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I’m over a third of the way to a new habit, at nearly halfway as a matter of fact. For the past 11 days, I have gotten up and went walking/jogging. When I first started going, it was cold in the mornings. I wasn’t excited about getting up and getting out, and I didn’t really see the point in doing so. If you’ve ever seen the movie Fireproof, you can understand when I say I was just going through the motions like Kirk Cameron at the beginning of the Love Dare. The fact that I was making any effort at all was enough. I was really going just to plug in my headphones and listen to some music. All this work had better be recognized and appreciated.

As I lay in bed some mornings looking at my clock, I had a real struggle with myself to get out of the bed. It wasn’t because I was too tired–I’m usually up by 6:30 and I don’t go out until 7:30–it was because beginning things can really suck sometimes. I would literally have to list every reason why it was good for me to get out of the door:

  • It’s not like you are sleeping.
  • It’s not like you have something better to do (let alone that you’re actually going to do)
  • The sooner you go out, the sooner you can come back.
  • It’s good for your health
  • Don’t you want to look great again?
  • Aren’t you tired of not being able to run like you used to?
  • God gave you a body and you need to take care of it.
  • You paid good money that you could use right about now for those shoes.
  • Etc.

The worst thing about being out there was the cramping. I could walk all day, and if I jogged, after the initial discomfort, I would be fine. But as soon as I stopped, my calves would cramp so painfully, I’d want to collapse next to the garbage bins, grab my calves and scream “Why?!” like Nancy Kerrigan. The bottom of my feet, in the arch, would hurt so bad that I couldn’t even get through a sun salutation without wanting to cry. There’s just too much wait on my ankles, feet, and calves to be pounding repeatedly.

But what I’ve discovered as I embark on day 11 is that it all dissipates and changes the closer you get to making something a habit. I find I need a much shorter pep talk to get me out of the door, if any. I find that I can jog longer and don’t need as much rest in between jogs. I drank enough water for my insides to float and my legs didn’t cramp as much. I haven’t had any music the last three times I’ve been out. All of this is progress.

I’m only about halfway to a habit. A habit takes 21 days to create. I’m already seeing a little dedication and commitment pay off. If you’re trying to get rid of a bad habit, the best way is to create a good habit. I won’t tell you it will be easy. When I gave up caffeine, I had teeth gritting headaches that rival any migraine I’ve ever had, but the ability to have normal sleeping and waking patterns where I’m not dependent on caffeine to perk me up and too keyed up to go to sleep at a reasonable time is so worth it. Now, years later, I would probably have the shakes if I drank caffeine I’d be so keyed up. I don’t even miss it.

Yesterday’s sermon was entitled “You Can Do It.” We have a power in us that is limited only by our imagination. Even if I can’t run a 5K without walking now, I can get there and beyond there. It’s not impossible to overcome things if we just start doing them, consistently and faithfully, until it becomes a habit and not a have-to.

That’s my two cents, anyway. Leave yours in the comment section.