Habit Eats Intention For Breakfast

I hate productive people. So smug about how much they accomplish. So busy talking about how they can fit so much more into their so-busy, so-productive days.

And I just sit in front of my computer with a warm beverage thinking about how someday I’ll be just like them, conquering the world, but right now I just want to read one more article on Quora or Medium or watch one more cat video.

Just. One. More.

But, screw it, that’s them—it’s not me. The thing is, I really do want to accomplish things.

I have found that I feel better about myself when I can consistently accomplish more than just the baseline. The baseline being waking up, eating, and not killing myself or anyone else. So, yes, even a daily shower or brushing my teeth counts.

But shower & toothpaste have become so automatic, that I’ve needed something else.

And I wish that something else were writing, and I think it’s going to be, but for now that something else has been running.

110 days in a row of running.

Hey, look, now I’m the one bragging. You have my permission to close this tab immediately.

Ok, for the rest of you who are still here, let me get to the point.

The point is that it feels really good to have done something non-default for so many days in a row.

For me, I simply had to take most the requirements off it.
As long as I got my running shoes on and started running, it counted.
Now there have been a couple days that I just ended up running for a mile on the treadmill in my basement in nothing but my boxer-briefs; and my running shoes, of course.
And, yeah, most the time the runs are less than 2 miles.
Ok, so, maybe there have been a couple times when it was raining like crazy outside and I didn’t want to turn on the treadmill, and so I ran in-place as hard as I could (think Flashdance) for, like, 10 minutes. But that only happened twice, and I had my running shoes on and I worked up a sweat, which means they still count.
So…alright, I’m no Steve Prefontaine.
But I don’t need to be.
Because for 110 days I’ve gotten my ass out of bed and run.
Hell, it’s hard enough to just get out of bed, you know?

And you know what? Now I don’t want to start over. I actually missed a day after 55 days of consecutive running, and it sucked to start over. I don’t want that to happen again.

So, really, the motivation at this point is less about being selful and doing what’s healthy for me and it’s more about avoiding the pain that I’d feel if I broke the chain.

And when I’m actually running, I automatically start trying to run, well, fast. That just kind of kicks in. And I have consistently gotten faster. And it starts to feel good. I mean, knowing that I’ve done something not-easy for that many days really does feel good. The running itself kind of sucks. It also kind of rocks. It’s not for everybody.

But this isn’t about running. It’s about habit. And commitment. And how just one little habit you do every day can actually give you confidence to do other things. It becomes proof of something you’re doing for your self. It is one more pixel in the picture of a happy, confident you.

And it’s one more action that is happening based on your values; an action that your present self is doing as a favor to your future self. Something that your present self can look back on, during or after the run, and express gratitude to your past self for doing.

It’s really one big kindness to the person over which you have the most influence. Your self.