When I decided to quit smoking, I knew I needed to replace my addiction with a good habit of action. It had to be something that would make me feel good, strong and healthy.
I chose running. In order to become a runner, I needed to run daily. I had to change. I needed to establish a habit of taking action. I couldn't just think or talk about running. I had to run.
That winter, there was a brand new indoor track at the university I was attending. Every morning, before leaving home, I would pack my gym bag and run in between my classes.
The first day, I couldn’t even get half way through one lap. It didn’t matter, my mind was made up. I had a goal of increasing my mileage by one mile per month. I would run every day no matter what.
I ran day after day, week after week and month after month. I discovered that I loved running. I never skipped a run.
There was a road race in a town nearby the following May. It was there that I ran my first 10K. I finished in last place. It didn’t matter. Running and I were having mad love affair.
Soon after, Hubs quit smoking and began running too. Then, we began entering our daughters in the fun runs. Over the years, we took our running shoes with us on vacation. Hubs and I ran together in different cities; in various states.
I never quit running.
I signed up for a half marathon in Santa Barbara this November. It’s hot in Arizona. Real hot. It means I’ll have to run very early in the morning in order to beat the heat.
Some mornings it’s difficult to get started. It doesn’t matter.
A long time ago, a friend told me that the greatest distance is from where I put on my shoes on, to the door. It’s so true. Any obstacle in my way is only in my mind. I still love running.
In the video below I give you the short version of creating an action habit. You can also read the longer version below.
How to create your own action habit for anything you want to achieve:
Create enthusiasm. Wake up and smell the day. I have a playlist of my favorite upbeat music. I mix up my running routes. I soak up the sun.
Make a commitment; do your most important thing. Do it first. Don’t quit until you finish. If I really need to push myself, I’ll sleep in my running clothes. You have to be willing to do what it takes. When I feel unmotivated, I sign up for a run. My entrance fee is my commitment.
Just get started. Running a short distance is better than not running at all. Take a 10 minute break and pick up where you left off.
Don’t be hard on yourself. The world doesn’t end if you miss a day or two. However, it is important to get right back on track.
Be prepared. I have my running shoes and water bottle ready to go the night before. I know what I need to do. I need to take action; I need to run.
It’s been twenty five years since I quit smoking and I’m still running. It’s like breathing, it works for me.
What life-long habit of action have you created? What habit would you like to create? Please share with us below.
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