A real life friend but also a fellow blogger/reader asked me the question recently: “What motivates you? What keeps you working so hard toward this goal?”
That’s a good question.
I’ve been thinking about the answer to that question for the last day or so, and I have a few thoughts on the subject. But in order to get to those thoughts, I thought some background would be helpful. If you don’t care about the backstory – you can skip right down to the list near the bottom.
When I first lost weight back in 2004-2005, I was motivated by the fact that I was in my early 20’s and heavier than I’d ever been in my life. I was so unhappy with myself, and felt like a lot of things were out of control in my life. I was in a unique situation during that period of my life where I had a job that required me to be up and moving around all day long, and I was really poor and pretty much friendless as I was living back in my hometown after all my other friends had moved away. I really had no excuses to NOT do something about my weight. It felt like the one thing I could control. I was motivated to just make a change in my life as I prepared for whatever life was going to hand me next.
When I lost the weight, I moved back to where I live now – and had a job I loved, surrounded by awesome friends again and made the decision to end a long term relationship. I kept the weight off and worked towards being more “fit” during this time of my life because I was motivated to “not be the fat girl” at the bar. Ironically this only landed me in a relationship with someone who I allowed to defeat me in almost every way and during that relationship I lost my motivation completely and gained the weight again.
When I finally got the courage to end that relationship (almost 4 years later), I was unhealthy inside and out. I needed a change, I needed to get my head on straight and figure out what I really wanted and needed in my life. That is when I found TurboKick at my gym. It was the first workout I had ever been to that was sort of fun. An hour would pass and I’d be tired, but it didn’t feel like I had just worked out for an hour – you know? This was a pivotal change for me, because I discovered that doing something healthy actually made me happy. It was also a moment when I discovered that trying to be healthy shouldn’t always be about someone else. It wasn’t about trying to be attractive for a guy, or because I had no other distractions in my life. It was completely selfish and at the same time, honorable.
That was about 4 years ago. But this crossover from just working out because I need to over to working out because it’s something I can enjoy started a whole new journey for me. I found confidence I never knew existed and my choices to be healthier made my life easier in a lot of ways. I started to lose the weight again – and this time, it was for the right reason and in the right way – diet and exercise.So that brings me to my life now – where, I’ve had some ups and downs with keeping the weight off despite being consistent with working out and eating well.
Sometimes life has other plans for us and we have to learn from them. But the key is – we have to learn from them, not allow them to define or defeat us. Losing weight is easy when there are no distractions. But my life without all the distractions would be pretty boring. So I have to find interesting ways to keep myself motivated.
1) Trying new things motivates me. Competing in races last year was a completely new challenge. Never in my life would I have been the type of person to sign up for a Sprint Triathlon or 5k race. But it forced me to re-learn how to swim, really get serious about the bike and I pushed myself to run a full 5K. It also gave me goals that weren’t really weight loss goals – more like athletic goals and that helped.
2) I always envision the future me – and when I see myself in the future, I am not a chubby old lady. I am a fit person who has a good grasp on moderation. I also see myself as a mom. Something that motivates me everyday is to try and be the type of person who my future child will aspire to be like – a mom who can keep up, a mom who is still active and not afraid to try new things. I want to be that person in the future – and it motivates me to keep working toward my goals.
3) I am not the best version of me yet. Understanding that this process is helping me build strength not only in my muscles but in my soul is helpful. I’m not who I want to be just yet – there is more work to do. I am closer every day, but I understand and accept that my life is a work in progress and always will be – there will never be a time where I can just stop trying to stay motivated, it needs to be a lifelong commitment to being healthy.
4) Sharing my thoughts and innermost feelings with others helps me stay motivated. Why else would I blog? You guys help hold me accountable (even if i don’t know who all reads this). Today while I was on my 20 mile bike ride, I was the last one in the group (I’ve not been on the bike in about 6 months) and I kept feeling like a total loser. But then i thought, what would my friends and readers say if I just gave up? That is not a good example. So I kept going and I know that even though today’s ride was hard – the next one won’t be as bad. Having a supportive group of people in your life is so important, and a lot of times – that’s more than just one person. You have to find those people and know you are accountable to them and they are to you. This helps me a lot.
So what motivates me? What keeps me working so hard toward this goal? I’m not sure there is one simple answer to that because my motivation – as you can see – comes from a lot of different areas. But ultimately, I’m driven by the desire to be the best version of myself because I know I am happier when I’m healthier. Bottom line.