What Motivates You?

The word fitness has many connotations, but for me it means: strong, capable, well-rounded, confident, and healthy. It is a source of joy, perspective, fun, community, grounding, stability, challenge, and accomplishment. Being fit makes me a better person. I am a better wife, mom, friend, neighbor because of my fitness. As a result, I am a fitness evangelist. I want to spread the word and share the endorphin gospel!

On Wednesday, I had the great opportunity of leading a workshop at a local mom’s group that I am a part of. The topic was “Living Fit”, a passion of mine. I led two 45 minute sessions with 50 or so women. It was a wonderfully enriching experience for me and the highlight of my week.

We started our time with a Ice Breaker Sweat Breaker – 10 minutes of intervals to get the heart rate up and give us a mid-morning boost. Any activity is better than no activity. Even a brief 10 minute workout can change your physical and mental wellbeing. This is a newly adopted concept for me, but one that I find so applicable to my daily life as a mom.

While there are so many components to fitness, I focused our attention on one thing: our motivation. Sticking to healthy habits isn’t easy for any of us, but it can be especially tricky for us moms. Our time/sleep/life is not our own. As we balance the demands of motherhood, maintaining a consistent and healthy life style is easier said than done. It’s all about the motivation. We must get the motivation right.

There are two kinds of motivators: constructive and destructive.

  • Constructive motivators affirm our value as individuals. They are sustainable, promote balance, and create healthy habits. Examples include: preparing for experiences we hope to have (hiking, snowboarding, surfing, successful forearm stand), short term goals (triathlon, race, etc), long term goals (running with your grandkids, live to be 100, etc.)
  • Destructive motivators tear down our value. They are unmaintainable and create/promote unhealthy behaviors. Examples include: distorted sense of what’s attainable, competition with others, physical appearance, clothing size, sex appeal, weight.

I spent most of my teens and 20’s focused on destructive motivators – mainly my weight and shape. I was obsessed with certain “trouble spots” and would go to unhealthy lengths in attempt to see changes. The result was a weak, skinny, anxious, insecure girl. While I may have looked good, I was far from fit and even further from happy.

For the past several years, I have been on a personal journey of letting go of the destructive motivators and choosing to focus on the goals that align with my personal values of improving myself as a wife, mother, friend, and neighbor. It is not easy for me. I find myself easily caught up in the metrics that don’t matter – I have to consciously decide to let go. For instance, at the doctors office, I intentionally turn around on the scale so that I cannot see my weight. That number has held my attention for long enough. That number is a trap. It’s bull shit. It reflects nothing of my value. It is not representative of my fitness. That number is irrelevant. You know what else is irrelevant? Whether or not I have a thigh-gap (we have already talked about that here). Other members of the Irrelvant Club include: the stretch marks on my hips, the back chub around my bra, and the dimples on my buns. Forget about it! It is not relevant.

On the contrast, I focus on the goals that sustain a lifetime of fitness, health, balance, and confidence. These motivators support my role as mom/wife/world citizen and encourage me to fully commit myself to fitness. A few of my motivators…

  • My Fun Fit Friends community
  • Feeling comfortable in my own skin
  • The dream of running with my grandkids in a baby jogger
  • Set an example for my daughters – strong, capable, confident, happy, joyful,
  • My body is a tool that allows me to interact with the world – I don’t want my body to limit my experiences
  • Hiking, running, surfing, snowboarding, backpacking with my husband
  • I will be a runner, forever and always
  • Aspiring yogi trickster

By focusing on these motivators, I have improved my health and fitness. As a matter of fact, I have never been so fit (capable, strong, confident, healthy, balanced, joyful) in my life. So, I will continue to spread the good word – focus on what is good, true, valuable, and relevant.

Exploring the trails is one of my favorite things to do as a family.

Exploring the trails is one of my favorite things to do as a family.

Running with my husband and kids is the best. Ever.

Running with my husband and kids is the best. Ever.

What motivates you, my dear Fit Friend? Are you consumed with the destructive, albeit tempting, motivators? Have you considered the freedom, strength and fitness that could result in you letting go of those ideals? I challenge you to identify what motivates you and for each motivator ask yourself this question:

Does this goal affirm my value as a friend/daughter/wife/mother/neighbor? If the answer is, “no”, let that shit go!

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  • Reply
    03/08/2014 at 3:44 am

    Sounds like we’ve had a similar path to fitness. Most of my 20’s I beat myself up about my body and only now feeling happier and finding peace with myself. Great story as ever!

    • Reply
      03/08/2014 at 3:23 pm

      I’m so happy for both of us! It’s feels good to have made progress.

  • Reply
    03/08/2014 at 7:58 am

    Great post. In my 40s now, I still struggle with body image but it’s changed in the sense that I’m more aware of that negative voice inside and the ability to let it go. At this point in my life, I’m enjoying exploring new fitness goals and branching out from only running (which will always be a love). Flexibility is a big one for me.

    Ps: love your daughter’s curly hair!

  • Reply
    03/09/2014 at 3:09 pm

    Great post! I love this!

  • Reply
    Day 77: Increase your Life Motivation!
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    […] What Motivates You? […]

  • Reply
    03/23/2014 at 8:40 am

    I really identify with the destructive motivators.. I am in my mid-twenties and I find these the hardest to let go of – we’re our own worst critic and all that.

    I think the challenge is that I am fixated on an ideal shape in my head – not even a tangible number (ie weight) so it’s possibly even more unrealistic! I hope I can get to the same place you are sometime soon, by focusing on constructive motivators.

    Great blog!

    • Reply
      03/24/2014 at 1:33 pm

      I hope you can too – it’s amazing the good that happens when you let go of that junk. It takes time. Enjoy the day!

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