Stay motivated!

I hit this exact same feeling every morning I go running, about five minutes along, as I pass the laundry on the right on my way west. I feel achy and tired and slow, and I feel overdressed in jacket and two shirts, plus sweatpants. I don’t feel cold, but instead I feel bulky. I consider seriously just turning around when I get to 12th Street, instead of turning left and climbing the hill on the road toward the dump, a mile out and a mile back to the same junction spot.

Turning around at 12th Street would result in a 3.6 mile run, which isn’t bad at all, except that I would have to do the same run just about every remaining day of the month to get to my goal of 100 miles. It would mean 13 events in 15 days, which is tough. At a rate of 5.6 miles per event, I only need nine more events to get to 100, which is a little more reasonable. Back in July and August and September, I used to do the shorter route regularly, but I had lower expectations then and wasn’t trying to get to 100 miles a month.

And the difference between turning left and going up the hill to the second revetment and turning right past the car wash and going back to the lodging isn’t really that much. I’m already out there pounding the pavement, all dressed up and moving forward.

So I kind of put the thought to the side and think about a movie I’ve seen or something, then by the time I’m at 12th Street I just turn left as if I hadn’t really considered not turning left. When I finish up I’ve taken a little more than an hour, which is hardly a record-breaking time. What’s funny is that the steady accumulation of training time does have an effect: yesterday I ran in the afternoon, leaving the bike parked (I think the chain may actually be too tight and serious riding might damage the freewheel bearings). On that run, in daylight and after having been awake for more than 10 minutes, I did the same 5.6-mile route. It took me less than 51 minutes, or my fastest time ever on that route. So all my frustrations–at bulking up like the Michelin man, at having the alarm send me out to the piste 90 minutes before the sun thinks of rising, at carrying around the dinky flashlight I use to illuminate my path–are somehow shifted beside the point, as if I had been fully and completely supportive of my own efforts instead of partially engaged in pondering how I could shortchange myself.

No matter what it takes to get to a goal or achievement, once you’re there, the doubts and fears and inhibitions you felt become unimportant, like the howling wind of a storm that has since passed through your area.

3 thoughts on “Stay motivated!

  1. this is extremely familiar! I procrastinate the most when taking the jump from ‘getting ready for a project’ to ‘actually working on the project’. it is a very close parallel: there is a certain moment in the approach to the project when it seems like an insurmountable hill… but if you just keep drawing, or doing the little tasks to get into working, you will suddenly be right there in the middle of it and it is no longer a big deal. I never thought consciously of using distraction as a strategy for that moment, though: turning your brain away from the *idea* of the task — while still continuing to work on the actuality of the task. yeah!

  2. Consistency is the key to every effort. It’s what gets me out of bed in the morning (and into bed the night before). I’m intrigued on how you picked up on the powers of distraction in the post; I just dropped that part in without really thinking about it. I guess if you just start out preparing to do a silkscreen eventually you will come up with something, or at least you will have everything prepped and ready and the idea, nascent though it be, will have the great opportunity of expression.

  3. yeah, it’s really about keeping on drawing the lines, remaining seated at the desk (with the computer safely out of reach). once I’m working, the only thing that can waylay me is sad emotional thoughts, hunger, or tiredness — in any of those cases, food (real food, not just a cookie!) seems to offer a good solution: rescue my brain from the sadness at least momentarily, pick me up from lethargy or dullness, distract me a little bit from the emotion… despite a certain amount of effort, I have had zero success with the consistency thing, except in spatial organization ("this goes here, that goes there, put it away before you go to bed"). having a tiny room/workspace has trained me well in that. consistency in time-practices: totally still beyond my reach.

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