Morning Running Thoughts

The thing about running (or jogging) is that, when you are getting ready to go do it, it doesn’t sound like fun. At least, not at 5:30 AM when you didn’t sleep so well and you know you won’t be able to go back to bed afterward.

So, today was another one of those days. I didn’t want to go. In fact, I was arguing with myself on the way to the running class I’ve signed up for. My inner negotiator was telling me I could do less. Today we were “time trialing” a 5K for baseline speed. I could tell you I know I am going to be in the slow category. I don’t need a “time trial” to tell you that. Every run/jog/waddle, I am faced with the trial of being slow. Being last. Being late. But, as I was told by the mentor today, and as he has told me before: “You’re already way ahead of everyone who stayed in bed this morning.”

I had to think on that. I’m ahead of all the people who slept in. All the people who said they’d start an exercise plan. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe next week. Maybe when they lost 20 lbs. I’m already ahead of the excuse-makers, the quitters, the when-I-get-around-tuits. It made me feel better. I’m ahead.

But most importantly, I’m ahead of who I was a few short years ago. The person who didn’t run. The person who was about 90 lbs heavier. Who could barely walk a few blocks without getting winded. I’m ahead of her, my former self.

And when I finished today, there was that familiar feeling of accomplishment. Of doing something good for me. Endorphin rush. Oftentimes I get an actual buzz from a good run. Today was no different. Even when it was hard to start. I’m ahead and I feel good.

If I were to tell my prior self that I went for a run today, she would probably blink a few times in disbelief. But I like to think she would be glad for me. And she would cheer me on. And we would both celebrate the fact that I’m ahead of where I used to be. And I’m going to keep on going. Because I can. And because it feels good, especially when I finish.

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The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

Have you had trouble achieving a long term goal? I have definitely dealt with setbacks in at least three of my longer term goals. I think it might come down to consistency. As in consistent actions adding up to long term results.

This book was first recommended to me in a group I attend related to mindset. The presenter discussed the idea of compound interest and related it to progress on our goals. She mentioned this book. I got myself a copy from the library.

I read my library copy fairly quickly — which is not typical when I am reading a non-fiction, self-help book. This may be an older book as far as some of the examples in it, but the concepts are timeless. I particularly appreciated the conversational style and the focus on small changes that add up to long term success and good health.

In fact, I liked the book so much I bought a few copies to read with my children.

Our weekly family book group is almost done with this book, and the lessons have been helpful. Even the 11 year old has learned a few things about consistent effort and how external things influence us.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I gave it a five star rating for the plain writing, ease of use, and practical tips and to-dos.

Recommended if you need a dose of motivation with some very practical steps for how to apply the advice.

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Dopamine Nation by Anna Lembke, MD

From GoodReads about Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence:

This book is about pleasure. It’s also about pain. Most important, it’s about how to find the delicate balance between the two, and why now more than ever finding balance is essential. We’re living in a time of unprecedented access to high-reward, high-dopamine stimuli: drugs, food, news, gambling, shopping, gaming, texting, sexting, Facebooking, Instagramming, YouTubing, tweeting… The increased numbers, variety, and potency is staggering. The smartphone is the modern-day hypodermic needle, delivering digital dopamine 24/7 for a wired generation. As such we’ve all become vulnerable to compulsive overconsumption.

How could anyone not want to read further?

What I liked most about this book was that it is accessible to the layperson and highly readable. If you like the super-sciency type book that goes on for days with hard-to-decipher examples, you may not like this book. It may be “too simple” for you.

I felt like it was a long conversation with someone who has expertise in the field, but who is a regular human being. (Dr. Lembke shows us her own weaknesses rather frequently in the book.) I found lots of interest in this book, and just enough science to back it up. I kept reading.

It even kept me away from obsessive social media scrolling…or maybe not? Note: this was a joke. But actually, it did make me rethink my online activities.

It was a good read. Recommended.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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On Libraries

“A library is a miracle. A place where you can learn just about anything, for free. A place where your mind can come alive.”

Josh Hanagarne,
The World’s Strongest Librarian:
A Memoir of Tourette’s, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family

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