Recently an acquaintance asked, “Why do you focus so much on races and race results on your website when you always lose?”
Ouch! That sure could hurt if I followed her definition of winning.
Every time I cross the finish line, I win. Every time I show up, I win.
Signing up for a race or triathlon is my motivation to get moving. Each time I get a workout done, I also win. That’s because I beat my inner demons of laziness, self-criticism, and procrastination. Because I made a promise to myself to become fitter, stronger, and healthier, I manage to eat less sugary treats and chocolate.
Motivation in itself isn’t good or bad. It’s the reason for that motivation. If we’re facing a health issue that exercise and healthy eating may improve, then we’re motivated by fear of losing our health…or dying. If we’re longing to run like we did in our youth, then we’re motivated by desire.
However, motivation isn’t static. It ebbs when our fears and self-doubts chase it away into the shadows. It rises when excitement and a sense of fun grow from within us.
I confess: I did nothing last week. No strength training sessions. No walking or indoor cycling workouts. Not even a single sit up or leg lift. Sure, I could point to numerous “reasons” such as hot summer weather, business travel, interruptions, surprises, repairs, family needs, home improvement work, and daily household tasks that demanded my attention.
My inner three-year-old got the best of me and didn’t want to play at anything. My adult inner critic, who is always frustrated and upset at anything and everything, started chastising me for not keeping my promise to myself, letting that youngster call the shots, calling me a loser and poser, and laughing at the idea that I’ll be able to cycle a 5K hill climb in less than three months. Meanwhile, the three-year-old is sticking her tongue out at both of us and pouting.
Eghads, is it any wonder I wanted to dive into a gallon of chocolate ice cream?
Will one week of no workouts harm my race results in October? Maybe.
Will my motivation to get moving ever come back? Yes, it always does.
That’s because in the next moment, I have another chance to remember why I do this fitness thing, how good it makes me feel, and get fired up and back into the groove.
My motivation will rise with the tide.