Since I started running in mid 2016, I’ve noticed changes. No, not washboard abs and a firm tush, but a jolt in self-esteem, pride, attitude, and determination. This bit from a recent story in Entrepreneur really rattled me (emphasis mine).

“If exercise stops, then my health goes downhill. With the loss of physical health my productivity at work goes down. I become depressed. I lose motivation to do the things that makes my business successful. I’ve learned firsthand that excellence in one area of my life promotes excellence in all other areas of my life. Exercise is the easiest area of my life to control. It’s easy to measure. Either I get it in, or I don’t. When I do, it lifts up all other areas of my life, including my business.”

Exercise is the easiest area of my life to control

Exercise is the easiest area of my life to control

Exercise is the easiest area of my life to control

This times infinity. Back in 2016 I was at a crossroads. Most of my meals came from a box or a take out container, and I was snacking all day long on cookies, candy, and ice cream. My attitude sucked, my outlook sucked, and I really didn’t know what I was going to do.

Thankfully a buddy told me that he was challenged at a 4th of July party. Someone bet him he couldn’t run an eight minute mile (turns out he couldn’t). I tried it, and ran a 13 minute mile, and then had problems walking down stairs for a week. But I kept at it because… it was something in my life that I could control.

I couldn’t control job openings, getting interviews, or getting hired by a cool tech company, but I could control this. When I ran, what I wore, how far, how fast… and I kept at it for weeks, then months, and now it’s been almost two and a half years of running. I’m running a half-marathon next month.

Every facet of my life has improved because of running. I still can’t control all that job stuff, but now I’m in a mentally better place to handle that – without eating a sleeve of Oreo cookies.