Tag Archives: motivation

Motivation

running
What motivates you?

Motivation can be a tricky thing. 

Especially in health and fitness.
What keeps us going and working hard?

For some it’s competition that gets them going. So a race would be a perfect carrot to put out in front of them to keep them working. They thrive by looking to improve their previous time or win their age group. For others, it’s quite the opposite—competition is a turn off. If that’s the case—don’t sign up for a race but focus on how exercise makes you feel or how it often becomes a meditative escape. I would argue, however, whether you enjoy the competitive aspect or not, the community built around sport can be a huge motivator.

Groups
I belong to a few different sport groups and have found that the community of people I have connected with is much more valuable than the benefits of just having a group that runs through the training with me. Many people feel that can’t join an athletic group/club because they are not good enough in terms of fitness level and talent. This couldn’t be further from the truth—though it took two years of convincing my husband of this before he showed up to a masters swim workout. Of course there are some groups that are for elite athletes but these are usually invite only groups or it is made clear that if you join them you must be able to meet certain standards, but these groups are the exception not the rule. Most groups are open to all levels. They are full of people of all fitness levels and goals. The people you find are friendly, love supporting one another and create great camaraderie. In short, they welcome anyone willing to join them. They aren’t just groups of people looking for newcomers to crush.

The Masters
I swim with a masters swim club. Of course, there are great swimmers in the group but it is a wonderful group of people who enjoy swimming no matter what their ability. One woman I swim with is in her 80’s. She can’t do all of the time standards of the workouts, but she is there like clockwork doing what she can. At swim meets she enters in to all the races allowed (they set a max. amount per swimmer) and she will take 5 min. or more to finish than the next slowest swimmer. There will be hundreds of people waiting and watching for her to finish before the meet can move on. Being the slowest doesn’t stop her! And we are happy to wait for her to finish—she sets the standard we all aspire to—don’t let age and ability stop you, just keep doing what you can. She is an inspiration to us all. Certainly I am motivated to be like her when I’m in my 80’s!

That voice in your head telling you you’re not good enough? Fast enough? Fit enough?
Bull! You are right where you need to be! Showing up is half the battle.

If you can’t find a community to join, make one. It might not feel as “official” but the support and accountability can be wonderful. Even one friend to join you can make a difference. Try Googling running clubs in your area and see what comes up.

madonabuder

Iron Nun
I have linked to a video that shows the woman known as the “Iron Nun.” She is truly amazing. Her great story reminds us that we put our own limits on what we think possible.

Sister Madonna Buder AKA the Iron Nun
Video Here

 

Dream Big. Do Small.

Someone jumping and dreaming big.

We all have dreams and aspirations in many areas of life from the practical to the sublime – keep the house tidy, wake up earlier, start a business, travel the world, make more money, lose weight, exercise more, be a better parent/partner. Though those aspirations are easily listed, they’re not always easily achieved. Days turn to weeks, weeks to years and rarely have we made the big shifts in the directions and thinking necessary to make those dreams and aspirations a reality. Why?

Because the path seems too long, too difficult, too overwhelming. 

A sports psychologist made a distinction for me that made a lot of sense. He simply said, “Know the difference between aspirations and goals. Aspirations are things we must have in our sights but they are not within our control. One can aspire to compete in the Olympics or attend a particular university, but ultimately the outcome isn’t something you control. Goals, on the other hand, are under your control, and you set the goals that will help you achieve your aspirations.”

Dream big but do small. The thing about goals is that they can be broken down into a multitude of smaller and smaller tasks, and once you set your sights on an aspiration, you can work on the smaller goals. You count your small wins and understand they have huge significance and power to impact the end result. Goals are signposts on the path that make the path much easier to follow. Each small goal you meet brings the ultimate aspiration closer. As the aspiration gets closer, confidence increases and the end feels more and more attainable.

Dreams and aspirations in everyday life can be difficult to set in motion.

Our dream might be to make more money, to start a business, to become more confident or to lose weight but the path can be very difficult to find. We may become stuck trying to decide where to start, how to start, what guidelines to follow and what the finish line looks like. We may have the big dream but can’t take the first small step. This is why I love sports, specifically triathlon. Triathlon provides a medium to learn how to make aspirations reality. It forces you to dream big, do small. The pathway is clear – there is a race date, a distance and a finish line that are fixed. One simply has to make sure they can swim, bike and run the allotted distance in the given time and the aspiration of crossing the finish line is attained.

Doing small.

Let’s think about someone who hasn’t run for years even though they enjoyed it, and in order to get motivated and to get up off the couch they have signed up for a marathon. The excitement of the race entry fades after the first few hours and at 6am the next morning motivation is gone. 26.2 miles seems much too much. In an extreme case of not knowing how to start, dream big (the race) and do small (the goals) the first goal might simply be to wake up for the first few mornings with enough time to go for a 10-minute walk. That’s not exactly marathon training but for many that would be a big win and for many, by the time they get out the door for a 10-minute walk, they’ll figure they might as well jog a few steps.

Simply stated, dream/aspire big – but don’t think about the entirety of it. Do small – think about the simplest goal you can make each day that will accumulate over time to help you reach your dream/aspiration.

As the old adage states…

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.