Let’s Talk Motivation

2015/04/img_2125.jpgdoing arm fart noises

I am in the middle of texting with my friend Keely, who is on day 8 of Whole30. She said she feels good (“damn good”), and I am a little jealous of that feeling.

Not jealous enough to do another Whole30, but maybe jealous enough to clear the junk out of our house and go sugar-free for a while. I feel the effects of Easter sugarfest and am ready to recalibrate my eating a little bit. And exercise- gah. Exercise. Exercise would feel great- and does feel great- but I just can’t rally for it.

Before anyone graciously reminds me that I have four kids and no time- that’s just not true. I have 20 minutes a day to jump around my living room or do leg lifts or something. I just choose not to. I mentally write off the 20 minute opportunity to exercise because if I can’t commit to doing it every day, 20 minutes here and there seems like a waste of a clean sports bra. And I cannot commit to doing it every day. Because…I’m not motivated enough. See that repetitive loop?

2015/04/pict0537.jpgbefore the start of his race, at some ungodly early hour.

My husband stays on track with his exercise by signing up for races. He has another ultramarathon coming up in a few weeks, and that gets him out the door to run. He cranks out 17 or 21 mile training runs with a friend, knowing the race is getting closer. He has figured out that he does better by committing to a race and by training with someone else. Two motivators, to keep himself on track.

2015/04/pict0539.jpgthere are people who started the 50K the evening before so they could run all night and rejoin this crew to DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN. i mean…

I haven’t exactly figured my motivators out yet. I did Whole30, and learned a lot from that. I did a dietbet at the beginning of the year. That was helpful because it motivated me to track my food, which is always enlightening. (I like tracking things to learn more about myself). I was recently gifted a FitBit, which I love for the aforementioned tracking– but I am not competitive enough to make sure I get my recommended 10,000 steps a day. My husband always encourages me to sign up for a race, but my last experience didn’t exactly leave me feeling triumphant and ready for more.

So I hear about Keely… and see my husband trot out his 21 mile training runs… and sort of have this third-person curiosity about what will (finally) get me moving and help me focus well on my eating CONSISTENTLY. Not in little spurts- but over the long haul.

2015/04/pict0572.jpgabout 8 miles to go. i think this was the one where he had pretty much lost all the skin on the back of his heels at this point, coming up the mountain.

I suppose it is just like anything else. Good stretches and hard stretches. Lots of motivation and no motivation. Seasons.

I am curious- if anyone wants to chime in, I would love to know what motivates you and keeps you working toward good health. Does it feel like fits and starts for other people (like it often does for me)? For the more consistent exercisers out there- how did that even happen? I’m sort of in awe of people who just…exercise. Consistently. Just like that.



14 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Motivation

  1. When I first started working out I used to challenge myself with, like, x number of gym visits per week, and then I would reward myself after a month. Three times a week for a month –> pedicure. That worked and kind of got me hooked and made it more of a habit. But that was in days of old before I had kids.

    These days I am like you, I am not super motivated to work out, which makes me sad because I hate feeling out of shape. But I think you’re right that this is probably just a season. It’s hard to prioritize something like that when you have so many other plates you need to keep spinning.

    So what motivates me now? I don’t make it to the gym more than once or twice a week these days, but: vanity is a big motivator (lol). I focus on how much better I feel after a run or swim. I put mind over matter and just get it done. I also think finding something that you want to get better at is key. Then you don’t see exercise as a chore so much.

    Basically don’t slog away on the elliptical or halfheartedly do a few crunches in your living room with no end goal in sight. Have an end goal, even if it’s just your favorite jeans.

    Also don’t discount the importance of rest right now. That is why I don’t give myself a hard time for not working out a ton. Think of all the plates you’re spinning. A year from now you might have more energy. That’s ok.

    • it involves a lot of plate-spinning to just get to the gym most days. three naps a day for the baby means we have little windows to get out. i haven’t committed to exercising at the gym enough to make it happen consistently. i have tried the early mornings but- yes- rest trumps 6 a.m. exercise most days.

      anyway. yes-rest is important. and goals are important. i am too prone to the half-hearted elliptical “workout”, where i don’t actually sweat and i am bored the whole time…

  2. I think it helps finding an exercise that you really love. That doesn’t have to be running! Running is cheap and easy but if you don’t love it you probably won’t consistently do it. You guys still go to ACAC right? Try a bunch of different classes. We joined after Stuart was born and going was a little break from our crazy at home, and I fell in love with cycle classes. Then I got hooked on how I felt when I was doing something for me/taking care of myself. Eating better followed Bc it helped fuel the exercise that I loved.

    Remember in all this to give yourself grace. Four kids is a lot of kids (didn’t you say that once? šŸ™‚ Gradually you’ll have more time and I bet motivation will come too!

    Something helpful I keep seeing people post on FB is “workout not because you hate your body but because you love your body”. That helps me think about how I exercise it and what I feed it in a new light.

    • oh i like that- workout because you love your body. that’s good.

      we do belong to acac. i am a wimp about trying new classes (or any classes) because i am afraid of how hard it will be. that sounds lame, but that is totally why i pass on most classes that i could try. laaaame.

        • Hey thanks! Not sure that’s how I would have described that race, but I appreciate the cheers šŸ™‚ I am motivated to try yoga after reading your latest blog – that’s the one I’m afraid of walking into….everyone breathing and leaning one way and me awkwardly/stiffly going the other. But we have to try new things to grow and change, yes?! I’ll do yoga, you try spinning!? Three cheers for KidZone!

  3. Call a good friend and then walk while you talk for 20 minutes. If you have a lot of time, walk away from home for the 20 min turn around and powerwalk or jog home after you get off the phone. Obviously a full jog is better than a leisurely walk, but if I have to convince myself to go for a jog, I won’t do anything.

    Also, start thinking of the ordinary things you do (i.e., housecleaning) as exercise, and focus on doing them with really good posture. My PT showed me that flossing your teeth is exercise if done properly (shoulder blades down, chin back so your head isn’t thrust out) because you really have to engage your core. Those things have helped me improve my habits throughout the day so even if I don’t do a “real” workout I’m treating my body better.

    • i totally thought of this comment today as i was all slumped over, nursing the baby. it is too easy to be lazy- thanks for the reminder to take better care of myself.

  4. You are not alone. It definitely feels like fits & starts for me, too. It’s a kids thing and it’s a motivation thing and it’s an energy thing…lot of things. But mostly just making/taking time to do it, get it done, knowing I’ll reap great rewards now & later.
    I’m honestly motivated by where I don’t want to be in twenty years, when I see my mom in very poor health & the limitations that her excess weight puts on her regular life – things like bending over, participating in hobbies, flying on an airplane, etc. That may be depressing, but I know she was once like me and made small choices along the way that brought her to a place of poor health. So, I’m trying to make small choices in the other direction.
    You are aware and mindful and motivated enough to write about it & ask advice. šŸ™‚ I’m sure when you’re out of the baby stage, you’ll find a place again for exercise.

    • my dad is a runner, and has been for decades. i see his small choices and how they have added up to good health for him, and it definitely motivates me to get myself in gear.

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