My name is Jakk Gerard, and I’ve been to the gym every single day for more than 1,100 days in a row.
On the surface of it, sure, that level of consistency and dedication may seem like an impossible feat: impractical, unrealistic, over the top.
I promise you, it’s not.
That said, before I began this process, I definitely would’ve argued otherwise. At that point in my life, I felt unaccomplished. I certainly lacked discipline, and I didn’t have the first idea how to go about getting started.
That’s not to say that I lacked ambition. What I did lack was consistency and dedication.
How did I go from being someone who’d only been to the gym a handful of times to someone who has now gone every day for over 10 percent of their life?
It has a lot less to do with six packs and protein shakes than you might think.
It’s about developing resilience.
Over the course of this journey, I’ve learned a few lessons to develop the mindset that helped me change. I learned to turn “one day” into “day one” and to continue to make progress indefinitely, one day at a time.
Before we get into the details, it’s essential that I tell you this: No matter how skeptical you are, achieving your goals is possible.
You are a force to be reckoned with when you learn how to channel your energy correctly. This is how you develop resilience.
Here’s the good news. The hardest part is simply starting.
Trust me, I understand how difficult it is to start. There was a time when I couldn’t even step out of bed in the morning for months, let alone take steps toward my goals.
I genuinely began this process at rock bottom. I wasn’t stumbling but dragging myself off the starting line.
My father had suddenly passed away, my ex had left me a few months after his funeral, I’d had a cancer scare, and I had just tried to take my life.
The important lesson in all of this is that it doesn’t matter where you start, just that you start at all.
When I look back over this journey, the most important day was not my original target of day 90, nor was it day 365 or even day 1,000. It was and forever will be day one.
Day one is ugly. Day one is a heavy lift. Like a rocket ship taking flight and fighting against the force of gravity, the most energy will always be expended at the start.
But every time you try, it’ll take a little less effort to travel faster and farther than before. Just get started and aim for progress over perfection, because perfection is the enemy of action.
Help is out there
If you or someone you know is in crisis and considering suicide or self-harm, please seek support:
- Call 911 or your local emergency services number.
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
- Text HOME to the Crisis Textline at 741741.
- Not in the United States? Find a helpline in your country with Befrienders Worldwide.
While you wait for help to arrive, stay with them and remove any weapons or substances that can cause harm.
If you’re not in the same place, stay on the phone with them until help arrives.
While everything life throws at us may not be our fault, we can choose to step up to the plate.
When I was at my lowest, I developed a principle called “the victor, the victim, or the villain.”
In any given situation, I imagined a character I could play: someone who was courageous, someone who gave up, or someone who was hateful. It put me in the driver’s seat of my destiny and allowed me to realize that I always had a choice.
Life can never back us into a corner if we have the power to choose.
That’s not to say that we won’t suffer, that bad things won’t happen, or that real circumstances won’t limit us. Though difficult circumstances are inevitable, we can create purpose out of those circumstances.
I took all the negative energy I was experiencing and as hard as it was, chose to channel it into something positive. In doing so, I knew it would yield even greater rewards.
I began to choose the path of most resistance, quite literally taking the stairs when I didn’t have to. I tried to think about the person I wanted to be. What would that person do? Then I did it.
You are the hero in your own story. Your life is yours and yours alone.
You can choose to use both the good and the bad things that happen to you as fuel to become who you want to be.
It doesn’t matter where you start, just that you start at all.
There are many days when I don’t want to train: when it’s inconvenient, when I’m injured, on holiday, or generally just having an awful day. We all have those moments.
What stops me from giving in is my why.
My life’s purpose is decided, not discovered. If you adhere to the first two principles, you’ll recognize how powerful you are because of your choices.
By understanding that you can choose to be the victor in any given situation, you’ll see that you ultimately determine your destiny. Make your why so big that the how becomes insignificant.
Your why will give you that extra 1 percent when you need it most. Your why will help you appreciate the boring, mundane activities like putting in 1 more hour of practice or choosing an early bedtime over an all-nighter.
Those activities can teach you the necessary lessons that will help you step closer toward who you want to be.
I define my success by internal rather than external factors. For instance, my goal in going to the gym isn’t to achieve a certain weight. My goal in going to the gym is simply to go.
People often stop trying after giving 90 percent for 3 weeks without seeing any results. Their momentum and motivation is anchored to the scale, their bank balance, their job title, or whatever external factors may be pushing them forward. This impacts their emotions and then their actions.
By keeping your effort-and-reward feedback loop internal, your momentum will build and compound every time you take action.
This is one of the greatest hacks for creating real change.
In making the reward the action itself, you create a simple formula to be inspired to take more action. If you aim to stay consistent, momentum will work in your favor.
When you make simply showing up the goal, however that may look, you anchor yourself to a result that you have control over.
Above all, be kind to yourself — sometimes showing up just means recognizing that you’re trying, and that’s enough.
One of the most challenging parts of this journey has been to actively try and remain in a state of discomfort. Yep, you heard that right.
It’s easy for us to accomplish something beyond ourselves and then rest on our laurels, but the moment we slow down or stand still we begin losing.
As I approached day 1,000, I asked family, friends, and my social followers what I should do to mark the occasion. Most people joked that I should take a day off and rest. Some said I had made my point, and in many ways I agreed.
A thousand consecutive days of anything is a big statement. Resting would have been a completely acceptable and deserved thing to do. But I didn’t want to lose all the momentum I had built.
Instead of resting, I decided to raise the bar.
I committed to cycling 100,000 meters and doing 10,000 reps, lifting a total of 100 tons across 10 different exercises all on day 1,000. This was all with the goal to raise money to help frontline workers battling COVID-19.
The challenge took me 17 hours to complete. It was grueling, it was disgusting, but it was worth it.
Of course, this is an extreme example. Challenging ourselves doesn’t always have to be so dramatic. Like I said before, starting is half the battle. You can find small, realistic ways to step out of your comfort zone and set yourself up for success.
It’s also important to be smart and safe.
It can be hard to know where the line between our real and perceived limits lies. It’s important to respect your true limitations by slowly stretching your edge.
Burnout and injury are real. If you stay sensitive to what your body is telling you and err on the side of caution, you can prevent burnout or injury while still giving yourself the room to grow.
If you know you can squat 200 pounds but you suddenly go for 250, you’re tempting an injury. Building up over the course of 6 months is much safer and more responsible.
If you’re not just sore but in pain, limping, or have difficulty moving around the day after your workout, you’re probably pushing too hard.
Slowly and humbly keep stretching the edge of where you think your limits lie. You may just find those limits were imagined.
Slowly keep stretching the edge of where you think your limits lie. You may just find those limits were imagined.
When I decided to make going to the gym every day my goal, I never looked back.
I have intentionally scheduled long-haul flights with layovers just to train in an airport gym.
I’ve trained responsibly when injured by focusing on muscle groups that wouldn’t affect my injury. I’ve trained on Christmas, birthdays — and the list goes on.
It isn’t wrong to take breaks during these times. In fact, sometimes it’s appropriate and responsible. I kept going because I knew it was safe, healthy, and appropriate for me.
For me, it’s about singular focus, keeping my mind and intentions set on my goal. When I first thought I may not be able to go to the gym during lockdown, I built a gym in my house.
I was that committed to staying consistent.
Even when the way we live life itself gets turned on its head, we can remain focused. Often, life getting turned on its head is reason to stay focused. It helps us summon the inner strength to pull through.
People often ask me what my end goal is. When will I stop? Will I even stop at all?
To be honest, those are questions I can’t answer. The goal is always just to go to the gym today.
I use that commitment as a vehicle to help me become who I need to be to fulfill my purpose. There is no real destination, only a direction: forward, upward, onward.
The reality is that the potential that life holds stretches far beyond what we can imagine. There’s no reason to use our limited imaginations to hold ourselves back.
This is the danger of setting destinations, because there really is no such thing in life. I firmly believe if I had adhered to my original goal of going to the gym every day for 90 days and stopped there, you wouldn’t be reading these words now.
I didn’t make 90 days the end of my road. It became the beginning. I left room for options, for my future self to decide the best course forward. I set milestones, not limits.
I realize my 90- and then 1,000-day gym attendance was an incredibly arbitrary goal. The reality is that this process has actually had little to do with going to the gym every day.
It has everything to do with trying every day, refusing to quit, and ensuring that I am better than I was the day before.
If you decide to dedicate yourself to a craft or a goal every day for 90 days, it will change your perspective on the world. You will realize how simple it is and how much easier it is to reach your goals than you think.
You may not feel like those goals are possible today, and maybe they aren’t. Perhaps for the person you are tomorrow, they will be.
That’s why you are powerful. Your destiny is not defined by your circumstances — your destiny is defined and determined by your choices about your circumstances.
In short, turn “one day” into “day one” and move forward one day at a time. Every day is another opportunity to reach that goal.
Jakk Gerard has been to the gym every day for more than 1,100 days in a row. He shares how you can achieve consistency, set up your life, and hack your habits in such a way that success becomes inevitable. Follow him on Instagram.