The Motivation Post

Every now and then, I’ll get a comment from someone about how motivated I am when it comes to working out. But the thing is, I don’t necessarily feel motivated. I just feel like it’s part of my every day life – kinda like my addiction to TV, bad jokes, and thought bubbles.

Basically, I do it because it makes me feel good, so I don’t think about it much – until now. So, here are the things that keep me motivated enough that I don’t have to think about motivation.

1. Scheduling Workouts

At the end of each month, I schedule my workouts for the coming month with my personal trainer. I make sure to schedule them around my marathon training and around any plans I may already have set.

I pay for all the sessions up front, so they are set in stone unless there is some type of unforeseen circumstance. There are times when a scheduled work out rolls around and I don’t want to do it. But that’s why I have a schedule to begin with. So I’m kept accountable and I show up.

Oh, and I don’t view a last minute happy hour as an unforeseen circumstance. I schedule all my social activities that arise later on around my workouts.

2. Working Out with a Friend

There’s a reason I work out with personal trainers. There is NO WAY I would do weight training on my own. I could run all day long by myself, but when it comes to weights, if someone isn’t there making me do it…I won’t.

If you can’t afford a personal trainer, find a friend. They keep you accountable and more likely to stick to your schedule. I used to get frustrated by all the money I put toward personal training each month. But then I discovered it’s a big part of my motivation. It’s for my health and that’s never a bad thing. Plus, this money used to go to dive bars every weekend not so long ago. I’d rather that money go toward improving how I look and feel about myself than to a bunch of drinks that will make me gain weight.

3. Surrounding Yourself with Like-minded People

I like being around other people that are active. Working out with my hubs is 100 times better than working out by myself. Running a race with a friend is so much more fun than running a race without one. And meeting my running group at 5am on Saturday morning to run 15 miles is way better than running 15 miles by myself just so I can sleep in.

People who have the same interests keep you motivated.

4. I’ll Never Forget I Used to Look Like This

I won’t lie. It scares the crap out of me to ever look like this again. Mostly the hair. And that tank top. Oh yeah, the weight too.

Get a crappy picture of yourself and post it on the fridge for some motivation to pass up that late night ice cream. (Psst…Hi Lisa!)

5. Reading Success Stories

One thing I like to do is browse the Health page on MSN. They always have success stories. I love the before and after ones where someone has totally overhauled their life and lost a ton of weight. If that person can lose 100 lbs, I can get my ass off the couch and do something active for 30 minutes a day.

5. Getting Compliments and Seeing Results

When I first joined Weight Watchers and lost 26lbs, I couldn’t believe how many people complimented me. It made me want to keep doing what I was doing. It felt great. Once those compliments start coming in, be it for weight loss, or finally doing your first non-girly push-up, it keeps you going.

6. Keeping a Routine

The more I work out, the more I want to work out. Getting into a workout routine is amazing like that. Even on vacation, I try to plan workouts because I feel so much better when I do.

In the past, when I’ve taken a few weeks off from working out, I have no desire to get back into it. If any of you out there are in a workout rut where you just can’t get back on the wagon, set a workout schedule for 2 weeks. Make sure it’s one that works for you and your current schedule. If you don’t normally get up and work out in the morning, you’re not going to magically start loving it.

Set a schedule for whatever activity you like that you can stick to for two weeks, and after those two weeks, you will feel motivated to do more. It always works for me.

7. Buying Something New

Everyone has bad days. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and think everything in my closet looks terrible on me and I feel like a cow. Some days you eat more than you want to and the scale isn’t where you want it to be. Well, that happens to everyone and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. When those days are at their worst for me, I do my hair like I’m going out on a Friday night – even if I’m staying in the house. Good hair always makes me feel better even if my muffin top is covering my belt that day.

Another thing that helps me is buying a new shirt. Wearing something new always makes me feel better. (Note: This does not work for pants. Get the SHIRT.)  For everyone that says they can’t afford new clothes, there’s a cute $4.99 shirt at Ross waiting for you.

Not that Ross.

8. Getting Off the Couch

Stop sitting on the couch and feeling sorry for yourself. Do something active. It’s not too late. Vacuum, stretch, walk around your neighborhood, go for a run, jog in place, do some jumping jacks, ride a bike, go to spin class, do sit ups during commercials,  see how many lunges you can do in a minute. Do something. If my 73 year old mom can walk around downtown San Diego with me for 8 hours, you can get off the couch.

(Oh, and isn’t my niece adorable? Yep. She is.)

What are your motivation tips?


Filed under Running Tips

34 responses to “The Motivation Post

  1. I loved this post, Paula! And I laughed out loud at your Ross reference. I love that lil’ paleontologist! 🙂

  2. Kim

    Umm.. Why does it look like Brittney has a tiny penis poking out from between her legs?

  3. 2blu2btru

    Really great post! I may have to print this one off…I have a vast assortment of awful photos to choose from, LOL. I’m in a bit of a rut myself…although I’ve consistently went to Saturday morning yoga. Maybe I just need more yoga in my life? Hmm…Thanks for the great tips!

  4. Well said, though I respectfully disagree on the unscheduled happy hour. Those are of quasi-spiritual significance and should be given the proper respect and priority.

  5. LOVE this post! Just the kick in the rear that I needed right about now. I am such an organized and scheduled person that I think I’ll really benefit from planning out my workouts for the month like you do. I may not have a personal trainer, but I’ll make my own little calendar at home or something!

    PS…I always look at my before pics too!! Because even though I’m not quite where I want to be right now, I’ve been much much heavier. I should probably dig some of those up today. They usually scare me back into shape!

  6. Another great post! You’re popping them out left & right these days. I think it’s so brave and admirable that you posted a picture of yourself where you’re not at your happy weight. This will be motivational to so many other people too!

    And it really is true what they say about working out: when you do it long enough, it becomes more of a part of your life than not doing so. I’ve definitely realized that after 4 or 5 days, I start to feel like garbage when I don’t work out. And I LOVE it! The feeling that it’s normal to workout-not feeling like garbage….that wasn’t very clear.

  7. Kim

    What if I am still my before pic? lol. I have only lost about 5lbs over the last couple of months. I am starting to become obsessed. I write EVERYTHING down – calorie counts, water intake, what workout(s) I did, my daily weight etc. However, I have noticed that I have ton more energy and I look forward to working out. I have been scheduling my workouts about three days in advance and since I cant afford a trainer – I use workout tapes so I can flex my workouts around whatever may come up. I run at night – everyother night – and use C25k app on my iPhone. The runs are getting easier, but I am not getting any faster- still a slug.

    • Speed comes with distance, so don’t even worry about that. If you notice yourself having more energy and looking forward to working out, THAT is what matters. And I write down what I eat too. It sucks, but it helps big time!

  8. I’ve been curious about working out with a personal trainer but I really have no issues getting motivated to weight lift on my own. I think it would be more to establish a good routine because sometimes I kinda wander from machine to machine if I forget my plan at home.

  9. Katie

    Totally unrelated to the post topic, but when did we get old enough for our nieces to look that ‘old’ (as in, holy crap college isn’t THAT far off)?! Make them stop aging, please!

    Also, I could totally use a drill sergeant. Maybe then I’d be less lazy. I’ve been playing with my diet and trying to up my exercise (endless battle), but I feel lost at finding results. I know it takes time, but I’ve been half-assing it for too long, I think. Less carbs, more exercise, and more sleep needed.

    My before pics? Yeah, I would say they are now too. I have fluctuated within 20 pounds up and down over the years. UGH! I don’t even know what I weigh right now, but all of my clothes still fit… so that’s something.

    • Yeah, it takes a lot of dedication. I’ve been working out like a dog for at least a month and have lost maybe 2 lbs. But I do feel stronger, so that’s something. Just gotta keep at it and eventually you get there.

      And, YES. My neice does need to stop aging! It’s ridiculous. I have a pic holding her when she was like, 3 months old. How did this aging thing happen?

  10. Love your tips! … becuase they’re the same as mine! the biggest one is having a schedule and stickign to it… the minute I start blowing off workotus it’s a snowball effect and i just feel worse and worse!

  11. Stefanie@RUNON

    I got myself some new shoes, compression sleeves, and a foam roller. Just now. Now I HAVE to workout. Can’t let those things go to waste, ya know? Geez, why did I do that?? 🙂

  12. I also wondered why Brittany had an extra appendage. Hmm….

  13. Pam

    This is such an awesome post! I feel the same way sometimes when people say stuff like how they wish they had my “dedication” or something. I don’t feel like I have any at all! I just got in a habit/routine, and it feels weird now if I skip a workout.

    Also, I’ve never seen your before picture. Great job on making a huge change!!

  14. Love your blog and enjoyed reading. I’m going to work on that set in stone schedual!

    New kicks motivate me… I need to get some soon my motivation has been lackluster lately!

  15. These are great suggestions! I think my problem is that I never make it to the people telling me I look awesome phase, so I get discouraged.

  16. As a PT I fully support this post 🙂

  17. I keep begging people to go see Britney with me, but so far no luck. She was even on the CLE Groupon for a couple of days. Would you like to come visit Ohio? It’s such a very nice place. (;

    I schedule like a motha. I have an excel spreadsheet with my training program on it as well as a dry erase board calendar where I write in my workouts for the month.

    I also think it helps that I diversify. This week I have soccer, softball, boxing, and running. That way I don’t get bored.

    PS boxing is bad ass. I have pink gloves.

  18. I LOVE these tips Paula! 🙂 My main motivation is also just because it makes me feel good, both physically and emotionally.

    I would also add to simply do the activities that you enjoy. if you don’t enjoy it, you will begin to dread it!

  19. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog!! Your bunny is seriously cute. I usually try to think about how good I feel after working out (especially a run), and run with family\friend. Plus, I’m scared of looking like I did when I gave the Michelin Man a run for his money!!

  20. Great post! To get myself motivated, I usually sign up for a race. Orrrr bust out my fat pictures in a bikini. Yikes. That definitely makes me want to get my sweat on!

  21. Awesome post!!

    It is so much easier when it is just part of your day. Like brushing your teeth, showering (okay…maybe not every day? ha!), having a margarita, etc.

  22. Great post! Working out with a partner is the only thing that gets me out of bed 99% of the time! I also like to look at my “fat” pics and realize how far I have come. And….with just a few days off it is hard to get back in the routine. I’m scared if I ever stop for longer than that I will never start again!

  23. Great Post! I love a picture of Ross anyday!

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  25. You’ve inspired me to go to the gym tonight. Thanks a lot.

  26. adrianna

    great post. my motivation basically comes from the fact i dont want to get fat again. i was so unhealthy and unhappy. there was then a point when i worked out only to burn cals, but thank goodness my mindset has changed. now i really do it bc it makes me feel so good about myself, and helps release all the stress of the day. its my time to sweat like a pig; love it. ok, i also love sweets…big motivating factor there.

    • Yes, I was the same way. Sometimes I still am if I know I’m going to eat more that day. But I definitely do it because it makes me feel great. Plus, cross training totally makes a different for me. I don’t feel like I’m strong in just one area. 🙂

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