Motivated. Driven. Focused. Typically, those are words that I would use to describe myself. The last few weeks have been a different story. I haven’t been looking forward to my workouts, I’m less than excited to cook a great meal in the kitchen, and I can’t even begin to tell you the last time I shaved my legs. (Sorry, hubby).
It isn’t just me, though. My usual gym rat amigos are feeling the same way. First of all, most of them are mommies so I don’t know how they remember to put on pants before they leave the house, let alone find energy to make their way to Body Pump.
But it’s more than being tired. It’s more than being too busy. It’s more than being bored. There is a deeper issue here, and I’ve been trying to put my finger on it for weeks. How do I stay motivated? After a few glasses of wine, long gazes at the ceiling and various forms of chin scratching, I think I’ve figured it out. We need to remember what we “started”. Hear me out.
A few years ago, I used to work for a reality show that for legal purposes we will call “The Smallest Winner.” On the days we weren’t filming, I would work out in the gym. There were several quotes framed on the walls from former trainers and contestants to inspire and motivate. One in particular hung directly in front of the treadmill I seemed to always choose.
I dripped a lot of sweat in that gym. Every time I wanted to walk, reduce the incline or go 5 lbs lighter, that darn blue sign would be taunting me out of the corner of my eye. That, combined with the fact that the people that came before me have cried, bled and lost HUNDREDS of pounds in that gym made me run faster, raise that incline, and add 5 lbs.
But what had I “started” that I needed to finish? Years ago I had promised myself that I would treat my body as if it was on loan from someone very special to me (and it technically is, if you want to get all biblical up in here). My motivation was that with a family history of Diabetes, I would be the one to set a new precedent of holiday runs, healthy recipe swapping and state-to-state bike rides, not insulin shots, black outs and sugar-free pie.
Compare your body to a sports car. As if I were borrowing my Dad’s Corvette, I promised to put in only the best fuel, keep the engine well maintained and wash and wax regularly. For the most part I have done a pretty great job and I think that is the problem. I’m getting lazy behind the wheel. I’m getting too comfortable and putting in Unleaded instead of Premium because it’s cheaper – AKA eating half a block of cheddar cheese and crackers instead of making a real meal. I’ve missed the last few maintenance inspections (workouts) because there are other things I wanted to do (paint a mirror, go to dinner with friends, sit on the couch and stare at my Christmas tree). But the thing is, I can still do ALL the things I just mentioned. AFTER I stand up and finish what I started.
So – what is it that you started? Did you set a weight loss goal? Are you a parent and want to have more energy for your kids? Are you training for your first marathon or 5k? Did you make a resolution to stop making excuses for feeling yucky? Maybe you trying to catch the eye of that cute girl you see in Starbucks. Or, like me, you have a family history of health issues or obesity and want it to stop with you. Or haven’t you started anything? Maybe you have been working out on and off (or not at all) without any real inspiration, motivation or results.
Whatever your “start” is, it has to mean something to you. I have never met someone that gets up at 5am to hit the gym or says no to dessert simply because “it’s SUPER fun”. There is always more to it.
So right now, we are going to do a group exercise. Stop what you are doing. Say out loud (you can do it in the bathroom or whisper it so your cubicle mate doesn’t think you are loco) what it is you are “starting”. And then…stand up and finish it.
There will be days when we start to nod off in the driver’s seat, and we may even get a few scratches in the paint along the way. When this happens, take a breath, repeat your “start”, then go get yourself a good wash and wax (I recommend an eyebrow or maybe upper lip – I’ve heard Brazil is nice but that doesn’t mean I want to visit, if you know what I’m sayin’)!