We are entering that crazy, time-speeds-up/there’s so much to do part of the year.
With an impending household move in the next two weeks, holiday preparations to be made, extra holiday events for each of the kids, and a bunch of doctor’s appointments, vet appointments, my life is a story of total disruption.
It would be super easy to just throw my hands in the air and say ‘I give up until January 1,’ BUT over time I’ve fostered a sense of purpose instead of relying on feeling ‘motivated,’ and it’s this sense of purpose (aka: motivation) that keeps me positive and proactive about my health and fitness 🙂
There are five key things I do to maintain my ‘motivation.’
If you’re in a hurry, you can scroll right down to the list 🙂
If you’re in the mood for a little story, then start reading here!
Although I dabbled in strength training and fitness in my 20’s, it didn’t ‘take’ completely until later.
I worked with a personal trainer to learn how to strength train in the first place, because I was clueless, and I saw some remarkable changes in just a few months. Combined with playing (co-rec) soccer, lifting weights three times a week helped me lose 10 pounds and sculpted muscle I didn’t know I had.
Then I graduated from college.
The sudden lifestyle change completely unsettled me; the uncertainty of that time in my life, combined with the feeling of going it alone knocked me off every workout routine I had and stimulated an emotional eating response. The result was a significant body change in the opposite direction!
Eventually, I became frustrated with feeling soft and stuck, and I hired another trainer.
Katherine changed how I looked at my body.
While I definitely trained to look better so I could feel better (because that’s how my mind worked then!), Katherine was the first person to introduce the mind-body-spirit balance concept to me.
It was her supposition that when one part of your life is way off-kilter, the others suffer as well. You can’t try to ‘fix’ one aspect of what I now call the ‘Human Trifecta’ without addressing the other parts.
I ‘got’ it, but wasn’t emotionally mature enough at the time to really deal with it.
Fast forward several years, two jobs, marriage, an overseas move, a deployment, another overseas move, a new baby, years of yo-yo dieting and inconsistent and ineffective exercising, and finally a devastating injury to where it all started to change.
In 2006, when my daughter was just 11 months old and I was just starting to ‘get back in shape’ by doing fitness dvd’s at home, I went riding with a friend who owned barrel racers.
Having seen me ride a few times before, she thought I could handle her mare.
Unfortunately, the mare was cranky and disagreed, and she darted out of the safety of the sand ring, across the hardened red clay furrows of the Louisiana fields, at Mach 5 in true barrel racer style.
Not wanting to wanting to break my neck should she trip and fall, I ditched and landed on my right side, causing tons of soft tissue damage/trauma to my right hip, lumbar spine/both SI joints/pelvis as well as two broken ribs.
After the initial recovery, I was faced with a choice: work hard and do what it took to recover or be in pain or on pain meds for the foreseeable future.
I chose to learn what I needed to do to get better.
I started working with a physical therapist, and after a few weeks of that I hired a personal trainer. This time around, I was motivated to change and invested in learning so that I could rebuild my body.
I became acquainted with basic human anatomy and muscle groups, and learned different exercises to strengthen the various muscle groups effectively.
I started to run again, in one minute increments, until I could run one mile without pain or stopping. I started reading fitness magazines, Oxygen in particular at the time, and added to my base knowledge.
I took OWNERSHIP of my body, of my fate, of my future.
It was the first time I found a deep purpose for working out and running.
Without consistent strength training, core training and running, my SI joints would cause me pain.
With consistency, though, my back was pain-free, even through my second pregnancy. My purpose was to stay healthy, mobile and pain-free so that I could take care of my kids and family and live a full, uninhibited life.
There is power in that purpose.
Purpose is what keeps you going, what keeps you working out, long after the initial ‘motivation’ has passed. And routine is what cements it into your life.
Making exercise routine in my life, consistent activities on consistent days—to the very best of my ability, is how I stay ‘motivated.’
“Motivation gets you going and habit gets you there.”
~ Zig Ziglar
Initially motivated by the desire to look better in college, then reinforced by the desire—no, need—to stay healthy and pain-free, I have ‘cemented’ fitness/exercise into my life through these routines.
The Top 5 Ways I Maintain Lasting ‘Motivation’
1. Identify my deepest PURPOSE(S).
I put them into words, write them down, and reflect on them often.
2. Get real with my schedule every week.
I identify when and where I will be getting in my workouts (I ‘sharpie’ these into my schedule), and then create my Plan B’s for those days in case my best laid plans go awry (thank you Army for teaching me this skill!)
3. Keep motivational, inspirational and purpose-oriented quotes around the house where I can see them in the morning and evening.
These are words that have deep meaning for me, that resonate with my current challenges, that redirect my thinking to the positive even when I’m feeling frustrated or unsure. They are up on my medicine cabinet, on my fridge and above my computer—kind of hard to avoid them!
4. I seek out a community of like-minded people—people who can relate to where I’m at in life, to the goals I’m pursuing, who are experiencing some of the same feelings and challenges as I am.
Community support—in the form of running buddies, fellow trainers, people who attend the same classes, and experts I can learn from all contribute to keeping me on track and moving me in a forward, positive direction.
5. I learn a new skill.
Losing 5 pounds or looking better in a bathing suit lost their allure for me a few years ago—what was initially ‘motivating’ no longer held meaning for me.
Over time, I’ve discovered that learning a new skill, a new sport, a new technique or a new training approach to one aspect of my fitness regimen keeps it fresh for me.
Learning and acquiring new skills is exciting, and mastery of a skill is fulfilling and confidence-boosting. Plus, it helps me be a better trainer for others!
It’s win-win, and it’s also a long-term objective that will never expire or be extinguished, because there will always be new science, new skills to learn, new tools to use, new training interests to pursue.
“In every great act, there is a challenge. In every challenge, there is a reward. In every reward lies the product of our efforts. In every effort lies new beauty to be born.”
~ Mohammed Onotu
If YOU’VE been struggling with motivation, then give these 5 tips a try!
Identify your deeper/deepest PURPOSE for exercising/working out/eating better.
Search your soul a bit. Sit quietly with your feelings. Ruminate while you commute….Then write it all down. Don’t edit yourself, don’t judge, just write it down. Solidify that purpose in your mind and deep in your gut.
Get real with your schedule.
Map out where your time must be spent throughout the week, then map out where you WILL spend your time acting on your purpose (exercising). ‘Sharpie’ it in. Then make your backup plans. Bend if you must, but don’t break. Find a way to make something work.
Find and post quotes where you can see them easily morning and night, and maybe even in places you’ll see them throughout the day—in your office, in your car, in your wallet….
These are those galvanizing reminders of your PURPOSE for exercising. They should be strong, positive and purpose-reinforcing. A couple of fun apps you can use to make your own
Find a workout buddy, walking partner, running buddy or just an accountability buddy.
Find a fitness class or group you really enjoy where the other participants are right up your alley. Check out other gyms if yours isn’t cutting it.
Start a neighborhood exercise ‘tribe’ if you don’t belong to/have access to a gym. Hire an online coach/trainer for guidance, support and accountability.
Take part in an online fitness community with like-minded people.
Do whatever works best for YOU but find that support, because social support is a great predictor of long-term adherence, even for the most independent of us 😉
Try something NEW.
A new class at the gym, a new piece of equipment (kettlebells, TRX, and sandbags can add some spice into any strength training regimen), set a new goal.
Try paddle-boarding or indoor rock climbing, join a community sports team or running group, take kickboxing or karate or tae kwan do—take on a new challenge which forces you to engage your body and mind in the process of acquiring that new skill, so that the aim isn’t so much to reshape your body as to just get better at something (your body will respond, no worries!).
“If you can learn to motivate yourself, you can always tap into an abundance of energy that will drive you to the success you dream of.”
~ Rachael Bermingham
Try out a tip today! Maybe take one of these quotes and slap it up somewhere it will stare you right in the face and remind you of what YOUR purpose for moving forward is 🙂
Talk to you soon,