Developing a Habit

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” -Jim Ryun

Cross country and track were my sports in high school, but I would never have called myself a runner. During cross country, I was usually the last runner on the team to finish. During track, I ran the hurdles. I was better at the hurdles than distance. I continued to subscribe to Runner’s World magazine and read the articles with plans to run more often, but I did not run or exercise.

By 2003, I realized I needed to do something different in my life. I joined a local gym. Later, I talked my best friend into joining me for regular workouts. Occasionally I would use the treadmill. In February 2004, I completed my first competitive run since high school. It was a 4-mile run, which I completed in 52:14 (13:06/mile average). I probably walked more than I ran.

In my late 30’s I decided to pursue the dream of running a marathon. I was horribly out of shape and unable to run a full mile. When one of my co-workers told me he was running the Detroit Marathon in 2006, I decided I would complete it in 2007. For someone who did not run for distance, I knew this would take some work.

I searched marathon training and found I read everything I could about training and running. I bought new shoes, and I took the first step in training. I ran three days a week, and I cross-trained three days a week.Using his plans and a running partner (my best friend), I moved from being unable to run one mile to doing 8-10 miles before walking for a short spell. Eight weeks before my 40th birthday, I completed the Detroit Free Press International Marathon in 5:44:46.

My times for the 2007 Detroit Free Press International Marathon
My times for the 2007 Detroit Free Press International Marathon

I tell you this story not to show what a great runner I am, but how a change in my habits allowed me to complete a difficult task.

I had to create a habit of my training behaviors. I had to change the way I did things. I made a plan and I stuck to the plan. I was on the road or at the gym in the early morning. I did my long training runs on Sunday mornings-rain or shine. Additionally, I had a training partner for the long runs who held me accountable.

If I had not been putting in the work during the week, I would not have been able to be successful in my long runs. I would not have been able to complete the marathon in the required time (6:30:00).

While you may have the motivation to begin a task,as Jim Ryun stated, “Habit is what keeps you going.” You have to develop the habits if you want to accomplish a task. You have to have a commitment to the habit.You have to choose to put in the work every day.

Want to become more organized? Want to be more efficient? Want to complete more tasks? Investigate different systems. Choose a system. Utilize the system every day. Stay dedicated to employing the system.

Want to be a more proficient writer? Want to read more books? Schedule time for writing or reading. Keep the appointments like you would a doctor appointment.

The motivation to make your life better will get you started, but you have to be willing to make the commitment to make it a habit. You have to be willing to work at it every day.


Share your thoughts and comments below. I look forward to having a conversation about the developing a habit. Please share your successes, your failures, and your lessons learned about developing a habit. Share you thoughts about my blog entries and help me to reflect and learn by commenting below.


My Commitment – April Blog a Day Challenge

I have joined the #AprilBlogaday Challenge. The goal is to submit a blog entry every day in April. I will not promise each blog entry will be motivational, energetic, and thought-provoking. However, I will do my best to continue to reflect on my journey of learning and my areas of growth.