Personal Journey

Shooting up Motivation

Phenomenal. I want that to be my word of the year.

Easier said than done, I know. I have a plan. But first, a story. I choose to tell you about working out, though there are many areas in which I want to be phenomenal. Working out is a universal bane, er… goal.

I’m not one of those people who gets excited about the process of sweating or hurting or gasping. When it’s done I feel good about myself because I did something healthy and I overcame. Living in Cleveland means the first challenge in working out, is weather. I’ve learned the hard way that running in the freezing cold makes my face look like a bleached gorilla’s. In the winter, I don’t run; I get on my recumbent bike. I overcome the weather.

Except when the bike breaks.

Then I feel like hosting a pity party with lots of cake and ice cream because I hate working out anyway, and why does it have to be so hard? (Insert bite of cake.) Not like I’m trying to book a cruise here…

[One eternity later…] I find a deal on a used recumbent bike that I hand-twist for tension, that I pull the batteries out to reset the time counter, that squeaks in protest when I pedal too fast, but I’m happy because: I overcame. Now, I can’t just pedal and look out the grey window at the skeletons of trees. That’s a recipe for disaster to a woman who hates working out. No… one must distract herself when her thighs are on fire, and the sweat is stinging her eyes, and the mirror isn’t saying she’s the fairest as she’s pumping her legs, not looking very athletic or strong according to western culture… distract me, please.

I try watching motivational YouTube videos and pretend I’m Rocky Balboa. But guess what? My daughter is streaming Netflix, and my son is watching Minecraft, and my broadband is as broad as a pencil tip because I’m getting nothing but buffer on my iPad. Can you feel that? Says the video. But it sounds more like C… oooh… eh… t?

Phenomenal overcomes the broadband, the bike, the weather. I pulled out the rowing machine and had pitiful rowing workouts until I found another bike. Rowing stinks, I tell you. But it’s better than nothing. To overcome my YouTube issues, I hook up my mp3 or our ancient TV/DVD player, set it on the workout bench and watch a movie; I decide to overcome every workout obstacle. The chorus in my mind is Get thee behind me, Satan. 

Confession: much of my motivation comes from putting videos like the one below straight into my brain while I’m pedaling/running. It’s like shooting up motivation. I’m not exaggerating. Although I admit I’ve never actually shot up, I’m using my writer’s imagination. Just watch it. Or be like me and watch it a hundred times until you can quote it and the epic music rings in your ears while you fill your car tires with air or stand in line at the supermarket. Not a bodybuilder? Me neither. I apply everything he says to whatever area I want to be phenomenal.

Thank you, creative people who have compiled some of the best motivational speeches set to music. I literally get goosebumps while listening. I have grande thoughts. I think, if I can do this, then I can do that. That’s how doing hard things works: You do it and it eventually ceases to be hard. You look back and ask how you ever thought X was hard. We all know the feeling. Think about anything you ever feared that you pushed through. Now it’s the status quo. The problem comes when we allow ourselves to scuttle back and not do whatever hard task is before us. As we let fear or laziness or lack of an appropriate workout apparatus stop us, it becomes easier and easier to stay still. Initial force is always the heaviest. But the same goes for the other direction. Keep doing what is hard and less and less is hard for you. That’s my plan for a phenomenal 2016. I wish it for you too! 🙂

There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This… is from the hand of God.  Ecclesiastes 2:24