When I was starting to run and really wanting to be a runner, one of the most motivating things was having a friend who was a runner. Just one friend. Of course, she was pretty much my only friend at the time (aside from Micah), and so she had a lot of influence on me. She was confident, quick-witted, talented. And she ran. I remember her telling me that she used to drive a route before she ran it, to see how many miles it was. When she mentioned one of her favorite routes was 6 miles, my jaw just about dropped off my face. I could hardly believe that this girl I sat next to in writing class could run 6 whole miles.
But the thing is, being around her, hearing her talk, knowing she made time to run, got me thinking, “Hey, we’re not so different. We both like to write. We both used to live in Provo — the same house, even! — we’re both newly married. Maybe I could run, too.” And so many times when I was huffing and puffing painfully through my two mile route, I would think, “If she can do it, so can I.”
Years later, on the other side of the country, I find myself surrounded by many friends who also run. Although I don’t often — or ever — run with them, they influence me to keep at it. I’ve heard their stories of running and racing and I am motivated by them. Being a runner means we always have something to talk about: races, training, running while pregnant, getting out with (or without) the kids, injuries, etc. and having that in common has widened my circle of friends greatly, which means I get to benefit from and be influenced by many of their other talents.
I know it is said that people who smoke hang around people who smoke. People who want to quit smoking do better if they hang around people who also want to quit smoking. People who want to be healthy do better if they surround themselves with others who want to be healthy. Just being around people who share your interests — or who already are what you only wish to be — creates a powerful synergy that can get you doing things you really wish you could do, but somehow can’t do by yourself.
If you want to be a runner, make friends with runners. Join a running group. Find a running buddy. Same goes for all those other hobbies/talents/goals you’ve been meaning to go after, but just haven’t yet.
Or maybe, try being that friend for someone else.