From the beginning of January through present, I’ve lost 25 pounds (of course, the scale will probably go back up a pound or two today). If you read my recent post on Exercise and Natural Hair, you know that I gained these 25 pounds over the course of 2009 through December 2010 and made a goal to lose the weight and regain my healthy eating habits this January (I don’t do “New Year’s Resolutions,” just say that I’m getting it together starting in January=). I know how to lose weight. I’ve mastered that task through understanding food, exercise (weights, aerobic and anaerobic) and the human body. I am not an “expert” and have no formal training in nutrition or physiology. However, I know my body and understand the fundamentals of nutrition and fitness because, when I began competing in amateur All-Natural Bodybuilding competitions, I read fitness and nutrition magazines, books and articles voraciously.
All that to say, I know exactly what to do to lose weight and I can lose it quickly if I want. It’s a matter of being motivated to do what I know. Hence the title of this post, “Motivation.” I’ll break down the elements of My Current Regimen more over the next few weeks, if that seems to be a topic of interest. However, today, I just want to talk briefly about getting and staying motivated.
I started exercising at home in March and, shortly after I began doing that, I found myself delaying my workouts until 8 or 9 pm because I was reading GOC blogs and writing my own. As I knew that was a slippery slope that would lead to many missed workouts, I decided that I wouldn’t allow myself to hair blog, something I enjoyed immensely, until I exercised on my planned days. Hair blogging became a reward for working out or a punishment for not. Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t always follow the rules (though, for the most part I do). However, even if I blog first, I will still workout more times than I don’t. I know that publicizing my intentions and accomplishments to my fellow GOC bloggers helps me hold myself accountable and encourages me.
Another thing that helps me get and stay motivated is a concrete goal or challenge: a planned vacation in a warm climate where I want to wear a swimsuit, a reunion, a semi-formal or formal event like a wedding or banquet, etc. In March, I had a vacation in Florida with my sisters and mom and used that as my first goal. As we were all focusing on weight loss goals and were staying at my aunt’s house, we purchased healthy food and exercised during our vacation. I lost weight on vacation rather than gaining it. Goal one: Met!
Once that vacation was over, I learned about a race called the Tough Mudder from a colleague. It’s a 10 mile race, riddled with 28 obstacles, that occurs in different locations across the country. My colleague was doing one. I wasn’t ready for that. However, shortly thereafter, I learned of the Rugged Maniac, a 5K with 14 obstacles, such as 7 feet tall barricades, mud tunnels, plank jumping and fire!!!
A FB friend was using one in NJ as motivation to stay on course with her Beachbody Insanity workouts (have you seen this mess? Insanity is the only word to describe it!). I wasn’t ready for the Tough Mudder, but a 5K? “Yeah,” I thought, “I can do that.” (Never mind that I’ve never even done a regular 5K!) So, the Rugged Maniac is in Englishtown, NJ on July 9th and my FB friend, two sisters, one of my best friends, my SO and I are doing it. Our competitive natures are helping us stay motivated and on track with our exercise routines (or at least they are doing so for me and my middle sister=). So, if you live in the NJ/NY area, need a little motivation or just like a challenge and want to register for the Rugged Maniac, you can do so up until July 1st. The cost is now $68 per registrant. However, you can save both of us $2 per registration if you use my reference code: 1985632;).
Finally, the last thing that keeps me on task is finding a way to exercise that I enjoy. A couple of months ago, I discovered hot yoga. I’d never even done regular yoga, other than a DVD with which I got bored after 5 minutes! However, the thought of hot yoga intrigued me as I love the heat and I love sweating when I exercise (it lets me know that I’m really doing something). I also had lost a lot of my flexibility and wanted to regain it. Hot yoga seemed like a good solution. So, when I noticed a studio had opened next to my house, I went for a class. I’ve been going two days a week ever since. LOVE hot yoga!! I never feel like blowing it off and have only missed classes when I’ve had schedule conflicts.
So, if you just can’t seem to get or stay motivated, find something that you love doing or setting a goal that is time driven. Use something that you enjoy, that isn’t eating cake or fast food;), as a reward. Publicize your intentions in order to use your audience to hold yourself accountable (FB is a great device for this as you can publicize your intent and get affirmation and encouragement by posting your accomplishments). And, finally, get a friend or family member to set similar goals with you and work towards those objectives together, whether it be as workout buddies or through verbal encouragement at established checkpoints.
Hope this was helpful!!
(Uh, yeah, p.s., I don’t have any kids. We’ll see how well all of this big talk works if/when I do ;-)! If you have children and still manage to do it all, please share your strategies with us!! I’ll be taking notes!!)
What do you do to get and stay motivated towards accomplishing your goals? What are the challenges?