Another non-crafty post from me. However, this has been hanging on my heart as something I wanted to share, so I decided to take the time to do so. It’s a bit long, so allow yourself a minute to read it!
Summer is over, it’s time to get back into professional working mode and just plain old getting things done. That’s what fall is for, right? Ugh! Are you having any trouble getting motivated to accomplish the items on your to do list??? I know I most certainly am.
Today I am going to explain to you how I motivated myself to help accomplish one of my biggest goals right now. The goal? To complete my second marathon this year (and ever!). The motivation???
That’s right…donuts. Of the dunkin’ kind to be specific. So how in the world did donuts motivate me to improve my marathon training? Well, let me give you a little background here.
My training for the Marine Corp Marathon in Washington D.C. began in June of this year (2011). Right in the middle of summer vacation. At Disney World. Ummm, yeah. Right. Then, we finished vacationing in north Florida. Then we went here, and then we went there, and then we were busy with this and that and the other. Before I knew it, I was back to work at my job as a high school teacher.
Prior to the start of the school year I had only been consistently “on schedule” with training for exactly one week. Every other week over the summer I had missed a day, or ran a shorter run due to time, etc. So much for the goal I had for setting a personal best this fall. Maybe next time.
My work schedule is quite impossible when it comes to fitting in a marathon training schedule. I have to leave my house to be at work at 6:45. Let me rephrase that…I have to leave my house at 6:45a.m. with two clothed, teeth and hair brushed, lunches prepared and backpacks packed, fed children, two fed and WALKED (for at least 15 minutes) dogs, and a showered, hair done, nicely dressed, paperwork in order, lunch packed, me. Six. Forty. Five. Out the door.
Our evenings – FAR too busy for me to ever schedule a run. Not to mention, that is our family time. Time we take very seriously and demand of ourselves. Homework completed in the afternoons, sit down dinners every night, 30 minutes of reading together. Not to mention again, our extracurricular activities. I am not even going to get into THAT today!
Does this sound like your life at all? How are we supposed to accomplish anything else if our schedule already sounds like that??? Maybe for you it is not running. Maybe it’s a craft project or a novel you want to write. Maybe a book you want to read or a room you want to clean out. How do we get this stuff done?
Well, for me, I realized, I had to be truly genuine with my priorities. What was important to me? I committed myself to this run. As a matter of fact, I am raising money and running for a great cause at the MCM this year. How was I going to fit those five mile runs in during the week? The only solution possible for my schedule is to pull myself out of bed early. EARLY. I already wake up at 5:00am.
That meant somehow finding the motivation to get up at 4:30am, or earlier, to fit in a good 4 mile run (the shortest run I do during the week). ***See, you knew I was going to connect to the top of this post somehow, right?***
I tried, over and over again, but every time I even thought about doing it, I found a million excuses not to. I didn’t have the right dark running gear, I was too tired (uh…), I had too much work to do the night before. I became awesome at talking myself out of trying a morning run.
Silly me, I found it. The motivation. Donuts. Donuts that I didn’t even eat. The first week of school I promised my homeroom class I would get them donuts Friday if they had all of their paperwork turned in to me. These are high school kids. I wasn’t expecting them to actually do it! Well, they all had it all turned in on Wednesday. This, of course, meant breakfast was on me. I had to finagle my whole morning schedule to stop at the not-so-on-the-way donut shop to get 3 dozen donuts before school.
As my alarm went off at 4:30am that morning, it hit me. I was getting up to do this because I made a promise to my students and I couldn’t let them down. Why was I not able to make the same promise to myself to get up and run? So I did exactly that. That morning I promised myself I was going to at least give a morning run a try first thing next week.
It was literally as easy as that. I suppose that is what an epiphany does. It lets you see the light. For me, this light was being honest and true to myself. I knew I really wanted to run in the morning. If there is something you really want to do you have to give yourself that self-talk that motivates you to do it. No one else is going to pull you out of bed. No one else is going to put the paint brush in your hand, or the pen, or whatever tool it is your goals require. Only you can decide how important it is to you.
So make an intentional, driven choice to begin, and finish, something. If you can’t do that for yourself it must not be important enough to do. Make the decision to either do or don’t do and get that project out from hanging over your head.
I am now running at least twice a week in the mornings. Mostly Tuesday and Wednesday. Friday’s are 8 and 10 mile runs for me right now, which is too much even for me to do in the morning. I carry a flashlight and wear reflective gear and I give myself at least 20 minutes after waking up to eat and have a glass of water before I run out the door. I also carry my cell phone (I have watched one too many episodes of Law and Order) and I stay close to my house. I go to bed between 8:30 and 9:30 at night (which I thought I would HATE and I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE it) so I am up and ready to go at 4:30am. We also do a great job organizing our lives for the morning before we go to bed. Lunches made, coffee pot ready to brew, bags packed, clothes laid out, house clean. It is amazing how much this has helped us organize our lives too.
Whatever you are looking for motivation to help you with, decide whether or not you REALLY want to do it. If the answer is yes, then do it. I found, the harder it is to get started doing something, the bigger the rewards are when you actually finish it!