How I Became a Person Who Runs

Deciding is the first step in making a change

It took me 47 years and a medical degree to learn that regular exercise was an important step to a happy life.

When I exercise I feel great. The dopamine and endorphins kick in. My stress goes down. My energy goes up. When I don’t exercise, I feel sluggish, unmotivated and struggle with my weight. So why is it a battle every day to do it?

My brain fights me. Inertia kicks in

My mind ventures to convince me it is easier to do nothing than to do something. I am the king of excuses. One evening after work I went to change into my running clothes. The thought in my head was “I can’t exercise today because I would have to change my shoes.” #badexcuse. In my mind, this was a perfectly rational reason why I should skip exercising. Other common excuses that pop into my mind are:

I just ate.”

It will be too late to eat when I am finished.”

I will do it tomorrow.”

I deserve a day off .”

I am too tired.”

My first step was simply deciding that “I was someone who runs.”

My wife bought me some running shoes for my birthday. I had not gone jogging in at least 15 years. They sat lonely in the closet untouched for a few months. In January 2019, I heard a podcast that discussed the running app Couch to 5K, and it intrigued me.

That night I opened the app, put on the shoes, and went out to run. I decided I was a person who runs. Period. No more inner monologue debates. No excuses. It was decided. Now, eleven months later I am training for a half marathon.

Self Improvement changes in my life come from these moments

I just decide “this is what I am going to do.” Once the decision is made then there is no more thinking about it. No more deciding. It is over. Done. When I find myself saying things like “I need to lose weight” or “I should eat better” then I fail in the long run.

The reason I fail is that I have not committed or internalized the decision. I have not truly decided. My coworkers and I discussed this idea one day. Later that week some visitors brought donuts. I overheard my teammate decline the snacks by saying “ I am not someone who eats donuts.” Turning down the delicious delicacy was easy for someone who does not eat donuts.

New challenges

Now that I am a person who runs I no longer think about whether or not I will exercise today. My Mindset has changed. That debate is over. Now I ask myself how far can I go?

Thank you to Live Your Life on Purpose for publishing this article on Medium.

By Dr. Jeff Livingston

Dr. Jeff Livingston - MacArthur OB/GYN in Irving