Saturday, March 16, 2013

Just Do It: Finding Your Motivation

An unexpected turn of events last night got me thinking about Nike's phrase "Just do it" and about my motivation for running, working out, and maintaining my healthy lifestyle. It was interesting to think about how my motivation has changed since I first began and it also forced me to examine excuses.

Many people say to me "I wish I could run" or "I wish I could be a vegetarian" or ask me how I find the motivation to get up and get my workout done for the day. My answer is a straight-forward one: I just do it. I go to bed at a reasonable time, or if I'm up late, I use that as a lesson to manage my time better because I still force myself to do a workout in the morning. On the days when I don't feel like getting out of bed, I just do it. Making excuses is not going to get me anywhere and I know that I will feel so much better about myself after I do that workout. I have also found that the people who are saying "I wish" instead of "I can" are the ones who have not put forth a true effort to do whatever activity they are wishing they could do. My advice? Just do it. And REALLY do it. Put forth an effort to conquer that activity and never stop. Unless you have a physical limitation or have a doctor's backing for not doing a certain activity, then do it. Nothing frustrates me more than settling; I refuse to settle and I think that no one should have to settle. This morning, I had a goal of doing 10 miles for my long run, but when I hit 2-miles, my IT band started really bugging me so I quit and walked the rest of the way back home. Instead of getting upset and letting it put a damper on the rest of my day, I used it as motivation to do yoga, stretching, and foam rolling. I feel better for it and am proud of myself that I didn't use these aches as an excuse to not workout for the day and to mope around.

What motivates me?

When I first began working out, I was motivated by weight loss. I lost 15 pounds in the first two months and I loved what I was seeing, so I kept at it. Now, my motivation has changed.

1. Stress. Running and working out is a great stress reliever and it makes me feel a million times better when I'm finished. Running also helps me keep the important things in perspective and forget (even temporarily) about the little things that are stressing me out. Last night when I got home, I was frustrated and stressed out and wanted to run. It was 2 am though, so that wasn't a great idea and I instead used that as motivation to head out early this morning.
2. Maintaining Fitness. I put so much effort into losing 30 pounds that I use running and working out to maintain my fitness, but I no longer focus on losing weight. I focus on what makes me feel and look good.
3. Food. I LOVE food, especially desserts. I have honestly told people that some days, food is the only reason I get up out of bed for a run. I think about all of the delicious things I want to eat and if there's something on that list that I know I have to earn, I strap on my running shoes and head out the door. That ice cream bar or slice of cake at the end of the night is totally worth it.
4. Beer. I love beer. Thursday-Saturday are my weekends and I love to indulge in beer. Most nights I dance a lot of those calories off, but for those nights where I'm not dancing or I'm planning on drinking more than usual, I make sure I get a good workout in so I can enjoy my night with zero guilt.
5. Freedom. Running makes me feel free. Working out, even if there are other people around me at the gym, makes me feel free because it provides me with "me" time and there is no one else in the world that matters at that point but me (selfish, I know).
6. Identity. "Runner" has become an adjective associated with my name and I love it. I am a runner. I am not defined by running, but it contributes to my overall identity as a person and without it, I think I would be lost.

What is your motivation for maintaining a healthy lifestyle? 
Any exciting plans for St. Patrick's Day?
Downtown Melbourne is having a huge party tonight, so I plan on doing that, drinking a lot of beer, and wearing 50 shades of green.

I recently joined the Instagram train (@rachee73190) so follow me if you want to see lots of pictures of food and of me looking mismatched!

Stay safe this weekend!