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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

How do you stay motivated?

This is a question that I was asked recently by a friend/client. After honestly answering with a bit of a pep talk, the question still stuck with me. I have spent some time thinking this one through. What seems like a simple question with a simple answer, has actually made me dig deeper.

Motivation is defined as "the psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal". Summer is usually a motivator. Maybe a big event like a class reunion or a wedding is coming up. Or maybe you just realize that your biggest jeans are too tight and you are not having that. There are tons of motivators in life. The thing about motivation is that it is fickle! When you rely on something fickle, you are headed for failure. One day you will wake up and that good friend "motivation" is going to decide it has better things to do than to get you fired up about your goals and keep your warm fuzzy's about going to the gym at their peak day after day, indefinitely.

The truth is that you aren't going to stay motivated. I believe that when we accept the fact that motivation is not going to be there for us, faithfully, we can really achieve great things. So my deeper answer to the question "how do you stay motivated?", is I don't. When I am determined to do something, I don't need motivation. Discipline and determination drive me to stay focused. I don't know if discipline is a learned behavior, but I like to believe it can be. I like to believe that it is a muscle, like will power, that begins with our attitude. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. I will be honest in saying that there are times that I fall short. I can be a slacker. Winter is my enemy. It attacks my attitude, then it all just starts to spiral down from there. However, because I AM disciplined, I never quit! I fight back. I may slack off and become lazy, but I do not quit! Unless I am on vacation, or resting my body, a week will not go by that doesn't involve me getting at least 2 workouts in and my awareness of what kind of calories I am consuming is always there. I didn't say they are always hard core workouts, or that my diet is always in check. I just said some kind of workout will be happening and I am completely aware of what I am eating and how it affect my goals.

One more moment of truth..... I will admit that I do have a high metabolism and somehow have the physical/genetic make up that carries weight decently. I have never really struggled with my weight, except for when I decided it was necessary to become extremely thin. Here is the deal.... I have curves. I am not sure why it seems like God made tall people "skinny" and shorter people "curvy", but it sure does seem that way to me! And the thing about curves, big bones, muscular builds, etc, is they can make you feel the need to go to unhealthy measures to acquire that "skinny" appearance. Um, if you have curves, no amount of weight loss is going to change that. Lesson learned. All of that said, my genetics don't mean that I have it easy. I think that if I just totally let myself go, I would blow up like a balloon. The fact that I refuse to let that happen is where my discipline might come from. That "attitude" I mentioned before.

So, I said all of that to say this; get to work on your attitude and discipline muscle. The opposite of discipline is laziness. Which one are you? I am pretty sure that if you are lazy, it is something that shows in pretty much anything that you do that isn't something you actually enjoy. Life is full of responsibilities. Some of them are less fun then others. Some of them require more effort then others. Ignoring those responsibilities never makes them go away, it only makes them pile up like dirty laundry. Nobody wants to get that far off track. It just happens. Allowing other things that are more enjoyable to take priority over the things that NEED to be done is a priority issue that gets down to how to disciplined you are. How do you live your life? Do you just go around doing whatever you want, whenever you want to? Or do you prioritize?  Do you take care of responsibilities and maintain an attitude of "no work, no play", or do you just ignore them and do what you feel like doing? I would go so far as to say that lack of motivation isn't the issue. We need motivation. It's what gets us fired up to set a goal. But we need discipline to reach that goal. So, "how do I stay motivated?" I don't, I stay disciplined. And so can you.

Please email me or comment below if you have anything to add. We CAN feed off of each others' attitude and discipline. Those things are contagious so let's help each other out! Have a great week!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Start Swapping and Get Moving

It's the new year. Many of you have declared that this year you will make changes to your lifestyle. You will workout more, eat better, take better care of yourself, give up junk food, etc.... It's a new beginning. It's almost like a Monday, only it comes with a full year of commitment ahead of you. That can be pretty overwhelming when you look at it like that, but it doesn't have to be.

The best way to change is to take it slow. When you teach a person anything new, you teach it in stages. We learn in stages. It is a process. We can only handle so much at a time. If we put too much on ourselves at one time, we will likely run away overwhelmed. It is hard to remember that sometimes when it comes to healthy living. Even if you once were fit and now are far from fit, it is best to start out slow.

I may be certified in personal training, but we all learn with experience. I will never stop learning and growing. My views and opinions may change with age and experience, but the fact that jumping head first into anything usually results in failure will never change.

If you are facing a lifestyle change, I recommend starting with swapping a few bad habits with a healthier option. If your bad habit is to eat drive through for most meals, start by swapping to a healthy homemade breakfast burrito or some wheat toast and fruit for breakfast. Bring along some healthy snacks (string cheese, yogurt, nuts, a piece of fruit, etc) to work if that won't keep you satisfied until lunch. Eat when you're hungry. Don't starve yourself. Start by making small changes in some of your regular choices. If you starve yourself, you will fall flat on your face. You will have a moment when the hunger takes charge and you will eat anything in front of you. You will seek out dense, fatty, junk food and you will beat yourself up immediately afterward. Do not starve yourself!

Get moving. Do this a little at a time. Don't go to the gym on day 1 for two hours and work yourself so hard that you can't move the next day and never want to set foot in the gym again. Go for a walk. 30-45 minutes is a great start. You can slowly work up to some intervals where you add hills or even some jogging/running to your routine. Go to a class with a friend if that is what you enjoy. Look up workouts on YouTube and follow along with them. It doesn't have to cost a lot, and it doesn't have to be a time suck. Do whatever you enjoy the most, just get moving. I prefer to be outside. It makes me happy. I struggle to get strength training in because all I want to do is run. My point is, do what makes you happy. If playing basketball with your son makes you happy, do it. If cleaning the house for hours makes you happy, do that. Just make sure you are enjoying whatever you choose to use for exercise. The biggest benefit to exercise is what it does for your mood. If you dread the experience every time, you are not doing the right thing. There has to be something you can enjoy doing that gets you moving. Be creative. Turn on some loud music and dance if that's what makes you happy. Just get moving!

On another note....in case you are wondering where I have been lately, here is the story. I went back to work, I hated my job and missed taking care of my family, I quit my job, and now here I am. I have to say that I have the best husband in the world. Sorry ladies. It's true. He really is the best. I am blessed beyond belief with such a supportive man to share my life with. I really don't know how I got so lucky. I know I don't deserve him. Anyway, I just want to tell him thank you for taking such good care of me and our kids. He works hard to make sure that we are all taken care of. We have really come to realize that we use to spend a lot of time working just to acquire a bunch of crap, then complain about not having time to spend together as a family and about always being over the top busy. We have come to realize that we (our kids included) will not remember all of the stuff we accumulated. Stuff doesn't make memories, time does. We are not homebodies, so this is a little bit of an adjustment for us. We like to spend freely and go often, but it is exhausting and it is not necessary. We all make sacrifices, you just have to choose which sacrifices you want to make, and follow what the Lord lays on your heart. The thing I keep hearing Him tell me is that you can't get back time. You can always get more stuff, but you can't get more time.

Enough about that.... It is good to be writing again! I encourage you to reach out to me via email if I can help you in any way with your fitness goals and/or journey. No matter what struggles you face, you can always find small ways to start swapping and get moving!