Full disclosure this post is just as much for me as it is for you. January is my least favorite, least motivated month of the year. I mean it’s totally for you so you keep your ‘get fit’ resolution to yourself. Either way I thought I’d share some of the weird little things I do to keep me motivated to stay fit. I want to focus on the weird ones here but I have a couple of other posts about staying motivated in more traditional ways which I’ll list later. Sure there are lots of more universally applicable things out there but for everyone a lot of what keeps a person passionate about are really individual. For that reason I figured I’d share some of those personal reasons for me. These are my weird tips your not likely to find anywhere else. That’s because I’m a little extra weird.
Give yourself an iTunes budget
Sorry had to do that again before writing that, 15 new songs and $20 lighter, but it’s all good. Any playlist can get stale even one with 250 songs totaling 16 hours of music but I digress. If you find yourself lacking motivation give yourself an iTunes budget and add those songs to your appropriate playlists. Then you have to exercise and wait for your new songs to play. It might take a little while but… you’ll be so excited when a new song comes on!
Accept expensive gifts
I am how do I put this, a little cheap, but my partner is a bit of a spender it all works out in the wash I swear. One good and bad thing about that situation is he’s always trying or succeeding in buying me things I:
- Don’t really need
- Wouldn’t buy for myself
- Probably can’t justify
Things like apple watches, bike trainers, road bikes (I actually needed that one), all the winter running gear, paddle boards, car top racks, trolleys and weirdly not sneakers. That’s just the fitness stuff. We actually had unpleasantness nearing a fight about the way I handled the birthday paddle board so I’ve changed my tune. But I also realized that in addition to the fact that I should be more graceful about accepting these gifts its actually weirdly motivating. It makes me feel a little (okay a lot) guilty if I don’t use them a decent amount and so that’s weirdly motivating. It also made me discover new passions like winter running, paddle boarding and triathlons so that’s cool too!
Pick an arbitrary number and make it happen for no reason
Just pick a number for a month or year and then make it happen for no good reason at all because why not? My Nike running app has monthly challenges of 50k or 100k. Last year I only missed 2 of the 50k challenges in January and December but I did crush the 100k challenge a couple of times. But seeing that at the end of the year really made me want to get the 50k every month this year so I think I’ll do that. Just pick a number, make a promise to yourself and then make it happen.
Look at the forecast and pick a ‘running day’ or two each week
Every week I look ahead at the forecast and pick out at least a couple of running days when I’m not in training. When I am in training it’s basically not optional to skip. But if you look at your schedule for the week and if you’ll be outside the forecast and decide at the outset Tuesday and Friday are the best days for you, It’s sort of like making a promise to yourself. Then it gets just a bit harder to break it.
Volunteer for fitness things
I could do more of this than I do, Most of my volunteer stuff isn’t fitness stuff at all at least formally. For a few years now I’ve been our family’s designated Brain Tumor Runner for the Foundation each year. This year I plan to finally volunteer for our city’s big race. We both do a decent amount of helping our friends and family and can be counted on in a pinch. Often it’s about taking time away from our work project in a busy time of year. This means we end up doing crazy things like taking a roof off a house and the existing top floor on Saturday morning, re-framing it in the afternoon, hand setting the trusses on Sunday, sheeting the roof and shingling it as the sun sets on Sunday night. Stuff like that. Sometimes it’s the triathlon that makes you feel like a warrior, sometimes it’s giving back.
Dress for it and tell people you’re going
If I know I really should go for a run and that I’ll enjoy it if I do I’ll sometimes dress for it completely and then just sit. That kinda looks weird and people around you ask if your going running for obvious reasons and then I usually do. Weird but it works for me.
Try to see it as self care me time
Self care isn’t all mud masks, scented candles and bath bombs, I personally wish that it was but… Some of it has to be the harder stuff too. Things like eating a balanced healthy diet, honest journaling, fixing or letting hard relationships go and taking your health seriously. For me a candlelit bubble bath can fix a bad day or make a dent an a hard week but working out and challenging myself really helps with the other harder stuff. It’s not always easy but there is a reason people swear running is their therapy and their religion. I don’t care if your Shalane Flanagan or Eliud Kipchoge no one can run away from their own thoughts. I try to think of it as the heavy lifter on the self care department. Sometimes if I know I have a big problem to deal with I’ll go for a run or a ride and think on it even if I don’t want to.
The other side of this for me is pushing my limits racing. Training for and participating in my biggest challenge ever by definition gets me into the best physical shape of my life and the mental aspects are almost as obvious. Plus the natural dopamine rush that comes with accomplishing a long term goal is like no drug out there (I’m guessing). Looking at taking good care of myself physically as the top tier of self-care in my life really changes the game for me.
Tell a loved one why it’s important to you and ask to be nagged
This one doesn’t really work that well for me as there is pretty much no nagging in our relationship. Yes you heard that right and thinking back on it I don’t even think honey nagged the kids when they were little. He was more of a tell, remind, threat and than follow through on consequences type. I’ve tried getting him to nag me to do knee exercises and remind me of winter race dates but he lacks follow through. I still put it on here because when he does it’s really helpful in keeping the fitness fires burning but it rarely lasts the week. If your loved one is a let’s call it, a habitual reminder, perhaps you can channel that power for good.
Tell people your PR plans and agree that you are awesome or crazy
Almost nothing, while that’s an exaggeration, bugs me as much as the humble brag. While jellyfish comments are close but a humble brag ohhh that boils my blood! I do things other people don’t do and can’t do. I have goals that aren’t important to others and sometimes they’re pretty extreme but they are important to me. So rather than dismissing my (somewhat) big accomplishments I own them. I tell people I’m working on it as hard as I am in training and the yes it is a big deal in my life right now. Sometimes I’ll fess up to going for a PR and when people say “that’s amazing!” I mostly agree with them. I personally think it’s nicer to own your accomplishment than to dismiss it. If someone who’s not active gives me a big compliment I have one of two choices:
- Dismiss it: I could say something like, “It’s no big deal anyone who actually does the training can run a half marathon. Even my 65 year old step dad can run a 10k and he’s been at it less than a year.”
- Accept gracefully: and say something like “Thank you so much! I was a really big deal for me at least. It felt so good finally crossing that finish line after months of training, life goal check!” Then optionally you can offer to show them you medal. I like this option although I’ve been told it’s not always appropriate.
Which answer is more likely to motivate someone to reach for their own goals? Which is less insulting to that person? Which is nicer to other runners I know? Which option is more likely to keep you motivated for the next goal?
Make a fitness friend you look up to and tell them that
I do yoga with some amazing fitness ladies who are getting on to twice my age and can kick my ass six ways from Sunday. Between the three of them they can run farther faster than me, do inversions that would lead me to spinal injury, leave me in the dust on the bike, swim where I wouldn’t dare and lift more than me and then pick me up. Sometimes when I have tried I can’t keep up with them! I might run the odd slow half half but some of these ladies Boston Qualify every year for 10 years straight! None of them are younger than 60! Before I told them how much I looked up to them I spent a lot of time thinking about it. Telling them that I looked up to them and felt honored to sometimes be included in the group was a really cool experience. Once I told them how much it meant to me I found that it made me want to make them proud of me and it actually made me more passionate about my fitness goals.
Share on your social
I like posting fitness stuff on my social media channels but I’m not sure how it goes down on my personal page so I just share the bigger stuff. When I started an instagram page for my blog I was sort of dreading it but it turned out to be literally one of my favorite things. Not always but usually when I workout I take a picture and post about it. I’ll fess up here like 80% of the time. Gotta get that content after all. I love thinking about cool spots to take a picture and thinking about my shot. Photography is also a hobby and I guess a skill of mine. It gives me something else to focus on during tough runs. It’s also made my life here blogging a lot easier. When I want a picture of me doing, wearing or looking at something chances are I already have it. I think if you find it motivating to post a few times a week about your workouts go for it. Lots of people post about their kids way more often than that. If you like the idea then consider setting up a separate instagram just for that. I like interacting with people on there who are at different points on their fitness and health journeys. As much as I thought that I wouldn’t like it it’s become a cool fun thing in my life where I hang out with like-minded people.
Links you might find motivating
- Check out my Instagram!
- Fitness motivation vs commitment how to foster both
- How to hack your exercise motivation
- Make working out fun again: How to get your groove back
- That whole motivation tab at the top!
Everyone’s fitness reasons and the source of their passion is different. It’s sort of up to you to find the source of your passion. If you’re looking online for #fitnessmotivation and #Fitspo and not finding it working that well for you take heart. You’re likely to find the same ideas recycled over and over again. It’s for that reason I figured I’d share some of mine. What weird little things or thought processes keep your passion for whatever you do strong. Does it just happen or do you too have to work on it?