I set my alarm for 5:15 AM as I glanced over at my dresser to make sure that I had everything that I needed in the morning.  

Check! It was all there.  

My pants, socks, sports bra, long-sleeve shirt and quarter-zip pullover were neatly folded waiting to be put on for my morning run. I crawled into bed a bit earlier than normal, pulling the covers up and checking the alarm just one more time.  

I had a running date.   

A friend had been inquiring on Facebook to see if anyone was interested in joining her on morning runs a few days per week. The distance, pace, and frequency aligned with what I was looking for and so with that, I sent a message. “I’m in.” 

Resuming a running plan has been on my list of things that I’ve been motivated to do since last winter. When I think about running, I feel excitement and pride thinking about waking up in the morning and going for a quick and easy 3-mile run. I can envision it. I can feel it. But the reality is, I’m not doing it.  

Being motivated to do something and committed to doing it are two very different sides of the same coin. For me to be a regular runner, I have to be committed to doing the work that will allow me to reach that goal. What I have learned in my in own life and in coaching others is that… 

You have to have discipline. You have to be willing to embrace the discomfort that comes with making changes. And you need to show up for yourself and have integrity around what you’re doing.  

This is true for any health goal that we have. Simply wanting it isn’t enough to make it happen.  

Discipline looks like creating a plan and sticking with it. Whether you are creating a meal plan, aiming to exercise, or carving time out for self-care, it’s about making sure that it happens. You may need to eliminate or reduce distractions in your life by cutting back on internet or TV time. Perhaps you need to wake up earlier (and/or go to bed earlier) so that you have time to pack a healthy lunch. It could be writing out an evening meal plan and creating a grocery list AND cooking the food that you need to make it work. Yes, there are some sacrifices that we must make but, in the end, you’re gaining health and that is worth everything. You’ll never regret giving up an hour of TV at night for the potential years and quality you could be adding to your life. And here’s the best news yet…what initially takes discipline and focus may become something that you love with mastery and ease.  

Being comfortable means no change. We love predictably and the known. Well, most of us do. There is comfort in knowing what is going to happen and when. There’s also comfort found under a warm blanket while drinking coffee in the morning that you are NOT going to find outside when it’s 30 degrees and you’re out on your morning walk. You’re not always going to be comfortable telling your family that you won’t be bringing your famous cheesy potatoes to your grandma’s 80th birthday potluck but would rather bring roasted root vegetables. And when your coworker is trying to entice you with a mocha cocoa turtle frappuccino drizzled with caramel and topped with whipped cream because Mike is retiring, saying no may not feel comfortable…at first. Again, with practice and a growing connection to healthful living, over time, these things become your norm. You expect them of yourself and others will too.  

Living with integrity means more energy and positive gain in all areas of your life. Imagine what would happen in your life (and for those around you) if you always did what you know to do. Whether that means healthier eating choices, increased physical activity, being a great listener, making a meal for a friend in need, always putting your cart in the corral, calling your mom or sister, or sending your best friend a birthday card – greatness begets greatness. I can promise you that if you live with integrity, your life will change for the better. It is inevitable.  

As 2018 is in the last quarter of the year, consider NOT waiting for 2019 to be your best year yet. Start now. Do the things. Because if not now, when?