I have a new favorite quote.

Being a word person, I of course appreciate the magic of a well turned phrase. But beyond the perfectly arranged sentence, there are those phrases that hit you at just the right time in your life, and you take them to your heart and keep them there to use as nutrition for your soul. Then your life changes, or you change, and another quote comes along and replaces it because you can't live on one inspiration your whole life.

Here is my new mantra:

The miracle isn't that I finished.
The miracle is that I had the courage to start.

I heard this yesterday on television, while watching the Chicago Marathon. An amateur runner used this to describe how is able to run. You see, this man wasn't the conventional marathoner - he was a large man. And he used to be much larger. A few years ago, he'd gotten the usual bad news that comes to the morbidly obese, and decided to do something about it. (I identified with that too, I'll admit. Life is short, but I'm trying to not make it shorter with bad choices.) Along with a trainer, he took up running, and now this man, who by any standards is still obese, runs in marathons. Amazing.

Unfortunately, I did not catch the name of the man being profiled, but I did catch the quote, which I suspected wasn't original to him. I was right. The original smith of that perfect little "each journey begins with one step" phrase was John Bingham, a couch potato turned fitness and motivational guy. I haven't had a chance to poke around his website yet, but judging from the front page, he's a guy who understands that inertia can a seductive little bitch.

And that's why I love this quote. It sums up how hard it is to ignore all those little voices that stop you from doing whatever is it that you want to accomplish that you've never accomplished before. It is easier to not write. It is easier to not pay attention to what I'm eating. It is easier to stay at the computer than go out for a walk. Because doing what I'm doing is no risk, I know the results. Taking the first step, having the courage to commit to begin, not knowing if I'll succeed? That's what really takes courage.

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