaningful and I was to have moments like that with my son it was much easier to stay on top of my training.  When I am tired and do not feel like doing my warm-ups I think about not being able to do physical activities with my sons.  I think about getting sick or not being happy.  Once I realize what is at stake and who is counting on me I stop thinking selfishly and get to work.


So what about YOU???  Why do you go to the gym?  Do you even attempt to work out?  If not, why don’t you?  I think what most people underestimate or do not think about is how selfish it is of them to not take care of their health.  Think about the other people in your life and how their life would be affected if you were no longer with them.

They are probably worried about you being depressed or having a heart attack.  The mood and the energy you bring into a room is not only felt by you but by everyone else in that room.  If people do not look happy to see you maybe it is because of what you are bringing to the table.  They are probably tired of hearing you moan, groan and complain about how bad you have it.

But this is not how you have to live.  Your current situation is not your permanent situation.  I want you to tell yourself that, A LOT.  I need you to believe that you can make a change.  If you lose hope recognize it and reset your thoughts; positive self-talk only. Most of my life I thought I would be a mush-mouthed, quiet weirdo that could never hold a conversation with someone new – male or female – for the rest of my life.  I really believed that I was cursed and destined to continue to miss out and thought that nothing great would ever happen to me.

Now I walk into a room with confidence and my head held high.  I used to wait to be the last person in the group to walk through the doors.  That way I would not be the center of attention and no one would judge me as I creepily looked around the room to see if anyone was doing just that.  NOW I walk in with pep in my step!  Do people look at me and judge? Of course they do, but guess what? I do not care anymore and it feels amazing.

If I can figure out how to improve my inner thoughts that help me produce a happier and more confident self, TRUST ME, you can do it too.

I want you to visualize yourself walking into a specific scene in your life that terrifies you.  A place that makes your palms sweat, throat dry up and heartbeat through your chest.  Now imagine yourself walking into that exact location with zero anxiety, swagger in your step and a smile on your face.  That right there is you. Can you see it?? I can. It’s the version of you that is dying to be unleashed.  That version is inside of you doing push-ups and waiting to be unleashed on the world. That version of you is waiting to help you turn your deepest desires into reality.

Picture it again.  You’re wearing that extra slim fitting suit that you were dreading to wear.  The difference now is it shows the definition of a man that has power, focus and commitment.  You put it on and you immediately know you look good and so will everyone else.  But you are not purposely bringing attention to yourself; you do not have to.  And look at that…that cute girl over there noticed you so much so that she lost focus on her current conversation. What is going on here?? That is different, isn’t it?  What is even crazier is that you walk right over and introduce yourself.  You did not overthink or worry about what you were going to say because you now know that you are worth talking to.  You are now so comfortable in your own skin you ask yourself, “who wouldn’t want to have a conversation with me??” It feels amazing, doesn’t it?

Your inner transformation will not only improve your love life it will also spill over into your business or career.  How do I know?  Because that is what it did for me. I am connecting with people I never thought I would because when I reach out people respond.  Not just because I have muscles and look the part but because I now speak and project confidence.  I am no longer hoping they like what I have to offer or like me.  I am not begging for attention I command attention. Rejection is not a fear of mine anymore. I am who I am if they like me great and if they do not like me…. See ya later.  I’m cool either way.

So, I need you to immediately stop thinking about exercise and superficial goals.  Immediately stop associating the gym with punishment and pain. Begin seeing it as the catalyst for a change.

I want you to simplify it. Stop thinking about a six-pack and the perfect ass (not that there is anything wrong with that).  Think about feeling more than just okay. Think about oozing confidence, a healthier you, and being there for your family.  When you are focused on that I guarantee you will feel sexier than you could have ever dreamed of before.

I have been through all of the pain you are going through. I know exactly how you feel.  The whole reason I got into the fitness business was to help people avoid the regrets I felt in life and athletics.  I have been helping people get better in many aspects of life for over 8 years now.  I have done it before and I will continue to do it until the day I die.  As the years go by I get better. I am always looking to evolve. My mistakes, my downfalls, and my prior self-doubt let’s me know exactly what you need and how to get it.


If you lost your mojo I can help you get it back.  If you never had mojo (neither did I haha) I can get you closer and closer to that person you thought you could never be.  This is my passion.  I want to help as many people as possible. Once I help you think about all of the people around you that will be affected.  A lot of people have lost hope and given up on finding happiness, and it makes me sick.  This is not the way it has to be so I am done talking about it. Let me show you.  There is absolutely nothing to lose.

The fear of the risk cannot be greater than the fear of staying exactly where you are.  I know you do not want to live like that and I do not want you to live like that either.


There you have it, two different perspectives but pure gold if you asked me. You now have AMAZING tools to face the new year like a boss.


No, I did not forget, I promised you at the beginning of the article that Mike and I had another FREE resource for you: How to DESTROY Resistance once and for ALL. All you have to do to receive the amazing video interview is provide your name and best email address below: 



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