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On determination and habit

Posted by Elizabeth Comeau  October 29, 2013 07:26 AM

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As I was standing on my porch this morning, my head vibrating like a chainsaw from the chill in my bones, I laughed to myself.

"What kind of a wackadoo gets up at 4 a.m., to run in the freezing cold wearing fleece-lined spandex and thinks it is fun?" I wondered.

Oh yes. This girl. This girl does.

I'm either determined, or crazy.

Or both.

But as I got to running, and my brain started to wake up, I began to think that, actually, it was a combination of things that allows me to think this exercise is fun: The most important?

Determination. And habit.

"LAME, Elizabeth. This post is LAME," you're shouting at your computer/cell phone.

Everyone knows you have to stick with it and you also have to WANT to stick with it. I'm preaching to the choir. I know, I know, I'm sounding like every other Pollyanna blogger out there.

But stick with me, here, kids. I swear I have a point.

During mile 1, I ticked off all the things determination is to me.

Determination is:

  • Deciding to not turn back or stop running despite all those warm-looking houses I'm running by and the smell of hot coffee that seems to fill the air

  • It's running 4 miles when you were only supposed to run 3

  • It is what keeps your brain from quitting before your legs or lungs do

  • It is, in my case, sheer, outright stubbornness

  • It is repeating to myself, buck up, it's JUST another mile as many times as it takes

Habit, on the other hand, is:

  • Setting the alarm so that I can wake up and run

  • Laying out my running clothes each night before I sleep

  • Something I've worked into my day, no matter how cold or early -- like brushing my teeth

  • Habit becomes programmed into the fiber of your life, worn in over time

  • Habit is running through the series of motions and routines that get me to the point where I'm standing on my porch wondering what the hell I'm doing going for a run when all the normal people are sleeping.

Determination makes me take the first stride.

Determination forces me to remember I want to live a long, long time and watch my little man grow up.

Determination reminds me that, in the dead of winter, all of these training miles are what is going to help propel me to cross the finish line in Boston.

All the determination in the world, however, doesn't mean diddly if you don't start the habit.

Just. Start.

It helps to be a touch crazy, too.

Staying fit is an important part of staying healthy. This blog will offer exercise tips from experts as well as share the personal journeys of Globe staff members committed to fitness. No matter your age or energy level, we invite you to join in and share your own story. How do you find time to work out? What are your daily challenges? Let us know and read along -- and together, we can all get moving.


Elizabeth Comeau is a social media marketing manager at She will be blogging about her personal fitness journey and using a device called a FitBit to track her weekly goals and progress (see below). Follow her journey and share your own. Read more about Elizabeth and this blog.

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