At this point, it would be reasonable for you to wonder how a morning run ties into achieving one’s goals. How can jogging a few miles on a treadmill or around the neighborhood translate into becoming the next great lawyer, actor, or author? The answer is that it is a means to an end, the same way that a frame will eventually evolve into a fully constructed house. Going for a run is certainly not, in itself, the objective. However, it is a tool that will help you seize the day, providing a different viewpoint as you endure the little battles that will eventually become the big victories.
Here are five reasons that running every morning will improve your life:
1. Momentum: If you were to roll a ball down a hill, you would probably not be shocked to see it pick up speed as it made its way toward the bottom. This, my friends, is momentum. Not only does it increase the probability that the ball will reach the bottom of the hill, but it reduces the amount of time required for the ball to do so. Running in the morning is a great way to get your figurative ball rolling. As human beings, we feed off our accomplishments. Checking something off of a “to do” list provides us with a sense of satisfaction and purpose that motivates us to continue our pattern of success. Completing a workout while the rest of the neighborhood is waking up puts you one step ahead of the pack, providing you with a sense of momentum that will push you to another small accomplishment, followed by another, and another. This simple activity can springboard you to a more productive and worthwhile day.
2: Reflection: All things, whether good, bad, ugly, or beautiful, are a matter of perspective. While you may be upset that your iphone is broken, someone somewhere would give anything for a clean glass of drinking water. Maybe the AC unit stopped working on a hot summer night, making you feel uncomfortable while you watch TV in your living room. However, someone a few miles down the road sleeping on a sidewalk sure wouldn’t mind the inconvenience. These are examples of how subjective a “horrible day” truly is. This relativity in regard to happiness is something that I like to think about each morning. I reflect on everything I have and all the great people with whom I surround myself. I make a point to soak in the Boston skyline. It is something so familiar that I sometimes forget to admire its beauty. I think about my health, the food in my kitchen, and everything else that is so easily taken for granted. This time of reflection helps me put into perspective the events that will transpire throughout the day, helping me to better cope with the bad and relish in the good.
3. Foresight: Imagine the New England Patriots stepping onto the field Sunday without having ever put together a game plan. Just the thought seems laughable, as it would undoubtedly diminish any chance of victory. The same concept can be applied to our daily goals. Obtaining success becomes much easier when we have defined our objectives and created a plan for their execution. During my morning jog I always take a few minutes to think about five goals I have for the day. I am relaxed, my head is clear, and I am away from the social media and the buzzing of my cell phone. It is a perfect environment to think about the things that would make the day a success for me. Having these goals defined makes it easier to streamline what is important amidst the endless barrage of distractions that do not get me closer to the finish line. This results in a day that is much more productive and efficient, providing a greater sense of satisfaction when I close my eyes each night.
4. Competition: When you look at the most influential people who are living or have lived, whether they are politicians, entertainers, inventors, or anything else, they all seem to have something in common; they are constantly pushing themselves to be better. Competition is a fuel that ignites this desire to improve. It is a measuring stick that enables one to gauge progress and recognize opportunities for growth. While I consider my morning jog to be a means of enhancing my outlook on life and not necessarily a race, there are elements associated with it that serve as a reminder to what obtaining success truly requires. When another runner passes me on the street, I perceive it to be somewhat of a wake up call. It is a reminder that no matter how hard you work, someone is always working harder. There is always a higher level to reach and conquer. One of my crew coaches at Holy Cross would emphasize this point when we had been beaten into exhaustion at practice and had begun feeling sorry for ourselves. It really resonated with me, as I began to learn that having anything worthwhile comes with a price. So, while this friendly competition may inspire you to pick up the pace as you make your way down the home stretch, it should also serve as a reminder that anything you want in life should be pursued with all of your being, because there is always someone else out there willing to make the sacrifice.
5. Self Image: It is common knowledge that running or engaging in other forms of exercise will transform your physical appearance. What you do at the gym directly correlates to your reflection in the mirror. What is even more important though, is how you feel about yourself when you are disciplined and engage in a consistent, healthy lifestyle. You begin to see yourself as a go-getter, as someone who does that little extra to better ones self. I was recently watching a seminar by Anthony Robbins and he touched on this topic beautifully. He stated, “human beings will always follow through on who they believe they are.” I can’t emphasize enough how true that is. Take for example someone who quits smoking. If you quit, but inherently believe that you are a smoker, you probably will not be able to break your habit. Now in the context of our example, if you believe that you are someone who gets up early, stays fit, works hard, and pushes yourself, then that mentality will expand far beyond your morning run. It filters into all aspects of your life, as you work to stay consistent with the person you think you are. Everything you become associated with will retain this winning mentality and pave the way for future success.
And you thought running only resulted in burning a few calories….