Today I reached 100.
100 days of consecutive running.
During this streak I learned four lessons about healthy habits.
Turn disappointment towards joy
I used as motivation the disappointment I felt last September when I was unable to register for the Boston Marathon. (Read more here. )
My disappointment was the initial start to my running streak, but I knew that such motivation could only take me so far. I knew that I had to have an interior attitude of joy and thanksgiving towards running and NOT simply a “I should do this” attitude. Almost anyone can start a healthy habit or discipline; it is staying the course when the mind/body/spirit begins to resist the habit for a variety of reasons: “I am too busy with work” or “I don’t feel like running today” or “The weather outside is too cold.”
Focus on joy of the habit
For me, running has been a source of joy, especially when I am dealing with stress or disappointment. I enjoy the movement through space (especially if it is outdoors along a scenic trail) or the camaraderie I experience running with friends. I know that not all runs will be filled with joy or endorphins, but many will be. I need to lace up my shoes and start running to discover if it will happen.
Keep the habit simple and flexible
My running streak did not require me to run huge miles every day. I needed to do at least a mile, but once I got started I usually did more. I averaged 4.1 miles per day.
I also kept it flexible. I originally thought I would do all my running outdoors, but in early December we had some nasty ice and cold so I joined a local gym and did my running on a treadmill. It was not my first choice, but I prefer to be safe and steady. I still go outdoors when the weather permits.
The joy flows into other areas.
I have discovered that my best time to run is early in the morning. Then afterwards, I allow the joy to flow into my time of prayer and meditation. I have created a small holy space in my home where I have my Bible and devotional reading so that I can easily shift gears and focus my mind on my life of faith in Christ. I am learning to be silent and still, listening for God’s still quiet voice (I Kings 19:12).
I recognize that someday this running streak will end, but for now it has been a healthy habit that bring joy to my body/mind/spirit.
What habit brings you joy?
Lord Jesus, guide me into habits that honor you.