Friday, January 2, 2015

Keeping Motivation

I get asked a lot "how do you stay motivated?". Especially now that it's winter so it's cold, snowy, and really dark in the mornings. 

Honestly, I don't often lack motivation and it's because I turned my "have-to's" into "want-to's". 

I know it's easier said than done but try it out. Put in the hard work, give it a shot, and track your progress. Chances are you might discover that you've fallen in love with it! We're not all born athletes but have to grow to love things. I really and truly love running and lifting. I didn't know how much I would love lifting until this past spring. I picked up a weight and haven't looked back since. Working out isn't a chore for me. It's my therapy, my escape, my time for myself. I do what I love and that's really what keeps me motivated. When you do it out of passion then you don't really have to work to keep up motivation to do it. 

It's not to say that I don't have the mornings where I wake up and don't feel like working out. That happened to me just the other morning. I had gotten maybe 6 hours of sleep, and it was 5am and pitch black out. 

Not to mention it wasn't helping that it was 25 degrees outside and my bed was warm. Layla was snuggled up against me and she was showing little motivation to wake up either. So I laid there for a few minutes and had that war with myself: 

"I could just go back to bed." 

"But I should still workout. I didn't have time to lift yesterday so I should really do that today."

"I'll feel better once I finish. I always do." 

"It's so cold out. I don't wanna be colddddd."

"Maybe I'll just lift and not run."

"But it's Tuesday." 

Long story short but I did get my butt out of bed. For two main reasons: it was shoulder day (my gosh do I love shoulder day) and Layla. On Tuesdays, I always make sure to run because Amanda and I go to Bible Study in the evening. I basically come straight home from work, gobble down dinner, pack my lunch at lightning speed, and then leave. We're gone from 5:50-9:45 since where we meet is farther away this year. 

The point is, I don't have time to walk Layla in the evening so that's why I make sure to run in the morning so she can come with me. I think it's really important for her to not only get the exercise and stretch her legs but it just gets her out of the house. Otherwise she'll be stuck inside all day, and plus she enjoys our runs together. Every day she at least gets a walk or a run, often times both depending on the day. 

So that will almost get me out of bed because I have an obligation and a responsibility to Layla. I know I'm a crazy dog lady to most people but I take my commitment to Layla seriously. When I got her, I promised to not only give her a forever home but to take good care of her and that includes making sure she gets healthy exercise. Runs and walks are good for her physical health but also her mental health because she's able to get out and enjoy the fresh air. 

Which means I will always get my butt out of bed because I can't stand the thought of her being cooped up all day. Due to me simply wanting to get extra sleep. But even though having Layla depending on me holds me accountable, I also get motivated by the simple fact that I love running with her. 

Call me cheesy but what can get me out of bed to run in the mornings is thinking of it as a great bonding experience. I love when we're on a run and Layla nudges my hand with her nose so that I'll scratch her ears, or she'll rub against my leg in a reassuring way, or look up at me and wag her tail when I give her praise. It's great having a running buddy because I'm used to running alone in the winter when it's so dark and cold. Not going to lie, it's also reassuring to have that extra feeling of safety because even though she's still not full-grown, Layla is around 70 pounds now, and let's face it not many people are going to give us trouble and risk taking on a dog of that size.

Ever since she was a tiny puppy, she's always been my accountability buddy!

So find something that you love to do. I love to run and especially with Layla. That motivates me because it's something that I enjoy doing! If I didn't love it then I wouldn't force myself.

On the days where Layla might not be depending on me, another thing that keeps me going are my goals. I signed up for a full marathon in May and I have full intentions of tackling it! Even though I've been told before that it might be unlikely that my shin could handle all that training, I plan on giving it my best shot. 

I started telling people that Jesus and lots of icing and stretching will get me through the next 5 months! And carbs. Lots and lots of carbzzz :)

My marathon may still be 5 months away but I know it will take lots of consistent training and upkeep of my shin to make sure that I can cross that finish line. I plan on running every single step of that race, and will not settle for anything less. I've always said I've wanted to run a marathon some day and by George, that's exactly what I'm going to do!

So on the mornings when I don't want to run I say to myself: "but you wanna run that marathon, right? Are you going to keep making excuses once training starts? Where is that going to get you?! Do you want to cross that finish line?? Get yo butt outta bed, girl!"

That's actually pretty accurate of what I say to myself. There are just some days where I have to give myself some tough love.

I do the same exact thing with lifting. My goal right now with my reverse diet is to build up my metabolism. How do you do that? With muscle. How do you build muscle? Weights (and carbs but that's another story).

"but you wanna build your metabolism, right? You want to take care of your body, right? You need to build that muscle, right? How is that going to happen if you don't get that lift in? Get yo butt outta bed, girl!"

It's what keeps me going through my workout, too. If I'm afraid to go up a weight because I don't know if I can handle it yet or it'll be too hard, I tell myself "how will you ever find out if you don't try? Pick that dang weight up, girl!". It makes me push myself to do better and to keep going.

So you don't have to talk to yourself as a drill sergeant like I do, but I find that keeping my goals in perspective helps me to keep up motivation. I think about what I want to achieve, and that will always light the fire under me to keep going. Not only do I love running and lifting but I love chasing my goals and the drive it gives me. I got asked the other week, "What are training for?" and I simply said "Myself".

I do it because I love it. And I won't settle for anything less.

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