Build a habit by working on little victories

Guys, I’ve had a really good week this week.

And the week’s not even over.

Sometimes you have bad weeks, training-wise, and sometimes you have good weeks. I feel like I’ve had a lot of bad weeks lately. Just pounding out what I had scheduled was hard. Carving out the time to run was hard. And running alone takes a lot of mental stamina. And I’ve been slowly gaining, not losing, weight.

But I pumped that 18-miler out before work on Monday and I felt golden. No way a year ago I could have ran an 18-miler and then been a functional human being for the rest of the day. And it’s the little victories like that that keep you going.

It was two years ago tomorrow that I decided, on a whim, that I was going to start running. Because something had to change. Because I was bored. Because I was tired of feeling sad about how I looked.

I started listening to The Power of Habit this week. It’s one of the better audio books I’ve heard this summer.

The problem with audio books is that I can’t re-open the book and reference the awesome parts that really spoke to me in this blog. But there are many. I’m about half-way done, and many of its arguments things I’ve heard before, but it’s still totally worth the time.

One area that Duhigg covers is that there are such things as keystone habits — small changes that you make in one area that domino other changes. For me, that was running. Before I had tried to focus on my diet to lose weight and not exercise, and I never made progress. Sometimes I would make a little progress, but then I would feel hungry and deserving and slip back into my old ways.

Running was the habit that helped me lose the weight that I had tried my whole adult life to lose.

By developing a habit where I would go out, every day, and exercise for 30 minutes a day, I was able to develop better eating habits and work habits. And blog habits. :) Before I started running, I had never maintained a blog (that wasn’t a personal diary) as long as I maintained this one.

Instead of feeling overwhelmed by everything I needed to do to lose weight and get healthy, I just focused on doing the next step on my Couch to 5K plan. And every day that I got out there and did what I had to do that day — that was a little victory. And I just kept building on those little victories.

First it was a 5K.

Then it was a 10-miler.

Then it was a half-marathon.

Then it was a marathon. And another.

Then it was two marathons in two weeks.

Two years ago, I couldn’t have run a quarter of a mile continuously. And on Monday, I ran 18 miles, walked to work, worked an 8-hour day and walked home.

Little victories add up to big victories, over time. :)

 

 

 

Pattie Reaves

About Pattie Reaves

I'm the User Experience and Audience Manager for the Bangor Daily News. I live in Bangor with my husband, Tony, and our two pugs, Georgia and Scoop.