Rule #5 Continued: The Marathon Wall

So for the zero people reading this blog you probably noticed my last few posts were late in the day, and not my best work. I think it has finally happened. I rarely get this far in a commitment but I've hit the marathon wall. Ask any marathon runner and they will be able to describe to you exactly what I'm talking about (for the record I am not a marathon runner, I just know a guy). Somewhere between mile 16 and 20 the runner inevitably hits a wall where they just don't know if they can keep going. Their breathing becomes more labored, lifting their feet becomes more difficult, and the last 5-10 miles just don't seem worth it. It's different for every runner how they respond to it and if they actually recover but I've heard that if you push through that wall for 1-2 miles (10-24 min) you come out on the other side fully restored in your stamina and your resolve. Sometimes this means playing some music, sometimes this means listening to the cheering fans, sometimes it means reminding yourself of why you are there. But break through that wall it's a cake walk to the finish line. Of course lets not romanticize this too much. Some runners hit the wall and have to use shear will to cross the finish line. That's 10 miles of I hate myself, why am I doing this, my feet feel like lead. The process of building or breaking a habit is a marathon in it's nature and follows a similar pattern. Lets explore that pattern.

  1. Desire. I want to... Everyone does this. It's called dreaming. Nothing wrong with it. It's a good way to evaluate yourself and your passions. Run a marathon, quite smoking, start blogging.
  2. Decide. I'm going to... This is still in the dreaming phase but it's now moved from want to genuine intention. This is the most volatile part of the process. Sign up for a class, join a program, deploy a website.
  3. Start. For some the most difficult part, for some the easiest. Either way this separates the dreamers from the doers. Run a mile, attend the first meeting, write a blog post.
  4. Fail. This is where most people quite. They hit their first problem, a runner may trip, a smoker may smoke, a blogger may forget, or simply neglect to blog. The most important thing here is to cut your losses get up and get going.
  5. Hit a wall. You have done so well. You are 60-80% done with your commitment. You have passed the half-way point to your goal. Now you hate yourself, you hate the activity, you're not sure why you started in the first place. This is the make or break point. You dreamed, you decided, you started, you overcame, now you have to commit. Runner hits the 16 mile mark, smoker is past the chemical dependency but still wants the warm tingly feeling out of nostalgia, blogger just isn't feeling it because nobody is reading it anyway and it's not as glamorous as he thought it would be.
  6. Win. That's right their is nothing between you and that wall but victory. The best part of the process. The easiest way to overcome the wall is to look at the next way-point. The marathoners crosses the finish line, the smoker has been clean for 1 year and can wipe the stain from his life insurance (and from between his fingers), the blogger can take a break from his blogging and set up a looser schedule like week days only or 3 Monday, Wednesday, Friday. 

I hit a wall a couple days ago. I didn't want to write the blog post. Not out of nihilistic annoyance, or even laziness (I got lots of other work done), I just didn't want to. It took me a couple days to recognize it but in this 40 day adventure I've hit the wall. Which means I'm almost done. Victory is in site. Run to win [1 Cor 9:24]