What Motivates You?

As I look over my log of exercise this month, it’s not perfect, but I’ve definitely worked harder than in months past.  The last time I found myself getting out and exercising this often was when a friend signed me up for a 30 mile mountain bike race last fall.  I had 3 weeks to train for the race.  I rode my bikes a lot in those 3 weeks!  The last time I actually ran as much as I have this past month was when I did the Marine Core Marathon in 2003.  My wife likes to tell me that I didn’t really train for a marathon, but I definitely did run more than normal (normal being not at all) in the months leading up to the race.

All of this is interesting to me, because as I look back I can see what has motivated me to exercise.  Motivation is interesting.  I have clearly been motived to exercise by simply stating my plans to on my blog.  I put it out in a public space, and have found that enough to keep me motivated to get out and exercise.  In all reality, I have found blogging to be an incredible motivation tool for a variety of things.  Each behavior I’ve embraced or refrained from so far this year has been helped along by just writing about it on the blog.

For exercise, I can also see that being signed up for a race has been pretty motivating for me as well.  This is true for a lot of people.  I thought it would be true for my wife, so I encouraged her to sign up for a race.  She told me that being signed up for a race would actually be a negative motivation for her!  I guess we are not all motivated by the same things.

So what motivates you?  It might not be writing in a blog or signing up for a race, but if you sit down and think about it for awhile, I bet you can come up with a few things that tend to really motivate you.  I’d like to hear what it is for you that keeps you working towards your goals.

 

Research

Lately I have been running for most of my daily exercise.  I can’t say this strongly enough… I hate running.  The thing is, it is by far the most accessible form of regular exercise.  You don’t need a gym membership and you can run with minimal equipment.  And so I run.

Last night I went for a run.  It was perfect weather, the stars were out… spring was in the air.  It occurred to me that I could be doing almost anything outside in that type of weather and enjoy it.  Anything that is, except running.  I’ll admit it, as I noticed the stars I had a brief enjoyable moment.  And then I remembered I was running.

I’ve been running pretty consistently for about 3 – 4 weeks.  After my run last night I began to wonder:  How long will I need to run before I actually start to like running?  I decided to do a little scientific research on enjoyable running.  I asked my friends on Facebook how long it takes till you can enjoy running.  Well… the results were a little varied.  Basically, it will take anywhere from 6 seconds to over 2 years!  Hmmm.  I am way past 6 seconds.  I won’t make it 2 years.  I think I can make it about 2 months.  If I don’t enjoy it just a little by then… well, then I guess I’m just not a runner.

Well, off for another run.  Yippee!

Why Do We Fall?

Failure is a hard word to talk about.  At least for me, I like to qualify my failures.  I like to think I really didn’t fail, but that I was just a victim of circumstances.  Sometimes that is true… Sometimes it is not.  We all fail.  We just don’t like to admit it.  Awhile back a friend of mine talked about his failure on his blog (click here to read it).   In admitting his failure, he ended up learning about himself.  He also ended up with his most popular blog post to date and generated a good amount of discussion.  Admitting failure actually turned out to be beneficial!  I think it almost always is.  Not that we always get some tangible benefit, but it helps us reflect and move on.  Moving on is the key.  Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes form Batman Begins:

“And why do we fall, Bruce?  So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”

All that to say, this month has been mostly a failure so far.  I started out with a plan to exercise everyday.  I haven’t.  There are a lot of circumstances and excuses I can use to justify the reality… but it is what it is.  I have failed to meet my goal.  So at this point, the only thing I can do… is pick myself up and get going for the rest of the month.  Here is my log for the month up to this point:

  • March 1:  3 Mile Bike
  • March 2:  1.75 Mile Run
  • March 3:  1.75 Mile Run
  • March 4:  Push-ups, Crunches
  • March 6:  2 Mile Bike, 2 Mile Run
  • March 7:  2 Mile Jog/Walk, 6 Mile Bike
  • March 12:  2 Mile Run
  • March 14:  2 Mile Run

Lets hope the last half of the month looks a little better!

Exercise

March is going to be a month to embrace exercise.  I am typically pretty active from April – November, but the winter months are pretty hit and miss.  I really struggle with exercise for the sake of exercise.  I enjoy going for a spin on one of my bikes or going for a hike in the woods.  But going for a run, just for the heck of it… well I hate it.  I am amazed at how many people (judging mostly by Facebook posts) like to run!   I wonder if they are doing something different that makes it enjoyable.  Maybe its only fun if you post it on Facebook.  The only time I have ever enjoyed running was if it was in a race (which means I had to do a lot of it to get ready for the race, which I didn’t enjoy) or if it is trail running.

All that being said, I need to get out and exercise, even if some of it is just for the sake of exercise.  For one, I want to get a head start on being in shape for the mountain bike season.  I’d like to do 3-4 races this year, so I need to be in good shape to pull that off.  So for March, I am going to try to exercise every day.  As usual, I don’t want to put parameters on “exercise” at the beginning of the month, but I will say that going for a walk around the block won’t cut it.  I want each day to include some intentional exercise so that by the end of the month I’ll feel like I am healthier and in better shape than when I started.

I’ve gotten a bit of a head start, as recently I’ve been biking or running to get my Son to sleep at nap time.  I can either get him to take a nap in the car (which can get costly), or in the bike trailer if I am running or biking.  A couple of weeks ago, I started to figure out how much my nap time car rides were costing me and decided it would be much cheaper and healthier if I used that time to get out and bike or run.  That’s how I started yesterday, by taking my son for a nap time ride.