Words of Wellness

August 11, 2011 | The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner

"Consistency and Persistency"

Consistency and Persistency


     Most wellness experts believe that it takes a minimum of thirty days to establish a new habit.  Once a person makes a proactive change and does so every day for thirty days, there is a good chance the new habit will become integrated into his or her daily life.   Based on this information, I would say there is a pretty good chance my high school friend, John Chandler, is going to stay with his daily habit of running.  This is because John has not just been running every day for the last thirty days--he has in fact been running every day for the last thirty years!  John has run every day since August 9, 1981, (for reference sake that is two weeks after Diana Spencer married Prince Charles) covering more than 60,000 miles over 10,950 consecutive days.  


     We recorded John as a guest on our Living Compass Radio Show this week and so we had the chance to interview him regarding this remarkable accomplishment, which of course he is continuing every day. He talked to us about the life lessons he has learned along the way.  What he shared can be summed up in two words:  consistency and persistency.  (This show will air this Sunday and be available by podcast Sunday afternoon at www.LivingCompass.org)  


     John gave a couple of great analogies of how it is only through regular, disciplined commitment that good things happen.  In his work as a financial planner, John said he teaches the lessons of consistency and persistency everyday to his clients.  He asks rhetorically, “How much good would it do to save for retirement by putting money aside from only one paycheck every couple of years?”  Saving for retirement requires consistent and persistent savings over a long period of time.  John also talked about being a parent and how if a parent wishes to instill the love of reading in his/her child, they need to read to the child every night, not just every once in a while. 

I would add that this is true in our relationships as well.  Being loving and honest every once in a while won't build a loving and honest relationship.


     Another lesson that John has learned along the way is just how important the support of friends is in a person's life.  He regularly runs with friends, either very early in the morning before work, or over his lunch hour during the week day.  He shared that on many days it was his commitment to run with a friend that kept him disciplined and committed that day.  “After all,” he said, “if I committed to meet my friend at the corner at 5:30 AM, I wouldn't think of not showing up and leaving him to run by himself.”  Again, this is true in our relationships as well.  We need each other to cheer us on and keep us accountable.


     John's running streak is so extraordinary that we may find it hard to relate to in our own lives.  But remember for John, there is nothing extraordinary about his streak--it has become quite ordinary for him, one day at a time he just makes sure he goes running.  While we may never relate to that in terms of running every day, we all know ordinary people who do extraordinary things everyday.  We know people who serve as a caretaker for a love one--a spouse, a child, a friend or a parent--day in and day out, some for thirty years.  We know people who demonstrate extraordinary courage in living with a chronic disease day in and day out.  We know people who serve our country and our community in daily acts of selfless service, people who also make the extraordinary look ordinary.  We know people with extraordinary spiritual lives who pray and serve others on a daily basis.   And we know people who faithfully live out their committed love to their family and friends, day after day, year after year.  We all know these people, and we strive to be these people.


     When I asked my friend John if he thought his running streak was extraordinary, he said, “No, it's just who I am”.  I believe that if you asked the people I just listed above the same question, they would give the same response.  And that's the true gift when we commit to practicing good habits day in and day out.  Over time, through consistency and persistency, these good habits become more than what we do--they become who we are.  

    If you would like to see John in action, visit http://www.fox6now.com/sports/witi-20110711-wfb-running-streaks,0,659007.story    to watch a video clip from our local news station about John's thirty year running streak.  You can also contact John directly via email at:  john.chandler@axa-advisors.com  


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