Some have already broken their 2023 resolutions. And if you have already given up on the resolution “I’ll go running regularly in 2023”, our columnist will help you get back on track today.

Admit it: Have you given up again? They wanted to get up an hour earlier in the morning, they had made up their mind to go for a run. At least three times a week. And? Did it work out? Are you still in the game? Or did the sleep devil win and you just stayed in bed that extra hour?

From overweight chain smoker to marathon runner – a success story

You just turned off the alarm. Of course, you felt bad immediately, but you just couldn’t do anything about it. I can reassure you: That’s no reason for a bad conscience. That’s how it is for so many. I know that feeling of failure too. I must have failed a hundred times. And how I hated myself for it. That wretched inner bastard that has defeated me so many times. Who didn’t want me to change anything. Who kept making excuses for me. And I found all the excuses somehow very plausible.

I’ve been looking for answers for a long time. And one thing was always at the center of my thoughts: Why can’t I just keep at it? Why am I otherwise so strong in many areas, but so damn weak when it comes to my health? There followed a long list of tricks I tried to implement. Anything just to get into regular running. I set the alarm even earlier. Tried self-reward. According to the motto: If you manage to run three times a week for a month, you treat yourself to a great visit to a restaurant. I allowed myself that, but without having reached the goal.

The “trick” of having a friend pick me up also failed miserably. Shortly before the joint running meeting, I canceled for cheap reasons. I felt how miserable that feels when the reverse happened to me once. A willful victim made an appointment to run with me in Berlin. I was supposed to ring at 6 in the morning. You have to be at work on time. My alarm clock rang at 5 a.m., I managed to get over my weaker self, walked three kilometers to her, and stood outside the door for 15 minutes. I eventually lost count of how many times I rang the bell. I was simply canceled again, let alone opened. That was the time when I was still looking for sustainable, regular running happiness. And in front of that closed door, a daring, crazy idea came to me.

So while I was doing my round through Berlin alone, the anger that I had been transferred slowly went away. I didn’t like Berlin. So not at all, so my bad mood lasted a little longer. I had a lot of appointments that day. On this alone I was supposed to sign four contracts. I actually needed a clear head for that. Basically, I’m a person for whom routine is important. Routines give me structure and security, they are my inner guidelines. This is probably the case for the majority of Germans. And then this thought came to me: If I need routines, if they help me and do me good, why don’t I sign a fifth contract today? And one between the routine and me!? Explicitly between me and the running routine. Could this be the key? To finally get into the pots?

I stick to contracts. It’s been like that forever. I’ve never broken one. And so I signed this contract that same day, in writing. Basically a fairly simple document on the status: You run every day. Either before work, during lunch break, or in the evening, right after work. In the event of a breach of contract, a contractual penalty of EUR 100,000 is due, payable immediately. I put my signature on this piece of paper that I had on my bedside table for a long time.

Mike Kleiß has been doing sports since he was a child. “Those who exercise achieve more” is his motto in life. Running was always his favorite topic. For seven years he has been running between 15 and 20 kilometers almost every day, often in marathons and sometimes in ultra marathons. So far, our columnist has published two books on running. He is the founder and managing director of the communications agency GOODWILLRUN. Mike Kleiss lives with his family in Hamburg and Cologne. He writes about running here every Thursday.

Believe it or not, I only realized the contract was gone three years ago. The document no longer exists. I kept thinking about it for the first six months only. And then forget it. Running had become routine. And running every day. I couldn’t imagine going a day without it. Because then I would have missed the routine. I lived with it very well for a long time. I was sitting at my desk yesterday. And set up a new contract. With me. And the routine. Because, and that’s the good thing, you can sign this contract at any time. Also in early January. Even if you just broke your resolutions.

Or just then. That’s how it works.

Read all of Mike Kleiß’s columns here.