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On getting a fire lit under your butt (A note about motivation)

September 15, 2011

What is the difference between a couch potato and a runner? (Besides several pounds?) It is MOTIVATION.

Most people are active  for health reasons. For others it’s vanity. Some are adrenaline junkies and a small percentage go for the gym eye candy (you know who you are!). But the real question is: what is your motivation?

I don’t know about you but “it’s good for me” very rarely gets me going. When I have had a long day or a late night and the bed is super comfortable or it is bitterly cold outside, the only thing that would get me going is a plate of crispy bacon.

Getting yourself moving is a matter of digging deep and figuring out what really matters to you. What are you hoping to accomplish? How do you want to feel? Are the results worth it for you? What sacrifices are you willing to make?

These motivating factors are something  you need to keep in mind constantly. Decide what these factors are and then develop goals that are going to get you there. Get into a routine and firmly integrate it into your life. Remember: being active is a way of life not just something you do occasionally.

For some feeling good and looking good is its own reward but that might not exactly get a fire going under your butt. Especially when getting there requires a tremendous amount of determination, discipline and just plain grit.

Yes, even for a yoga teacher like me! I teach so I am at the gym anyway but do I go an hour early so I can take a class before mine or do I let another episode of “What Not To Wear” hold me back? Despite my already active lifestyle some days are harder than others. It’s a struggle to get up when my husband is still warmly snuggled in bed but I drag myself out knowing it’s going to feel really good when I get back (especially when I take a running head start and belly flop on to my still sleeping husband). ::evil laugh:: Anyway…

There is the additional difficulty of getting distracted and even well-meaning people can pull you away from your goals. When I first started going to the gym, it was hard to choose working out over spending time with friends. Just about anything is better than running on a treadmill, including eating bad chinese food and drinking cheap wine with a friend. But I wanted to change my body. I wanted it to be strong and healthy so I created a gym schedule that I could stick to and told my friends that those days were off-limits for gatherings. Occasionally they would try to tempt me from the gym but I was already too far committed to cave in. Besides, I didn’t want to miss Mr. Eye Candy kickboxing instructor (sorry, friends!).

Once you have found your motivation and outlined your goals it is incredibly important to make them known to the people who surround you and ask for their support. Maybe you can even get them to join in! After all, nothing is more inspiring than outrunning a friend or significant other.

So whether your motivation is looking good in that bikini or improving your cholesterol level or finally hiking the Appalachian trail make sure you keep it in the forefront of your mind as you make your day-to-day activity decisions. Take it one day at a time but keep at it and I promise it will get easier.

So tell me… What motivates you?

Image via Flickr (creative commons) by wolfsavard.

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From → Body, Mind

6 Comments
  1. Anonymous permalink

    How do I motivate myself to get to the gym to run on the treadmill? I don’t have cable at home, so going to the gym is my time to catch up on “What Not to Wear!”

    • I can’t get enough of that show and it is perfect for the gym because you don’t have to follow it closely… It just explains itself! I wonder if that would work on getting Warren to the gym?!?

  2. My motivation is to be in awesome shape to take up beach volleyball! and bc i KNOW i can take a couple of inches off…and bc i want to be in awesome shape before my big 3-0..so kind of a bunch of reasons 🙂 On some days, none of those work, on most days atleast 1 does 🙂

    • Those volleyball beach bodies are hard core! How’s it going so far? Winter is tough… My body goes into hibernation mode and I’m lazier than I am the rest of the year! I hope you don’t have the same issue that I do!

  3. Lindsey permalink

    Late comment, but I started because I was on the tail end of 21 and I felt like I should be well on my way to my physical peak, aesthetically as well as athletically. I want to be 30 and feeling better than I did at 20. But I continue because it feels great, and every day that I exercise is like adding to an investment. I throw a few coins in every day, and the investment grows. If I stop, then I’m throwing all that “money” away, and I won’t feel nearly as fantastic. Plus, I look at my yoga teacher, who’s 60 and looks 40 and is in better shape than I’ve ever been, and I think, that’s the way to live!

    Another thing that keeps me going is that I recently quit smoking to help me achieve my goal of running a marathon in a year’s time. I won’t achieve that if I quit running, or if I don’t quit smoking. Sometimes I’m just dying for a cigarette and I think of all the cigarettes I haven’t smoked, and all the kilometres I’ve covered, and I just can’t give that up. They might be arbitrary achievements, but it’s worth it, because I’m healthier, and more importantly, happier than I’ve ever been.

    • That’s impressive. One of the reasons I never even thought about smoking is that I knew I wouldn’t be strong enough to stop! So congratulations! I’m in my 30s and in the best shape of my life… I haven’t quite decided if that’s a sad thing… 😉 But I have never regretted a single time I’ve ever chosen to workout instead of skipping on it. It sounds like you’re on an excellent track. I wish more people would invest in themselves like you have.

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