Tuesday, February 22, 2011

On motivation

 good morning!

I've written about workout motivation before, and recently I've really had to dig deep to find even more of it. It's hard after having a baby- there are a million reasons why it's easier to stay at home with your family, comfy on your couch watching a movie, and lots of different, easier things we could do with our limited time. So when I revisited that post from last year, I tried to think a bit more about what kind of pep talk I give myself to get going. And like I've previously mentioned, it was absolutely easier to workout before having Henry. I could go to the gym whenever my heart desired and stay for as long as I like. I could go on a run in the afternoon, or take a spinning class after work. But here's what it come down to: in order for me to be the best Mom I can be, I need to take care of myself. What this means is carving out time in my day to better my mind, body and spirit. I've always taken fitness seriously- like I've mentioned before I was a very competitive athlete growing up and exercise has been a part of my life since I began dancing at age three. I always had good reason to workout too- it made me feel good, helped me look my best, and kept me happy and healthy. But now, I have one more important thing to add to that list- it helps me be the best mom I can be. I feel like it's my responsibility to be a good example to my son. I want him to be healthy, and that means that his father and I need to be healthy role models. I want to live a long, long life and watch him grow up, and eventually one day be a grandparent too.  I hope to live a life full of activity and travel. I want to go to sleep every night and know that I got the most out of each day, that I did everything in my power to be a positive person- and for me this goes hand in hand with some sort of physical activity.

Hank often jokes, "happy wife, happy life," and although this sounds funny, it's true. I absolutely set the climate for my house. If I am in a bad mood, you can bet that he feels this, and even though Henry is only three months old, he can feel it too. Because I've been through periods of my life where I've been depressed, I know how important exercise is to my mental health. Take this morning for example- I got up and went to the gym at 5am, even though of course I'd rather sleep until 7 or 8 when Henry wakes up. But at the same time I wanted to go, and because I've been in a bit of a funk for the past couple of days, I knew that I would feel immeasurably better about everything the moment I began my workout. And I did! Even though it was so early, the combination of motivating music and moving my body snapped me out of my bad mood almost immediately. I walked out of the gym this morning with a huge smile on a my face, a bounce in my step, and with the knowledge that I actively did something to fix my situation. Now, a few hours later I still feel great, and this can be attributed to taking that time to do something good for me.

Whether you are someone who doesn't normally work out, or someone who is a seasoned fitness pro, motivation can be hard to come by. Of course it's easier to stay in our comfy clothes, relax on the couch with your family, and do a whole lot of nothing. And sometimes, those kind of times are what we need too. But at the same time, we all need to give our bodies a little TLC- and in my opinion, what better way to treat yourself, than to do something good for yourself. A lot of the time I find myself coming up with the same excuses- I'll go tomorrow, I'll go in the morning, it's not a big deal- I'm way too comfy in front of this computer/tv screen/book to get up and go. But this can snowball, and before you know it, a few days have passed, the cycle continues. I feel bad or sad, I don't want to workout, I feel bad or sad because I haven't been working out, on and on it goes. Instead, I almost always get up. I go. I make the choice. Those excuses may exist but I make myself take that time for me and there has NEVER been a time I regretted it. Literally there has NEVER been a time when I've left the gym and said, "Oh I wish I wouldn't have done that." I only say that when I don't go. And this can be applied to anything- getting up and going on a walk, putting in an exercise tape, whatever type of physical activity you can fit into your lifestyle.

In the end, only you can decide to make the healthy choice for you. And really, why wouldn't you? You deserve to feel the best you can be, you deserve to treat yourself to 30, 60 minutes a day where you can clear you head, focus your mind, and exercise your body. Even if it's taking a quick 20 minute stroll around the block, take that time. If you're a Mom, take the stroller and just go. Or during a nap, do some stretching or a video. And when you find a million reasons not to do it, silence those by thinking of the reasons you SHOULD do it. Replace the negative with the positive, replace the "why nots" with the "why I shoulds." And maybe you won't get up and go the first few times, but I promise, if you keep at it, and practice being in the positive, eventually you will get up, and that is literally the first step.  "I'm way too tired to go on a jog" turns into "I should get up and go so I will have more energy in the long run." "I feel embarrassed to exercise in front of people at the gym" turns into "I'm going to go workout so I can feel more confident about my amazing self." "It's so hard to get started" becomes "If I don't start now, when will I ever?" Take the negative and spin it right into the positive. It gets easier everytime, and when a month has gone by and you've made more of an effort than you've ever made in the past, I promise you that the feeling you'll get when you look at yourself in the mirror and see a healthier, stronger you will be one of the best feelings in the world. Get it girl! And remember, you deserve it.

94 comments:

  1. Beautifully written. You're definately an inspiring person. Thank you. =]

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  2. Damn right girl. Now I'm heading to the gym before work, thanks <3

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  3. i really needed that inspiration! thanks! <3 - mia

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  4. Exactly what I needed to read today, Dani. Thank you for your inspiring words!

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  5. Thank you so much for posting this. I don't have a kid (yet)..but when i do...i want to be like You. I would like to get healthier before having a baby, and continue to be healthy...to teach my children how important it is to always maintain a healthy lifestyle. You are an inspiration to all mothers!! You go girl!

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  6. All those little excuses you listed - I've been the Queen of them lately! Especially living in a whole new place, I feel less motivated. Shouldn't it be the opposite?!

    However, like always your words motivate & inspire me :). I told myself last night I would wake up at a decent hour and have a good breakfast and exercise. I'm sticking to my word!

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  7. My biggest struggle is battling exhaustion. My child isn't a good sleeper and I've spent the last 14 months surviving on less than desirable sleep. It's hard for me to motivate when I need a nap more than a workout. This year I told myself I'll get going. We walk often, I've done a pilates video and I've been to a few bar classes.

    What's worse is I worked out five times a week until the day he was born. My water broke leaving yoga. Seriously!

    I am sad I'm not doing more for myself but after a year of no longer than a 4 hour sleep stretch, I'm not sure where to find the motivation.

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  8. You don't know how much I needed to read this. <3

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  9. This is all so true, especially the "happy wife, happy life" part. I tell this to Chikezie all the time, especially when he's bugging me or I'm in a bad mood LOL. He laughs but knows it's true!

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  10. :-)
    and I was going to skip my workout today
    not anymore!

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  11. I love this post! I had a REAL BAD problem with lack of motivation recently and went on a 3 week running strike. Yesterday I actually had enough of my excuses, got off the couch, and ran 1.5 miles to start. Felt so much better!

    As a child of a mom who is notoriously unhealthy, Henry will thank you. My mom is a smoker and just was declared no longer pre diabetic. I constantly harp on her to quit smoking and walk or something. Its hard to watch my mom let herself go (shes only 53). Us kids do notice that. As a result our relationship has suffered. So good on you girl!

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  12. Great post and great motivation. I have been struggling with motivation lately and it's great to hear someone else's motivation since it helps me push myself more!

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  13. Hey Danielle,
    Thanks so much for this post. As another lady who sometimes needs a little extra motivation (especially in these winter months), I really appreciated your thoughts and tips here.

    Plus, I'm a Bikram yoga blogger and may choose to post on this topic since I think it's super relevant. Thanks for the inspiration!

    www.aliveinthefire.blogspot.com
    (if you want to check out my writings)

    XOXO,
    rachel @ alive in the fire

    PS Love your blog in general, too! You have a very beautiful family. :)

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  14. Thank you so much for this! Definitely bookmarking for future inspiration. I find myself coming up with so many of the same excuses, and it truly just comes down to getting out a doing it!

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  15. This post couldn't have come at a better time, I'm getting my exercise bike in tomorrow! I grew up as a pretty chubby kid, was always active but never slim. When I turned 18 I decided to take action. Even though I lost a lot of weight and have always kept it off, I never kept with it and got in shape. Never stayed motivated. Everything could always wait. Why not, right? Doing nothing is more important, right? Well, no its not... but it is hard to tell yourself differently. I think I'm going to take these tips and ACTUALLY apply them. Thanks Danielle.

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  16. Love it and agreed. I never regret going to the gym. I have no problem once I am at the gym it is always getting there that serves problematic. Keep up the inspiring posts!!

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  17. i totally agree with hank! i'm don't use the gym, but i do have an elliptical, bike and weights at home. scott will leave to go to starbucks for an hour or so, i'll turn on the oc and do my workouts. after, i'm all his, and that nagging "you need to workout" voice is gone! happy wife indeed.

    i think it's also important for people to find their own motivation. for me, tv motivates me. sounds bad, but when i discover a new tv show i love, i know it's an opportunity to watch it moving at home than sitting on the couch :P

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  18. Thanks for such an inspirational post. In high school, I was very motivated to work out and lose weight. I was very happy at that time, but when college started, it was a lot harder for me to get motivated. Now, I am about to graduate, and I am at the state in my life where I am trying to get health again. I've been a little down these past few days because I haven't been fulfilling my goals yet, but now I know it's not only about being motivated, but about being balanced.

    www.mintypeaches.blogspot.com

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  19. I love your blog and have been following for a while now. Being newly pregnant myself (yay!) I was wondering if you'd be willing to share your prenatal fitness routine. Thanks :)

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  20. so many true things in that post! everyone needs inspiration sometimes.

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  21. Very inspiring - we all need a motivational kick sometimes and you're totally right that I've never worked out and thought "I wish I hadn't done that"! x

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  22. I'm in a place right now where work's getting on top of me and I'm always tired...it makes it so difficult to find the motivation to get up and go exercise when you're already exhausted. But as you say if I can find that short-term push to get myself going, the long-term benefits will be worth it! Your post was just the motivational talk that I needed :) Thanks xxx

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  23. Great post! I happened to have joined the gym again today for the first time in 5 years! I absolutely can't wait, I feel like my body is craving this so badly!

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  24. A-freakin'-MEN. My birthday was on Sunday and while many days, I struggle with the motivation to get to the gym (though I still go atleast 6 times a week!), I woke up at 7am on my birthday to get in a good workout. Nobody could understand 'why I would want to go to the gym on my birthday', but WHY NOT?! I never feel better than when I've exercised, so it was the best way to start my day. And I'm like you, most days, those 5am workouts are simply the best.

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  25. Perfectly put!

    Best wishes, a new reader of your blog xx

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  26. Reading this put me in a better place today. Perfect timing - spin class and I need to get reacquainted more than ever.

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  27. This post is so in line with the book I'm reading right now (The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson). Sometimes it's easy to forget how much power is in the little day to day actions that are just as easy to not do as they are to do... and the reason we often don't make the right choices is because there is no immediate negative effect... but it all comes out in the wash. We are a product of our habits which is a product of our thoughts and our life philosophy.

    Thanks for this!

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  28. Ahh thank you all SO MUCH for all of these great comments- it makes my heart so happy to know you all enjoyed reading this!

    @K I absolutely will soon!

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  29. Gosh your blog is amazing...I LOVE your tattoos you are such a striking beauty, simply sublime

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  30. I 100% agree! My son (who is 5 years old) picks up on my grumpy moods, and even he knows that a good way to get me out of it is to make me work out. I have a workout space in my basement and he and I often exercise together. Not only is it a great way to model healthy activity, but it's also a lot of fun to do crunches and stretches with him!
    PS I've recently found your blog and love it.

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  31. This is a great post and all so true. You make it sound so easy, which it should be! Thanks for posting :)

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  32. Such a fabulous call to action. Big or small people's bodies need movement. Supportive partners that understand the necessity of this are a big boost to a person's ability to take the time and their freedom to do so.

    One thing I'm not so good at is consistently getting up super early, though I want to. I forget how great it feels to be done working out before work is even started.

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  33. Thank you so much for this! i think everyone can be inspired by this because everyone including myself can relate. I have a home gym and i STILL find it hard some days to motivate myself to walk down my stairs and work out! Thank you for the inspirational message!

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  34. Thanks for writing this!! ♥ You are such an inspiration to me. ♥

    xo.

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  35. I agree completey. Working out for me has become a part of my life and because I have a badly pulled shoulder muscle I haven't been able to do it for the past few days and it's bugging me! Thanks for the inspiration. xxx

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  36. i love this photo of you Danielle!

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  37. so good for me to hear! it's hard for me to be motivated to work out, especially in winter. but you are right, my attitude really affects our home's feeling and working out makes me a much happier person. thanks!

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  38. I love the exercise posts that you do. The one you wrote recently that included the workout videos that you enjoy...I went right on over to amazon and ordered the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred and the Billy Blanks Ultimate Tae Bo. I did the 30 day shred 4 days in a row last week and have started over again today. I enjoyed this post-very motivating and you are so inspiring! Thanks for sharing :) I especially liked the bit about turning the negative into the positive.

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  39. You seriously just described me to a T in this post. I used to be so motivated to work out and even after having a baby I was motivated then winter came and I turned into a blob and now I need to vet back into the swing of things I say I will every day and badly make any progress but this honestly was so motivating because I know I'm not the only one who feels this way and I also know that I can't use my daughte as an excuse. Thanks for such a great post!

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  40. This is perfect timing as I was just coming up with several excuses to skip the gym this evening. Great, great inspiration!

    Xo
    Carly

    all this grace and charm
    http://allthisgraceandcharm.blogspot.com

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  41. You should try Stroller Strides! Great fun workout with your baby! Look them up and see if there is one your area! I would nt have worked out if it was not for this programme.

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  42. I definitely struggle with motivation... a LOT. This is true of even thing I genuinely enjoy! I think outlook has a LOT to do with it. Thank you for the inspiration!

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  43. This is great, Danielle! I was in the best shape of my life right before I found out I was preggers... Now I can't wait to get back to working out! I'm sure it will be hard with a newborn... So thank you for the extra motivation! :)

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  44. Literally there has NEVER been a time when I've left the gym and said, "Oh I wish I wouldn't have done that." Thank you so much for putting this into words...this is absolutely true!

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  45. My workout is the best way for me to take care of myself two months after having baby. I have more energy and feel stronger mentally and physically when I commit to my workout- kudos for encouraging us all!


    Marie @ Lemondrop ViNtAge

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  46. really needed to hear that! thanks :)

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  47. It sounds like you're already doing pretty well! I have a hard time motivating myself too, especially when I'm busy. I should be going to lots and lots of yoga classes right now as I'm about to start yoga teacher training, but I keep bailing because I'm so busy. There's really no excuse though, I just need to manage my time better. Thanks for this post, I clearly needed it!

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  48. Thanks so much for this post. I've really been lacking in motivation lately and this was just what I needed to get back in the game

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  49. I TOTALLY feel depressed when I have been working out really well and then I take a few days off! I have to admit that I have taken a little too much time out of my routine and making a lot of the excuses that you came up with....well you caught me, I'll start going again. ;)

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  50. I love that you wrote this! I have always been a workout-er, but have just started working out in the morning - it does take a little more motivation but it feels so great!

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  51. This is EXACTLY what I needed right now. I have been insanely bust the past week and a half and keep coming up with excuses as to why I don't have time to work out or go for a run. I'm going to stop it now, I'm going for a run in the morning! Thanks!

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  52. yes, what a timely entry! i have had such a hard time with motivation lately. while i dont have a baby, i am a college student. i keep telling myself i am too busy to take the time to exercise- i am swamped with schoolwork, yet i find myself stumbling around the web or watching garbage more often than raising my heart-rate. im going to try out this early morning routine- very motivating 'motivation' posts!

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  53. All so true. and such perfect timing for me personally. (and I was at the gym for it opening this morning!)
    got it book marked for future motivation dips (and for linking to on tomorrows blog post!) x

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  54. thank you so much - i love your motivational (pep) talks. I have recently started pilates again , the one and only exercise I have ever really enjoyed and after doing 5 classes I feel soooo much better, I look forward to every class and can already see a difference in my body.
    Now I'm off to re-read the first post you made about getting out there and working out

    Thank U for being a wonderful role model

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  55. I loved this! So well put.I tried to comment yesterday with my blackberry while working out but it didn't work.

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  56. Thanks so much for this post! I am in a constant struggle with getting in shape. I love how you said, after you go to the gym you never wish you would not have. makes perfect sense! This is just what I needed!

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  57. ahhh I am in love with your blog! It's so refreshing to read inspirational posts...everything you write is so positive. Keep it up! :)

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  58. After months of putting off a free membership to the gym I decided to go thanks to your motivation ;).

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  59. Thank you for the inspiration! Perfect timing.

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  60. This was just what I needed to read - I headed straight out for a long walk on the beach with my pup!
    Thank you lovely
    x

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  61. Thanks for a kick up the bum! Before my baby I was fit and strong. I worked out whenever I liked, usually at least once a day. I ran, swam, skated, did weights, spin classes, fitball, yoga, jumped rope, you name it. And, I felt great!
    Of course, I can't do things on a whim anymore, but I know that after my boy goes to bed, I've got a good few hours where, even if we wakes, he won't be hungry and I could, should and will go for a run. In fact, the endorphin hit might be just what I need to feel motivated to other things as well, like work on my book, or draw, or even *gasp* fold up the washing.

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  62. your blog is the best motivator ever! thanks for this =)

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  63. Hi Danielle, I mentioned this post on my blog here:

    http://kittycatchbutterfly.blogspot.com/2011/04/pinterest-and-body-image.html

    Thanks for being a great role model!! (:

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  64. So glad I read this today. <3

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  65. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  66. It's the sort of things I need to read at the moment in my life!
    And it's written on my birthday! ;)

    I'm French, just discover your blog, there are so much to read it will take quite a long time I guess, but I already love it!

    Thank you ! :) <3

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  67. thank you so much for this inspiring post, it really was what I needed to read! now my husband and I are starting a new life going to the gym, I'm glad we found one that we like that has a kids club, so the little one can stay there while we work out! :)

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  68. Love this! Great post to get someone off their bum and workin' on their fitness :)

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