Life Isn't a Sprint... It's a Marathon
In our last MsFit “official meeting” (including meeting minutes being recorded on a napkin), we started talking about the Boston Marathon and the intense motivation the thousands of marathon runners must have to challenge themselves to running 26.2 miles. I mean, that’s pure motivation, drive, spirit, endurance, strength, will, bravery and passion… that’s moving two legs just one step, one pace, one mile at a time to achieve one single goal. Motivation is an amazing force. It can take you from one place in life to somewhere you never imagined in your wildest dreams.
This really got me thinking about the role motivation plays in each of our lives. What is your motivation? Do you have any? Is it easy for you to find it or is it a constant battle? Is it to drop a few lbs. (or 60), lose an inch, run a mile (or 26.2), increase your strength, get a new job, get out of bed, get over someone or something? All goals, no matter how big or small, how easy to realize or out of this world they may seem, have to start somewhere.
For me personally, my best recipe for reaching goals is to first start with giving myself a HUGE goal, the ultimate one that I dream that I want to reach. I then take a GIANT realistic step back and say OK, I may have a lot to do, but I always remind myself that reaching that goal is a process, sometimes even years in the making. But instead of letting that discourage me, I decided the best way to keep on the path of reaching that BIG goal is to set SMALL achievable goals along the way that are a day away, a week away, a month, away... until I get there. Little “pace-points” that I put in place for myself to reach the final finish line. My guess is you might already be doing this throughout your days and don’t even realize just how great you are at motivating yourself!
Everyone has their own story. Everyone has their own struggles and life challenges whether it be with health, family, relationships, financial standing or even depression that makes finding even an ounce of motivation near impossible. But I truly believe that life is only LIFE if you’re truly enjoying it. If you’re not, build that motivation to make a change by identifying even the tiniest steps to then bigger and bigger goals which will create more and more motivation to a more fulfilling and happy LIFE.
I think giving myself the “more instant gratification” goals, as I call them, is the key for me, because change doesn’t always happen overnight. We don’t just run a marathon our first day of running, or lose a ton of weight on our first day dieting. It is a process. BELIEVE ME, patience is not my strong point, so learning to change my perspective on “progress” was a really important factor in keeping myself on track. Progress, for me, had to become anything that I did that was a step closer to getting where I wanted to go.
To use myself as an example, one of my GIANT goals in the past 5 years, a goal so big that I was afraid I could never achieve was to become a Barre instructor. The very inklings of beginning to even think about this goal started while I was pregnant with my first child. Then life happened. I had another baby, gained almost 80 lbs. (again) and I just kept pushing it off. While I was busy being a mom and wife, taking the weight off and getting my body back by doing barre regularly… I blinked, and I was already in my mid-30’s. Where did the time go? Where did my motivation go?
Then the real obstacles started coming. The ones that kept overshadowing my great motivation… I’d think, I can’t possibly do this, become a fitness instructor, because I’m almost 36! That is WAY too old to start a career in fitness. Everyone around me had started in fitness in their early 20’s and built their careers from a very young age. I didn’t have anywhere to teach. I wasn’t certified to teach. What if no one liked my classes? Starting this late in life would mean a lot of self-promotion! Was I comfortable doing that? (turns out I am … hmm if you haven’t already …please go and like my Barre page on Facebook. Jessica Diaz Boston Barre). The list of reasons I told myself I couldn’t do this went on and on and on and on…
In the midst, of all these self-doubts, I had to remind myself that although each of my fears did have a truth and validation to them, I could choose to believe them as a fact, or give it a try and motivate myself to just do it. To begin a career doing something I loved, that I had a lot of experience doing, and felt so excited by the possibility of actually doing it and not just dreaming. I just felt it was what I was supposed to do next. I have learned to call that feeling “inspired thought”. Every so often, I get a thought or an idea, and with it just comes this “sense of knowing” that it is the right thing to do. It’s hard to know when it’s happening, but the older I get, the more I can tune out the clutter and doubt, and the better I am at recognizing it. I wish it was an easier thing to describe, but I think the best way I can describe it is that it’s a thought that instantly triggers a feelings of motivation and drive. These are the ones I wait for.
So, all I had to do was just start. My first step was to start practicing barre, even more than I already had. I gave myself two weeks to find and register for a Barre teacher training program. Then I gave myself the goal of approaching five studios about teaching Barre, while at the same time doing 5-8 personal training sessions per week to learn how to be a better teacher. I told myself I had to complete all this within my first month of becoming certified to teach and so on and so on. Small steps, every day and achievable goals until a year later, I became a Barre teacher.
I absolutely love teaching, and with all of my experiences along the way, I am able to utilize ten years of taking and continually building on my teaching skills to help create the safe and effective class that so many people enjoy today.
It was the motivation to get somewhere new that kept me moving, even when it felt uncomfortable. I believe everyone has that fear, everyone has self doubt but whether you’re trying to lose 60 lbs., talk to your boss about a promotion, start a business, just get through the day or run 26.2 miles in the Boston Marathon, it has to start somewhere.
There is no magic formula for finding and doing what you love. Sometimes the hardest part is knowing what that is, and once you know, I promise, the motivation will come a lot easier. Life is meant to be lived, not just “gone through”. Motivate yourself to really LIVE… even if it’s one tiny step at a time.