Getting Motivated & Staying Motivated

Rewind way on back to 2010. That was the first year I did anything resembling exercise in my life. At the time, I was 20 and in a relationship with someone who, in a sentence, I didn’t feel very special with. I thought if I lost some weight I would be more special to him and so I started running. Red flags, I know, because we don’t ever need to change for someone else. And what a gross motivator for such a powerful thing! And we all deserve to find someone who makes us feel special as we are (I’ve since done that!) But that’s how the story goes: I began exercising to lose weight for my BF.

Now let’s talk about what kept me motivated for the long haul. I have friends who’ve seen the impact running has had on my life and they’ve asked me to help them become better runners. This is all I have for motivation in that area:

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Motivator #1: Exercise will physiologically improve your life.

“Runner’s high” is a real thing and it’s something I chased for many years after that first drag ;). I often ask these friends “Have you ever run long enough that you don’t feel like you’re running anymore?” When they say “no” I totally understand why they seek motivation. I would have never laced up again if running just felt like hitting pavement: monotonous, boring, obligatory. But it’s more than that; it’s actually euphoric if you push through that first awful mile or two. Swear to God! But here’s some articles if you don’t believe me:

Running (and exercise in general) releases serotonin (the feel-good drug) in the brain to elevate your mood. It also promotes neurogenesis in the brain (the growth of new neurons). Sometimes when life is heavy or when I’m stressed or need to make an important decision, I go for a run to clear my head. I’m like a new woman when I’m done: content, calm, ready for whatever life throws.

But it starts with pushing past a few hurdles: the nagging thoughts of skipping your workout today and even those first agonizing minutes when you start. Keep going star stuff, the best is yet to come.

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Continuting that story, running became impractical because it just took too long while I was in school and working. So I started lifting weights at Planet Fitness instead. This was intimidating because, first of all, the free weights area is a toolbox. People will tell you “no one’s looking at you, just do your thing.” But actually, everyone is looking at you because you’re a woman. I watched so many YouTube videos to ensure I didn’t look like a complete n00b while I was lifting. Eventually, what I noticed was I was getting stronger by the week. I used to think strength training took a lot of time, but that wasn’t the case. When I consistently showed up and kept trying, movements got easier and I got braver!

So my Motivator #2 is Trusting the Process WORKS.

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Sometimes it takes a while to see it, but you can certainly feel it if you just show up and trust the process. Results WILL come and sooner than you might think!

Another thing I want to add to this is: Nobody jumped up to the bar and did a pull-up on their first try. Nobody could load up a barbell without first squatting their own bodyweight and the weight of a bar. Progression is something we all have to go through. I urge you to not compare your progress to the progress of someone else. We all start somewhere: Focus on how you can be better than you were yesterday.

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Nowadays I’m a lot more confident in my abilities. I’m over the hurdle of doubting my strengths and now I just try to be better!

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Motivator #3 is exercise puts goal-setting and discipline into your life

...and those are such incredible things to carry around. Think about the people you look up to the most, what is it that you admire about them? For me, it’s their goal setting and discipline. Think about what you want to teach your kids. I’m not a mom yet but I imagine I will want my kids to understand the importance of putting in the work to achieve something. That’s what exercise and healthy dieting does for me.

It’s best practices for life: to stay level-headed, power through the challenges, and keep striving. Plus, you get biceps!

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My brother Sam took all these pics of me, didn't he do an outstanding job??

One last PS to my friends who read this: I want you to know that YOU keep me motivated to continue posting recipes and tips. This blog is a labor of love: writing + healthy living are my two favorite things in the world. They've changed my life and hearing things like "I prepped your recipe" or "that sounds like something I could try" makes this whole pursuit come full-circle. From the bottom of my heart: thanks for reading what I have to say and supporting me. I hope to keep giving you content that motivates you as well!