Getting and Keeping the “M” in Motivation

I’ve blogged many times about what puts the “m” in “motivation” for me, personally…it’s my “me” time, it makes me feel alive and centered, it makes me feel healthy and fit, it makes me happy and energized, etc., etc. (I could go on and on, as you know!).

But have been getting asked more lately – by both my IRL friends and my blog friends – about now only how to get motivated but STAY motivated.

Lately, its struck me that I’m still pretty much in the minority in terms of my workout habits and general affinity towards fitness. A lot of that has to do, for me, in simply being physically ABLE to workout as hard as I can, but it also has a lot to do with me having the ability to make the time for it. I have very few commitments outside of my work schedule that I need to work around – i.e., no kids, I work typical work hours (i.e. no weekends, no nights, etc.) – so it’s honestly not hard to find the time, and I literally have no excuse NOT to get ‘er done.

So – for me, no excuses makes it that much easier for me to get and stay motivated.

For those of you are aren’t quite as free and able to do what you want, when you want, how you want, I’ve put some thought into how to make working out seem more enticing, more enjoyable, and well – more achievable.

  • Start slow and work your way up – in other words, if you’ve not been able to make any time in your schedule to workout up until now but are trying to make it a priority, start slow.ย  Aim for two workouts in a week – at 30 minutes per workout. If you look at it that way, its only one hour out of your entire week that you need to make the time for. Maybe that means getting up 45 minutes earlier (15 minutes to get up, get dressed, etc.) to squeeze 30 minutes in before hopping in the shower for work. Or maybe you fit it in for 30 minutes before bed (not ideal since it might keep you awake later, but doable). Or it could mean a 30 minute quickie workout while your little one naps in the crib besides you on a Saturday afternoon. The point is – it may not seem feasible at first glance, but there might be pockets of hidden time in there you can scrounge up that are just for your own personal “me time.”
  • Stop beating yourself up – Yes, you’ve not worked out often in the past few months, for example – but try to avoid beating yourself up for it. Instead, think positively about what that 30 minute workout will do for you not just physically, but often more importantly, what it’ll do for you mentally. I’m proof of it – I’ve blogged so many times about having a bad day or feeling blue but after a workout, there is not a single instance I’ve thought to myselfย  “wow, I feel worse now.” I’ve never regretted a workout, or taking a step back and being “selfish” about using a free 30 mins for me.
  • Embrace the sweat – Yes, I said embrace it. At first, it might seem like way too much work for what its worth, but once you get going and get past the first ten minutes or so, you’ll be amazed at how much you’ll start to enjoy it. Try to think of how strong you’re becoming, how your heart is beating away which means its working (a sign of good health!), how accomplished you’ll feel after all is said and done. Just get past the initial “OMG I reallllly hate this” and it’ll get better. Sort of like that first mile of a jog – it isn’t fun – I don’t care if you’re a ten-time marathoner, that first mile ALWAYS sucks. But suddenly, into mile two, you start to get into a rhythm and realize “hey, this isn’t so bad…”
  • Make it a habit – This is the tough one. The one I get the most questions about.ย  It’s not all that hard to start working out – but how do you maintain a workout schedule consistently? For me – this is a habit that has been brewing for years – its totally ingrained in who I am, clearly since I have a fitness blog, and all that jazz. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But in all seriousness, its NOT easy to make anything a habit. It takes a consistent focus on it for a least 3-4 weeks before anything truly becomes habitual. But – once it does become a habit, it’s actually harder to break the habit than keep it. Just think about little things like chewing gum, or having a piece of chocolate after dinner – it becomes habit after awhile and becomes SO hard to break after awhile, it’s all you can think about NOT to have that piece of chocolate after dinner (or is that just me?? ha). So what am I saying here? The clincher – for working out to become a habit, you’ve got to stick to a fairly consistent pattern of workouts for at least a month for it to become habit. So – keep that in the back of your mind as you chug through your slow-and-steady-two-workouts-a-week-to-start pace and before you know it, four weeks will pass and you might just surprise yourself and find that you’re enjoying the workouts, just a wee bit, maybe? ๐Ÿ™‚

Whew. A lot to digest, I know. But the big point here, at least from my point-of-view? Working out is about YOU – this is something I think a lot of people have a hard time adjusting to. It’s YOUR time – and it’s NOT selfish to take that time. Even if that means juggling things around to fit it in, its for you and you alone, and you deserve it. We all do.


18 thoughts on “Getting and Keeping the “M” in Motivation

  1. Great post sis – you can totally see your excitement and enthusiasm for working out and how to make it realistic ๐Ÿ™‚ I definitely agree that it has to be a habit that you keep or it is so easy to fall off the wagon. Now it feels weirder NOT to work out. But that’s just me of course haha ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Wow, your passion really shines through in this thoughtful “blog”. It seems more like a letter to a friend in need of some emotional support to help adapt her/him to a more healthy lifestyle. Beautifully written and true to your heart! Thanks for posting, Lisa.

  3. Awesome post!! I think the biggest thing that keeps me motivated to keep working out is my health. And it is totally a habit for me now. I can’t imagine NOT working out regularly!

  4. I keep getting asked the same question and I really don’t know what keeps me motivated. Maybe it’s not really even motivation so much as it is just what I do…period. That’s it. I mean, do you have to be motivated to brush your teeth (well sometimes perhaps), but you get the point. I think when it’s what you do, your routine, then it’s less about motivation or trying to find the will each and every time. I don’t think, I just do. Now, that being said, when it comes to something like signing up for a race, I do think that’s when motivation starts to come into play a bit more. I’m probably rambling so I’ll stop.

    • YES! I think that’s why I struggle with answering that question too, Heather. It’s not a matter of motivation for me anymore. I just do. GREAT way to hit the nail on the head for me. What would I do without you ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. That post (great one, by the way) came in the right time! I couldn’t motivate myself for a run since a week as we still have this heat wave going on in Germany. But after having read your post I packed my shoes and ran 7 kilometers this morning. How to put M in Motivation? Read blog posts like yours! *hugs*

  6. Great tips! I always love the one you mentioned about remembering that you never regret a workout and once you get going it feels great. I know that has gotten me out the door or into my “gym basement” many times. LOL

    Or, you could tell your readers to have kids. That always gets me to the gym. The chance to have someone else watch M for an hour and give myself a break? Pure motivation right there! LOL I’m only slightly kidding. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. I love all of your tips…and especially about it becoming a habit! It sounds obvious, but it’s so true. And Tina’s comment made me laugh….all of my friends who are moms say the same thing! ๐Ÿ™‚ Hey, a mom needs her own time, too…right?

    I also forget about the “not beating yourself up” part. Sometimes I think about whether or not I worked out enough, or I compare my workouts to what I’d done before. I try to just repeat that something is better than nothing….sweating is sweating!

    • Thanks Holly! I’m glad you like them ๐Ÿ™‚ And you’re right – mom’s need their “me” time too….probably more than we do, actually they DEFINITELY do!

  8. Pingback: Strength training and cardio, and/or? « EatDrinkBreatheSweat

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