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.