My New Project: Running

This morning I ran. It was horrible. But I’m going to do it again tomorrow. And the day after that. Etc. My hope is that eventually it will become easier. God willing, maybe I’ll even start to enjoy it. I know some people are like that. I never understood it. People talk about getting a “runner’s high,” but I mostly just feel like I’m dying.

I’m doing this in part because I just want to be a healthy human being. But my primary reason is that exercise supposedly helps you stave off the deterioration of your mental faculties. I don’t want to lose my mind when I hit 70, so I guess I should exercise. Best to make it a habit and start now.

This will also be a good test of the philosophy I have decided to live by. I suppose it’s not a philosophy, strictly speaking, so much as a practical rule-of-thumb. Here it is: If you want to improve, do something hard over and over and eventually it will become easy. This applies to waking up early, to reading difficult books, to playing a musical instrument, to writing (I’m doing this daily blog challenge, after all). From what I understand, it also applies to exercise. I certainly hope it does.

I’ve never been particularly committed to exercising. There have been times during which I’ve made it a weak priority to get in some physical activity on a regular basis, but I wasn’t motivated so much by health or exercise for its own sake as by merit badges or other requirements imposed upon me from without. Without these external motivators, I find it much harder to care about fitness. I think what I have to do is remind myself of the kind of person I want to be. Not just that I want to be fit, but that I don’t want to be a pathetic couch potato who doesn’t have the will power to exercise on a regular basis.

So by exercising, I’m also seeking to strengthen my will. With luck, that will help me to behave better in other circumstances, as well. I don’t want to have a weak body, but a weak will is even worse than a weak body. I’d rather be physically pathetic than morally pathetic. And being unable to make yourself do that which you know is right and good is morally pathetic.

I’ve always been an impatient person when it comes to self-improvement. I expect to be able to become better at things immediately. Thus, this will be difficult. I can sit down and read a bunch of books without much trouble and increase my store of knowledge on various topics, but building up physical endurance will be a necessarily gradual process, and I may not be able to see progress for a while. But a lot in life is like that. I need to be ready to work for the things I want for extended period of time without any apparent reward. So that’s what I’m hoping to get out of this, I guess.

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