Enjoy the habit

Does the person who rises several times a week at 5 a.m. to run for an hour, even if it’s raining or snowing, actually enjoy doing it?

Maybe some particularly good runners do (I’ve run thousands of miles in my life and I’ve personally never experienced the mythical runner’s high). But I think what they’re really enjoying is the habit.

Most of those runners would admit that, sure, it would feel a lot better to stay in that cozy bed than it does to stumble out of it, don their running gear, and head out the door into the cold early morning. But they’ve made it a habit. And the habit is where the enjoyment lies.

They enjoy the feeling of accomplishment. They enjoy the freedom throughout the day of knowing that they’ve already gotten their workout in. They enjoy the pride that comes with knowing they made a healthy choice, once again, and resisted the lure of the snooze button.

There are a lot of things they enjoy more than the run itself. But they’ve trained themselves to enjoy the habit.

Most healthy, positive, productive habits start as choices. We can make the choice to care more about understanding someone else’s point of view than we do about proving that we’re right. We can make the choice to be the kind of person who shows up early and can always be counted on to come through. We can make the choice to do a little more than was asked of us, or to be generous, kind, thoughtful, forgiving, etc.

Students, you may be spending a significant portion of your high school days doing things that aren’t your choice. But if you don’t enjoy them, maybe you could decide how you’d behave differently if you did enjoy them. And then make the choice to behave differently. Do it over and over again and it’s likely to become a (good) habit.

You may not enjoy everything you’re doing. But you just might enjoy the feeling that comes with making a good habit out of it.