Let fear motivate you.

Some very sage words from Jillian Michaels on a recent episode of Biggest Loser:

Let fear motivate you.

Now, this is all based on how you interpret that phase, but in the context of my latest focus on learning to let go, fear certainly comes into play.

I’m not gonna lie – learning to let go is not only really hard to do, but it’s scary, too.

While I fully admit to being happy and excited and at peace with the whole “letting go” mentality – I’m still scared, deep down.

…Scared of what this change in mindset means. (does this mean I don’t love working out anymore? does this mean I won’t be picking up new challenges anywhere I can find them?)

Scared of if/how it’ll change my committment to working out (who am I kidding, it only motivates me more…just in a different way than before)

…Scared of the unknown.

This is all very much unknown, uncharted territory for me. Up until now, working out has meant schedules, numbers, and charts to keep track of progress.

But now? Working out is simply part of who I am. It defines me. But it doesn’t define how I live my life necessarily, either. I don’t live and die by my workouts anymore. I LOVE them. Yes. But I am no longer so tied to the structure of them…most of the time, that is. If I’m training for another half? Well yeah, a “schedule” of sorts will come into play, but nothing nearly as structured as some of the training schedules I’ve seen floating around the Internet.

Sometimes I wonder if fear as a motivator can be a negative thing too. I think it might be.

When it comes to overtraining I think that fear definitely comes into play as a motivator but not quite in the most positive of ways.

Fear of losing control.

Fear of not meeting some lofty expectation of yourself – huge weekly mileage tallies or multiple workouts per day, push, push, pushing yourself despite feeling tired, or sick or not quite “right” but doing it anyway. Fear comes into play there, for sure.

Fear of failure….Fear of gaining weight….Fear of not measuring up to your friends (IRL or otherwise).

And that fact worries me. Why? Because I see some of these tendencies in fellow blog friends, the tendency to push it a little too hard, ignoring that inner voice shouting “no!” and not finding a semblance of balance. It could be fear-based. It could be confidence-based. It could be based on something else entirely. And while I don’t claim to be an expert by any stretch, I do care about my friends…so I guess what this post comes down to is this: fear can be an excellent motivator, sure. But it can also push you to train too hard.

So my little PSA for today? Take good care of yourself. Listen to your body. Do what’s right for you, and you only. Breathe.

<Editor’s Note: And please, I hope you don’t mind my little rambling, PSA-ish post today, I realize we’re all different, with different needs, different melting points, etc. What works for me, what works for you, might be entirely different. I just worry. That is all.>

15 thoughts on “Let fear motivate you.

  1. i experience all those fears you listed, albeit on different kinds of levels. over-training is something that i struggle with, but i’ve learned to appreciate and take advantage of my rest days. today is one of them and i was so tempted to do just a little something, but i’m being a good girl and taking it easy. such a well-written post!

    • I am so glad you are taking advantage of that rest day friend, you work SO hard every single day, that rest is MORE than earned my dear. Nicely done. Thank you for appreciating my words, really.

  2. oh you are so right. Fear can make us or break us, its all about how we handle it. For me, fear means letting go, not trying to control, and embracing change. Change for the good, whether it be my body, my mind, or my soul.

  3. This was such a good post sis. And it is so easy to slide into overtraining mode because of the adrenaline rush, the ‘good’ pain, the stats you ‘rack up’ but in reality, what are you gaining? Fear. Controlled my workouts. It’s not healthy. BALANCE is healthy. Good reminder sis, really really good.

    • Totally sis – nobody should be controlled by their workouts…yet it’s scary how EASY it is to let it control you, in a not entirely healthy way either. Crazy how something that is so good for you can also be “Bad” for you if done to excess. Balance is hard to attain but it’s not out of reach, for any of us…

  4. I love this. I really relate to what you said about loving workouts, but not living to workout…even though being active still defines a part of who we are. As far as fear of the unknown, I’ve gotten better at it accepting and letting it go over the years, but it’s still hard at times! But overall, fear will get us nowhere! It goes along with worry – we worry and fear things that haven’t happened and may never happen. I think it’s a self-defense mechanism at times. Again, I love this post. I know people can relate, and it’s great for you to get it out of your head. 🙂 Hope you’re having a fabulous weekend. xoxo

    • I’m so glad it resonated with you! You are so right that fear can get you nowhere, it can be debilitating if you let it. But, you can also use that fear to enact change. Sometimes changes that seem scary but might just be the best thing you ever did for yourself. Happy weekend friend!

  5. I have so much fear, of basically everything! It’d be quicker to list the things I’m not afraid of. Uh.. In fact I can’t think of anything right now.

    Fear is predominantly a negative thing for me though. I work out through a fear of losing fitness, losing motivation, losing momentum… So to pull back and relax is something I do in spite of that fear. I acknowledge it, and move on.

    The idea of letting it motivate me though. That’s an interesting one. Because I could, right. I could be motivated by facing up to my demons, or strengthening myself by doing the very thing I’m afraid to. The thing is, I feel like that’s taking me back into this competitive territory again, which isn’t where I want to be. I want to be able to run like I FINALLY ran today, just plodding along as slowly as I needed to to keep myself relaxed and my HR down, and thinking about staying *calm*. I’m finally getting there, and the more I tap into that, the more I’m loathed to do anything that might disrupt it.

    So for now, the fear can fuck off. I’m ignoring it. And instead, I’m letting my desire for peace motivate me 🙂

    • OH! I LOVE your response to this – see? I told you, everyone has a different perception of the whole “fear as a motivator” thing. I was looking at it as taking the fear and helping it to see me that a change in approach is good, in spite of the fear. But you? you’re looking at it like, fuck off fear – I’m here to get back to basics, to a peaceful approach to fitness, and hey you know what? That works too! I guess my main point was that we should all look introspectively from time to time and sometimes that taking a step back helps you to see things in a new light. In a way that enacts change for the better. And in your case, you’ve done just that. Great comment friend, very insightful!

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  7. Oh yes, fear can be good and bad I think. It can hold you back so easily, but then when you can just go for it, you never know what you might find on the other side. Fear can motivate many people – I mean look at those who do insane stunts or heck even triathlons, iron man races, that sort of thing. You can’t tell me there’s not a sense of fear there but they push past that, it motivates them to overcome.

    • Totally agree with you – fear can work both ways. My point was that fear can help you see that a change may be necessary, even if that change feels out of your comfort zone or scary, it might be needed. But you’re right, fear can be a huge motivator for those that thrive on an adrenaline rush like you describe…for me, though? I could NEVER do those crazy insane stunts, I am such a wimp when it comes to that stuff! Ha.

  8. For me, fear usually brings me to a negative place. I wish I could say it was a motivator, but it doesn’t seem to have that effect. When I want something, I work really hard NOT to be afraid of it. When I’m approaching a marathon, I am not afraid of 26.2 miles. I have to believe in myself and my ability because fear could push me one of two ways – over training or quitting. In this crazy world of blogging, we do see this in peers. It’s sometimes hard to read about.

    • I think I need to take your approach when it comes to distance running. ever since the half, I’m really excited to do another one but part of me is scared that I’ll fail somehow or that the mileage will be too much on my knees or whatever. Instead, I should turn that fear away and focus on the accomplishment and really embracing the run for what it is, like I always say – something that’s just for me, even if that “just for me” is 13.1 miles (or longer!).

      I agree on the overtraining thing in other bloggers…it can be hard to read. really hard.

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