I love the mental buzz, the energy and the smug sense of knowing I have just done something good for myself when I finish an exercise session. That’s what gets me up and going. See, it doesn’t matter what your motivation is, it just matters whether you do it or not.
Some people set themselves goals: “I’m going to run 10km”, “I’m going to lose 5 kg”, “I’m going to lift 20kg weights”, which are all great. The important thing will goal setting though is that it must be realistic. So if you’ve not a runner, or have an injury that prevents you from running, don’t start with a marathon.
The other thing about goal setting is that it should be time lined. For example, don’t just say “I’m going to lose 5kg”, say “I’m going to lose 5 kg by Christmas”. That way, you can do it 1kg at a time. Acknowledge your mini achievements, like that 1st kilo. (Note I said acknowledge, not reward… avoid the temptation of rewarding yourself of losing a kg with a bar of Dairy Milk.)
I got into running, thanks to one of my, very naturally athletic, brothers. He is one of those very irritating people who can run a marathon with about 2 weeks training (yep, he actually did, and smashed it). If he eats too much and starts feeling like the pounds are creeping on, he’ll put on his trainers and go for a 15km run without any issue. I, on the other hand, needs weeks of training to be able to run that far!
One night, in about September 2012, we were sitting in our local and after a few “end of a hard week-ers”, he challenged me to run the Sydney half marathon which was in the following May. I began thinking about what would entail. It was daunting. A half marathon is 21km. At the time, 7km was about my limit. But then I started thinking about what other people would say if I did it, and how I would feel crossing the finish line. “Right,” I thought, “I’m going to do this, purely because people don’t think I can”. I trained, by myself, for the next 6 months. It was bloody hard. But I loved it. I loved the satisfaction of increasing my distance each week. I loved the energy it gave me, especially if I had time to run before work. I loved my friends telling me they were proud of me, and asking how I found the motivation to train alone. I loved putting my ipod on, playing horrendously cheesy music that quite frankly wanted to make me break out into some quite lethal dance moves in the middle of the Harbour Bridge. When I’d had a tough day, or something was bothering me, I loved the knowledge that I would, quite literally, run away from it all. At least for an hour. I loved running in the rain. And I loved the day of the run. I had put very little pressure on myself – I just wanted to finish it, and if I did it in 2 ½ hours, I would have been pleased. I ended up doing it in less than 2 hours.
Now, don’t take this as a “look at me and what I’ve done, and if I can do it, anyone can….blahblahblah” speech, I just want you to see that it doesn’t matter WHY you do it. I did it to prove something to myself (and my friends!). You might want to lose that 5kg, you might have a health concern that can be improved through exercise. Whatever it is, find it and get going!