Want To Be Happy? Start Running!
New Years, is a time of fresh beginnings. A time to reboot our lives and set new goals. January is fun because it is full of excitement and anticipation for what the New Year may bring. When I had a YMCA membership, I despised January. The gym and pool was packed full of people with resolutions to get in shape and maybe lose a few pounds. Those folks were chasing a dream or a destination that most would never reach.
In my circle of friends, no matter where I go, I usually get pegged as the “runner”. Several times a year, and often around January, I will have friends or acquaintances approach me about helping them develop a running plan or to get some advice on how to prepare for a particular race. It’s fun to see the excitement in their eyes and curiosity in their questions as they figure out how to make running a lifestyle that will help them meet their goals.
Sadly, few rarely reach their goals and their commitment to running fades as they move on with their lives. I find the primary reason that most don’t follow through with their running plans and for any “New Year’s Resolution” for that matter, is because they set their goals for the wrong reasons.
We set resolutions to meet an end. To reach a desirable destination that appeals to us. We want to pay off debt, we want to lose 10 lbs, or we want to land a better job, but this is the wrong approach. When people talk to me about my running, they miss the point of why I even run in the first place. They ask me, “What are you training for?” or “When is your next race?” I don’t run to race or compete. I don’t run to keep my weight down, although that is a nice byproduct of running. I run to discipline my flesh.
When I put on my running shoes and head out the door on a cold wintery morning, I do it not because I’m training for a race. I do it because I’m training for life. When I deny my flesh and develop a habit of discipline, like running, in spite of my human emotions, then I program my mind, body and soul to live based on principles and good habits. Ultimately, my running lifestyle leads me down a path of happiness, because there is true joy in the realization that I tamed my flesh and got my run done for the day, in spite of everything else.
When life gets tough and the world tests your mettle, it’s your discipline and habits you formed that will kick in. If you’ve trained your body the right way, you will respond and tackle that life event with positive results. If you have a history of giving up, not following through, and quitting when things get tough, then don’t be surprised when you fail to respond to that life challenge that knocks you on your butt.
Developing a regular running habit can be a positive and uplifting experience, but it’s important to approach it with the right frame of mind and an understanding with what running can truly give you. Put on your running shoes and get out there on a trail tomorrow. Do it in spite of yourself and your situation. Feel the joy in your heart when you finish a run, even though you really were not in the mood to run that day. Learn to discipline your body on the trails in your hometown and you will soon feel the joys of winning on the trails of life. I’m a lifelong runner; therefore, I’m a lifelong winner. How about you?