I wanted to start the new blogging with a post about resolutions and the Holidays. This becomes a tough time of year for all of us, weather changes (cold and snowy here in Colorado), parties, meals, treats and sweets, and the running around that takes us away from our goals. How many of you run from social event to social event and at the end of the night feel like you ate everything in sight? How many of you stop training or working out because of the parties, family committments, or just an overall lack of motivation as the seasons change? How many of you just give up, saying "I will get back to the gym, start training, or start eating right after New Years?" And so it goes, on and on. All the sabotaging talk and voices in your head that chip away at your motivation. So how do we quit doubting ourselves, and keep moving forward to overcome these issues and continue down the path of feeling like you are meeting your goals to live a healthy and active lifestyle.
So, as you are pigging out on pumpkin pie and laying on the couch watching football or reading the newest edition of Triathlon Magazine, realize that you are probably not the only one who has a hard time staying motivated during the holidays. Now you must embrace it, create some tools to keep you tethered to your goals during and after the holidays. How can we stay motivated:
1-Create Structure: Create a road map, meaning you have your training plan detailed day by day for atleast six months out. Sketch out all the steps it takes to achieve your goal(s). Post it somewhere you will see daily. You know exactly what you need to bring and do at each workout ahead of time. All you have to do is show up. Hiring a coach or personal trainer will help bring you that structure as well.
2-Create a visual reminder: Show me a picture of something and I understand it completely. The image becomes etched in my head, and I will never let it go. To keep me motivated towards my goal of my spring half Ironman, I took a picture of the race logo and I keep this image everywhere: on my bathroom mirror, in my office, even the “lock screen” on my AARP cell phone. I truly believe that you need to have a picture of each goal you are going after that you can refer to all day long. My coach also recommended writing IRONMAN SAN JUAN on my bathroom mirror in bright red lipstick, so when I get up at 4:30am for a swim workout, I remember what I am reaching for! You don’t have to put it in a place everyone can see it — inside your closet or even your purse or wallet works too.
3-Become part of the community: What do you mean? Why? Because goals are individual and sometimes lonely pursuits. Surround yourself with people who are passionate about the same goals that you are. See them weekly, if possible. Believe it or not, I have a hard time finding friends to train with me sometimes. I know, weird since I am a part of a huge triathlon community. So I had to find other weirdos like me who enjoy training at the level that I do. It wasn’t easy. But I also created one: thanks to my partner Carlos Hill we founded a group of dedicated endurance athletes who hit the have overcome obesity, adversity, and even are currently battling Cancer. Every time I run with them, I know they are gunning for me, aiming to reach their goals and one day surpass me. It’s the best feeling in the world. Combine that with their determination and their ways of motivating me, and I can’t imagine anywhere else in the world I would rather be. There are several run clubs that meet for evening runs in most communities, sometimes all you have to do is look or ask.
4-You need accountability: I hired a coach at the start of my season this year, to set myself up to train in the best and most efficient way possible. He sends my workouts to my training calendar every day, and I check in with him regularly. Sometimes daily, sometimes weekly, sometimes monthly. He is always there, holding me accountable to my goals, every race, every injury, every step. I can honestly say that my accomplishments in 2012 were 50% his guidence and support, and 50% my headstrong determination to never fail! So hire a coach to help you navigate your path, overcome setbacks, and hold you accountable along the way.
As one of my triathlon friends pointed out, when i asked about his decision to work with a coach and whether I should just find a plan online, ”Pro athletes don’t show up to games without being coached… I decided if I wanted my life to be extraordinary, I shouldn’t show up un-coached either". Hands down, it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Working to achieve personal goals is incredibly difficult and important work, but no matter what your goals are, inevitably we all will struggle. The closer we get to achieving our goals, the more likely we will lose motivation. Along the way, there’s a good chance we will all experience setbacks. The bigger, scarier, hairier the goal, the more likely it is to challenge our current identities, which means your current self is likely to resist change and sabotage your progress. Don't let this happen to you. Good luck and you can always reach out to me for support, questions, or to chat about your goals.