Motivation Monday: No Deadlines

Happy first Monday of August!  I’ve always loved this time of year – it’s traditionally been a time of moving (one year to Memphis, one year to Ireland, one year within Memphis, one year to Austin, one year within Austin, last year to Tulsa), a time of starting training plans for fall races, a time of celebrating my birthday (!!), going back to school, and perhaps, if I’m lucky, a slight dip in average temperatures by that last week.

This year I’m stuck.  I’m not moving (thankfully actually).  I’m unlikely coaching a running group this year so am thinking of going for a PR at the Route 66 Run.  That’s 16 weeks away.  I’ve also been toying with the idea of 12 weeks of big lifting at the gym to get some muscles back.  Or maybe 12 weeks of straight PiYo.  Who knows?

I do know one thing – for me, and I think people in general, it’s important to have a timeline and some kind of goal.  Otherwise your workouts and daily decisions have no direction.

Do I have a goal, or do I want to sleep until 10am?  That answer is simple with no driving force.  It’s a little less simple, but still obvious.

So, I’ll use this week to figure out where I’m headed in the fall, and to play around with some of the workouts I’d like to try in the fall as well.  I did get up and do a 45 minute run this morning to keep the blood flowing!

What are you working on this fall?

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Inspiration

1. the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something.  2.  the drawing in of breath

It’s interesting to me the stark difference in these two definitions for the same word.  There’s a proper grammatical term for this which I can’t remember (sorry Mrs. Thacker).  At first glance these two definitions for the word “inspiration” seem miles apart.  They are actually quite related.
I’ve been thinking about inspiration over the past few days.  Inspiration in the form of the first definition.  Recently with the big transition from Austin to Tulsa, arranging things in the house, recruiting new athletes for the team and challenging the current ones, I’ve lost sight of my personal inspiration.  I’m not trying to make excuses but I’m coming clean to all y’all.
In the almost six weeks I’ve been here I’ve skipped some workouts, eaten delicious chocolate chip cookies for days in a row, and had more to drink than in almost my entire two years in Austin
I’m telling you this, not to discredit myself as a fitness professional but to try to explain a deeper desire I have for all of you.  I hope, more than having a perfect diet, more than never missing a workout and more than being a perfect size 2, you realize that this “healthy lifestyle” will have ups and downs.  There will be good phases and bad phases.  Peaks and valleys.  Seasons.  But more than anything I want you to be able to let go sometimes, but still come back to what you know makes you feel good.  And to want to come back to what makes you feel good.
Over the past few days I’ve started to find inspiration in the season change.  Summer is slipping slowly into fall.   Although there is a date on the calendar when this seasonal change occurs, in real life it is a slower and less pronounced transition.  Each leaf takes it’s time turning from green to warm.  Soft to crisp.  A few 90 degree days slip in between the 60s and 70s.  The only thing that comes out full force at the first sign of fall are the boots and orders for pumpkin-flavored things.
I am transitioning into a new life.  New city.  New friends.  New clients.  New routines.  New spots.  New trails.  I shouldn’t have expected to adapt to it instantaneously.  I certainly got here and hit the ground running with the house, and the business and other jobs to make ends meet.  And in that mess I lost my personal commitment and daily intentionality.  But, just as the season doesn’t arrive on the day the calendar dictates, I have not fully arrived despite August 9 being my moving date.   As fall creeps in on September, I’m feeling the moving and settling season slip into a comfortable and routined phase.
As summer continues to slip into fall I’m committing to more intentionality.  More time in the morning with myself and my writing.  Regular running (4 times per week), weights (2-3 times per week), yoga (as needed).   Walks for Miley.  More eating at home, both for health and wealth purposes.  These are the daily things that will help me breathe life into my bigger dreams of continuing to inspire people to live their best lives.  To make the small but scary changes out of old habits.  To work towards my personal studio.  It’s time to end the transition and welcome the new season.
Your transition into fitness and health doesn’t have to be all or none.  This journey will have its seasons too, and anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is superhuman or bullshitting you.  I’m not here to do that.  Hold tight to whatever it is that inspires you.  A superstar athlete.  Your younger brother who won’t let go of a childhood dream despite repeated injuries.  Your boss who keeps her head up despite a sick husband and hospitalized daughter.  A friend who is unhappy in her situation so is facing fears to make change.  Your clients who show up day after day ready to work hard and get better.  Inspiration is out there – find yours and hold onto it, take a deep breath and exhale that inspiration into your dreams.
Inspiration in the Transition

Inspiration in the Transition

 

Possibilities

Good morning y’all.  I’ve been quiet on the blog a bit recently.  Mostly that’s because there’s been some serious soul-searching going on.  For a while I was really gung-ho about Tulsa and this rapidly approaching move.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still coming, and willingly, I’ve just had some new thoughts.  

It was the type of gung-ho that comes with the thrill of making big decisions.  The thrill (for me anyway) of having a plan.  A direction.  A next step.  I finally knew what I would do in August and was ready to zip through the summer right into the next chapter of my life.

Well, here I am, exactly halfway through this summer, staring at empty-but-assembled-and-waiting-for-contents boxes in my living room and a mild panic is setting in.

What the hell am I going to do when I get there?!

Who am I going to hang out with (I can’t live with Katie and Justin forever!)?!

How will I make enough money to pay for this house?!

What if I don’t like my neighbors?!

How will I put up with the Thunder fans?

What happens when something in the house breaks and there’s no landlord, husband or dad around to call to fix it?!

These thoughts just snuck up on me one day and overwhelmed my mind, so I decided the best approach was to just STOP.

Stop planning every aspect of the business.  I know what I love to do.  I know what people say I’m good at.  I can figure out how to blend it into a living over the course of time.

Stop scouring the internet for meet-up groups.  If I wait until I get into town, I can use Tinder to find friends in my immediate vicinity….kidding.  I can use Foolish Things, my sense for outdoor adventure and my friendly personality to meet new friends.  Miley’s always an energetic ice breaker too.

Stop worrying about a financial business plan.  Certainly I have an idea of a monthly income to shoot for, but if it takes a few months to build it up solely through training and fitness, I’m certainly not too good to put in some hours behind a bar or as a kid sitter.

Stop anticipating the neighbors.  I make excellent desserts.  Plus, I just need to remember I’ve already won them over by setting the alarm off and having the police come on the first night in the house.

Stop fretting about the Thunder fans.  I’ve got enough Grizzly gear and pride to stand up to them.  And a rematch is almost a year away; plenty of stress-free peace time between the two teams.

Stop anticipating problems with the house.  Sure the only home-maintenance skills I’ve got up my sleeves are changing light bulbs and plunging toilets, but every leaky sink and broken sump pump is a learning opportunity.  I don’t need a man in landlord, husband or dad form to save me (though, Pops I might be calling you for advice if Google fails to provide proper step by step instruction).

Stop.  Breathe.  Take it one day at a time.  Enjoy the time I have left in Austin.  Enjoy the people here, the comfort of knowing where things are and what each day will hold.  Recognize the beauty of this uncertainty.  The only thing that is set in stone for August is where I’ll live and my Runnin’ Fools.  Everything else from my friends to my day job to my paint colors to my grocery store is up for choosing.  Oh the possibilities.

Positive Mornings

Happy Graduation Week y’all!  Congrats to those of you who graduated this past weekend (most of my Indiana crowd) and those of you who will this weekend (the UT crew)!

I’m still enjoying the extra time without the demands of class, homework, teaching and summer work 🙂  One of my favorite things is having calm back in the mornings.  I know that soon the rush of getting a run/workout in, showering (if my morning clients are lucky), eating and taking care of Miley will be back and my body will be responding mostly to habits.  But right now I get to savor the extra time.

This morning I zombie walked to the coffee (not before considering a snooze fest, boy am I glad I skipped that!) and made it out the door in time to meet Gilbert for today’s workout by 5:45.  We did a circuit/core workout with some 400s mixed in at Austin High.

When I got home, I threw together a delicious breakfast of 1 fried egg, 1/2 cup of black beans, 2 tbsp pico and 1 tbsp guacamole plus half a grapefruit and sat down for some morning reflection time.  I really do cherish these quiet moments in the morning and find that my days are more thoughtful, productive and happy if I take just a few minutes to reflect.

Positive thoughts and Texas pride.

Positive thoughts and Texas pride.

If you haven’t had time to reflect, or pick out a thought for the day, take a minute now!  It can change the way your day goes.

Do you take time in the morning to sit for a minute?  Or are you on the go as soon as you’re up?  How do you add positivity to your day?

Motivation Monday: My Problem with Fitspiration

Last week I wrote a post on setting goals, and another one about steps to take for enhancing your chances of success.  I’d like to turn Mondays into a regular motivational post, just to keep that fire lit.  When I searched “motivation” on Pinterest this morning, I was hoping for some inspiring quotes.  Instead, I was bombarded with images of (mostly) women’s half-naked bodies.

If you’ve been around Pinterest or in the fitness world for a while, you’re familiar with what I’m talking about.  The phenomenon actually has some terminology dedicated to it: fitspiration, thispiration, fitspo, thinspo.  (If you’re not familiar with this, search “motivation” on Pinterest).  There it all is.

First result for Google search: “fitness motivation women” Motivated?

Well, it all pisses me off (and not just me – here and there are some other viewpoints).

I personally am not motivated by these graphics (and if you are, more power to you!)  Instead I’m shamed into believing that I still haven’t reached that ideal body.  I’m not inspired to run another mile because after 20+ half marathons, I still don’t look like the body in the picture.  My focus shifts away from my health (physical, much less emotional and mental) and onto my appearance.

That is not motivation.

The photos normally don’t have a head attached to the body (objectifying the subject) – drawing the attention to very rounded and lifted glutes, flat abdominals and chiseled shoulders.  Hell, I’ve even seen super perky boobs as the focus and let me just tell you here, and you can quote me on this one: no amount of time in the gym can enhance your boobs!  

Just because you put the body in athletic wear and stamp a motivational quote over it doesn’t make it inspiring.

I asked some of my clients how they feel after seeing these images, and here are some responses:

I find most are not motivating and veer on thinspiration.  I think a lot of these graphics make women feel less than, and encourages disordered behavior.

They are not motivating to me, honestly.  Sometimes the words are motivating depending on the message.  There was a time I would have been obsessed with looking that way.

Here is what I hope motivates you:  Feeling good-mentally and physically.  Moving without pain.  Being outdoors.  Having confidence in yourself.  My stories of daily sweats.  An open road.  Exploring new trails.  Measurable progress in miles, speed, pushups or steps toward your goals.  Inspiring others.  (And I hope this post will spur some questions and thoughts in your mind about this industry, enough to get a conversation going with your fellow females).

And because of those hopes, here is my promise to you:  I promise to never post one of those graphics on a Motivation Monday blog.  Never post one of those graphics to a social media account.  When I do put photos up, they will be of me or a client celebrating an accomplishment or transformation.  And finally, I promise to never to hold you, my clients, my readers, my friends to that beauty/fitness ideal.

But I’m curious…do those photos motivate you?

Write, Share and Update: More Tips for Effective Goals

Earlier this week I wrote a post about goal-setting (have you made any yet?!).  I wanted to take the time to expand on some ways to enhance the possibility of your goals turning into actions and into success (one effect of grad school is this need to explain via empirical evidence….).

A psychology professor (shoutout to my undergrad degree!), Dr. Gail Matthews, of the Dominican University of California studied goal setting strategies and outcomes.  Her study (of which 149 subjects completed) consisted of 5 groups of people

  • Group 1: Think about the goals they hoped to accomplish within 4 weeks
  • Group 2: Write down the goals they hoped to accomplish within 4 weeks
  • Group 3: Write down the goals and create an action commitment for each goal (again, within 4 weeks)
  • Group 4: Write down the goals, create action commitments and share these with a friend
  • Group 5: Write down the goals, create action commitments, share these with a friend and send a weekly update to said friend.

Any guesses as to which group turned their actions into goals more significantly than the others?  Group one completed 43% of their goals while groups 4 and 5 saw the most success (64 and 76% success).

My 2014 Goals

My 2014 Goals

I knew about writing them down but looks like I’ll have to be updating on progress every now and then, this should be fun!

I’d love to hear your goals for the year – and include that action plan!  What do you want to do in 2014?