- One Goal. Whenever I’ve been in a slump, I’ve discovered that it’s often because I have too much going on in my life. I’m trying to do too much. And it saps my energy and motivation. It’s probably the most common mistake that people make: they try to take on too much, try to accomplish too many goals at once. You cannot maintain energy and focus (the two most important things in accomplishing a goal) if you are trying to do two or more goals at once. It’s not possible — I’ve tried it many times. You have to choose one goal, for now, and focus on it completely. I know, that’s hard. Still, I speak from experience. You can always do your other goals when you’ve accomplished your One Goal.
- Find inspiration. Inspiration, for me, comes from others who have achieved what I want to achieve, or who are currently doing it. I read other blogs, books, magazines. I Google my goal, and read success stories. Zen Habits is just one place for inspiration, not only from me but from many readers who have achieved amazing things.
- Get excited. This sounds obvious, but most people don’t think about it much: if you want to break out of a slump, get yourself excited about a goal. But how can you do that when you don’t feel motivated? Well, it starts with inspiration from others (see above), but you have to take that excitement and build on it. For me, I’ve learned that by talking to my wife about it, and to others, and reading as much about it as possible, and visualizing what it would be like to be successful (seeing the benefits of the goal in my head), I get excited about a goal. Once I’ve done that, it’s just a matter of carrying that energy forward and keeping it going.
- Build anticipation. This will sound hard, and many people will skip this tip. But it really works. It helped me quit smoking after many failed attempts. If you find inspiration and want to do a goal, don’t start right away. Many of us will get excited and want to start today. That’s a mistake. Set a date in the future — a week or two, or even a month — and make that your Start Date. Mark it on the calendar. Get excited about that date. Make it the most important date in your life. In the meantime, start writing out a plan. And do some of the steps below. Because by delaying your start, you are building anticipation, and increasing your focus and energy for your goal.
- Post your goal. Print out your goal in big words. Make your goal just a few words long, like a mantra (“Exercise 15 mins. Daily”), and post it up on your wall or refrigerator. Post it at home and work. Put it on your computer desktop. You want to have big reminders about your goal, to keep your focus and keep your excitement going. A picture of your goal (like a model with sexy abs, for example) also helps.
- Commit publicly. None of us likes to look bad in front of others. We will go the extra mile to do something we’ve said publicly. For example, when I wanted to run my first marathon, I started writing a column about it in my local daily newspaper. The entire island of Guam (pop. 160K) knew about my goal. I couldn’t back down, and even though my motivation came and went, I stuck with it and completed it. Now, you don’t have to commit to your goal in your daily newspaper, but you can do it with friends and family and co-workers, and you can do it on your blog if you have one. And hold yourself accountable — don’t just commit once, but commit to giving progress updates to everyone every week or so.
- Think about it daily. If you think about your goal every day, it is much more likely to become true. To this end, posting the goal on your wall or computer desktop (as mentioned above) helps a lot. Sending yourself daily reminders also helps. And if you can commit to doing one small thing to further your goal (even just 5 minutes) every single day, your goal will almost certainly come true.
- Get support. It’s hard to accomplish something alone. When I decided to run my marathon, I had the help of friends and family, and I had a great running community on Guam who encouraged me at 5K races and did long runs with me. When I decided to quit smoking, I joined an online forum and that helped tremendously. And of course, my wife Eva helped every step of the way. I couldn’t have done these goals without her, or without the others who supported me. Find your support network, either in the real world or online, or both.
- Realize that there’s an ebb and flow. Motivation is not a constant thing that is always there for you. It comes and goes, and comes and goes again, like the tide. But realize that while it may go away, it doesn’t do so permanently. It will come back. Just stick it out and wait for that motivation to come back. In the meantime, read about your goal (see below), ask for help (see below), and do some of the other things listed here until your motivation comes back.
- Stick with it. Whatever you do, don’t give up. Even if you aren’t feeling any motivation today, or this week, don’t give up. Again, that motivation will come back. Think of your goal as a long journey, and your slump is just a little bump in the road. You can’t give up with every little bump. Stay with it for the long term, ride out the ebbs and surf on the flows, and you’ll get there.
- Start small. Really small. If you are having a hard time getting started, it may be because you’re thinking too big. If you want to exercise, for example, you may be thinking that you have to do these intense workouts 5 days a week. No — instead, do small, tiny, baby steps. Just do 2 minutes of exercise. I know, that sounds wimpy. But it works. Commit to 2 minutes of exercise for one week. You may want to do more, but just stick to 2 minutes. It’s so easy, you can’t fail. Do it at the same time, every day. Just some crunches, 2 pushups, and some jogging in place. Once you’ve done 2 minutes a day for a week, increase it to 5, and stick with that for a week. In a month, you’ll be doing 15-20. Want to wake up early? Don’t think about waking at 5 a.m. Instead, think about waking 10 minutes earlier for a week. That’s all. Once you’ve done that, wake 10 minutes earlier than that. Baby steps.
- Build on small successes. Again, if you start small for a week, you’re going to be successful. You can’t fail if you start with something ridiculously easy. Who can’t exercise for 2 minutes? (If that’s you, I apologize.) And you’ll feel successful, and good about yourself. Take that successful feeling and build on it, with another baby step. Add 2-3 minutes to your exercise routine, for example. With each step (and each step should last about a week), you will feel even more successful. Make each step really, really small, and you won’t fail. After a couple of months, your tiny steps will add up to a lot of progress and a lot of success.
- Read about it daily. When I lose motivation, I just read a book or blog about my goal. It inspires me and reinvigorates me. For some reason, reading helps motivate and focus you on whatever you’re reading about. So read about your goal every day, if you can, especially when you’re not feeling motivated.
- Call for help when your motivation ebbs. Having trouble? Ask for help. Email me. Join an online forum. Get a partner to join you. Call your mom. It doesn’t matter who, just tell them your problems, and talking about it will help. Ask them for advice. Ask them to help you overcome your slump. It works.
- Think about the benefits, not the difficulties. One common problem is that we think about how hard something is. Exercise sounds so hard! Just thinking about it makes you tired. But instead of thinking about how hard something is, think about what you will get out of it. For example, instead of thinking about how tiring exercise can be, focus on how good you’ll feel when you’re done, and how you’ll be healthier and slimmer over the long run. The benefits of something will help energize you.
- Squash negative thoughts; replace them with positive ones. Along those lines, it’s important to start monitoring your thoughts. Recognize negative self-talk, which is really what’s causing your slump. Just spend a few days becoming aware of every negative thought. Then, after a few days, try squashing those negative thoughts like a bug, and then replacing them with a corresponding positive thought. Squash, “This is too hard!” and replace it with, “I can do this! If that wimp Leo can do it, so can I!” It sounds corny, but it works. Really.
1. Mild Nausea or Headache
If you push yourself super hard or try a new workout that’s extra intense (Crossfit, anyone?) and feel mildly queasy afterwards, you may just be dehydrated. This is true of a headache as well-any head pain that occurs during a tough workout is likely a sign that you haven’t had enough fluid, and it should ease once you take a good, long drink from your water bottle.
When to call your doctor: If it doesn’t go away after a few hours after your workout. “You could be fighting off an illness like the flu, and exerting yourself has brought the symptoms to the forefront,” says Jason Karp, PhD, an exercise physiologist and personal trainer.
2. Facial Redness
This is more of a vanity concern than a physical one, but it can still be alarming to catch a glimpse of your beet red face post-spin class. The cause: increased blood flow to the skin as your body tries to cool itself. This is particularly true if you’re indoors and the ventilation is poor or the room is extra hot, resulting in even more blood flow and an even redder face. But it will go away on its own when you cool down and your body has no further need to send all that extra blood to the skin’s surface, Karp says.
When to call your doctor: For redness that only occurs during exercise, there’s no real medical reason it won’t clear up on its own. But if it occurs when you’re not exerting yourself, you may want to see a dermatologist. It could indicate a skin condition like Rosacea or be the result of sun damage
3. A Head Rush or Mild Lightheadedness
When you work out full throttle you send blood to all those muscles-and away from your head, according to Karp. Since the brain is one of the most important organs, it typically takes what it needs, but a difficult workout can draw enough blood away that you get a head rush or feel lightheaded. If this happens, stop right away and bend over like you see professional athletes-they’re trying to get their brain closer to their heart to improve blood flow.
When to call your doctor: If the feeling doesn’t go away after 30 to 60 minutes. If you don’t feel normal again after an hour, there may be something else going on that a medical professional needs to diagnose.
4. Charlie Horse (Muscle Cramp)
This typically happens when you’ve over-fatigued a muscle. If you feel it mid-workout, stop and try to massage it out. If you still feel it afterward, try heat to loosen the muscle up-but skip ice, which can make the muscle tense up even further.
When to call your doctor: If the muscle still stays clenched for hours (or a day) after your workout-you may need to see a physical therapist to work out the knot.
5. Mild Cramping
The first thing you need to do is identify the source-is it uterine, intestinal, or a side stitch? When you’re mid-workout it may not always be obvious. Since women can experience some mild menstrual cramping even before their period, calculate the time of the month, then hone in on the sensation; most of us can easily differentiate uterine cramping from any other kind once we pay attention. Then take an OTC pain reliever after you cool down. Side stitches, on the other hand, typically occur during or after an up and down movement, like running, which tugs at the connective tissues that hold the organs in place; slow down and massage the area, which usually makes the pain go away. If it’s intestinal in origin: well, you probably need to go to the bathroom.
When to call your doctor: If the pain gets much worse or sharper-and doesn’t seem to originate from any of three categories above. In extreme cases, it could indicate appendicitis (though exercise won’t necessarily bring this on).
Courtesy of Shape.com.
Every year when the weather cools off, grizzly bears and black bears head into dens and other natural dwellings. They don’t come out until spring—sometimes 5 to 6 months later.
Their body temperature drops. Their heart rate plummets. Their metabolism slows. They take about one breath per minute. They do not eat. They do not drink. They don’t even urinate or defecate the entire hibernation period.
Do yourself a favor and do not be like our bear friends. When the weather gets cold, it’s tempting to stay inside our den all winter long, watching our metabolism slow as we eat even more and exercise even less. To many, sitting in front of the fire reading a book or watching television is more comfortable than inhaling ice-cold air while running around the neighborhood.
That said, let’s create a new normal for the winter months—one filled with indoor and outdoor workouts that speed up your metabolism and offset the inevitable weight gain we all brace for.
Being a grizzly bear hibernating in a cave is boring. Instead, motivate yourself to do the opposite when the weather cools off. Here are some ideas.
SIGN UP FOR A RACE
Nothing inspires like an end goal, and for runners, that’s often an event on the calendar.
A race is a great motivator no matter what time of year it is. While cold-weather races are less common, there are still plenty out there. Turkey trots, jingle bell runs, resolution runs and cupid runs take place all over the country from November through February. Sign up for one and let your pride take it from there.
If all those options are too cold, sign up for a longer race in March or April and make sure you put in the time to get ready for it. Either way, it will require you to stop hibernating and start running.
No, the treadmill is not as fun as a nice run outside. But there are ways to make it interesting.
- Like a GPS watch, the data of your workout is right in front of you as you run. Set a goal (I’m going to hit 3 miles in less than 28 minutes, or I’m going to progress to 7 miles per hour in the next 10 minutes) and go for it.
- Does your favorite football team have a game on Sunday? Head to the gym and run on the treadmill for the first quarter. Your workout will be done before you know it.
Nothing beats heading out for a run in a new pair of shoes or shorts or a new shirt. Now that the weather is colder, it’s a great excuse to get some new gear to flaunt.
A new pair of gloves, or a long-sleeve shirt, or pants, or ear warmers are necessary additions to your running outfit. Splurge, then head outside and show it all off.
There are some routes that you tend to avoid in the summertime—like trails with no trees to shade you from the baking heat, or tourist-friendly streets that are too crowded during peak season.
Now that the weather has changed, you can start hitting those routes again. Winter-friendly routes do the job of mixing up your training and keeping things interesting. And with less people out, those paths are all yours.
BRACE FOR THE BULGE
Let’s face it—the holidays are rough on our waistline. Thanksgiving is a foodie’s favorite day, and the holiday season in December is filled with parties, family gatherings…and a lot of food.
Keeping your running strong throughout these trying times will minimize the damage done. And what can be more motivating than that?
‘TIS THE SEASON
Flip the script. Is the cold weather and lack of daylight demotivating you? Let the hibernating funk of winter motivate you to get outside a few times a week.
When the winter months hit, we’re inside more than enough. Take that attitude and prioritize a few days a week of outdoor running. Along with the new gear, new routes and upcoming race on your calendar, emphasizing running time shouldn’t be a problem.
After all, you are not a grizzly bear. Don’t hibernate like one.
Courtesy of Active.com
Check out our friends at GeigerRig to enter the Holiday Giveaway for a chance to win BlueBuds X and a GeigerRig pack.
Mobile Link: http://l.inkto.it/hh1o
Illustration by Matt Collins.
Pro triathlete Jesse Thomas shares his personal gear/services/stuff checklist for balancing a crazy life.
Most triathletes are gear junkies—it’s the nature of a sport that is second only to NASCAR in the amount of equipment necessary to participate. And while I don’t view myself as a total gear dork, my jobs are definitely aided by lots of “stuff” on a daily basis. Plus, being a former product developer and now business owner, I have a particularly deep appreciation for well-designed stuff and services.
It’s no secret that I have sponsors who provide me with a few of the things listed here. And yes, it’s probably of some marginal benefit to them if I mention their products. But alas, this is not a sponsored piece in any way, shape or form. I didn’t tell any of them I was doing this, and I didn’t ask for anyone’s suggestions.
What I did do was go through my stuff—my backpack, garage, closet, car, hair, etc., and identified the things that I use often and thought were particularly valuable to me, and maybe not totally obvious. Given the day-to-day craziness of balancing my current Triathlife, I focused on products that have the following characteristics:
Save me time, hassle, headache and/or public embarrassment
Make me more effective as an athlete, business owner, husband and father
Anything that makes me say “booyah” every time I use it
So here is a bunch of stuff that does some or all of those things for me. Hopefully they will for you also.
Jaybird BlueBuds X headphones
No joke, these wireless, Bluetooth little dudes are either in my pocket or on my ears the entire day while riding, running, working, driving, making dinner, etc. I use them for phone calls, music, podcasts, audiobooks or just to pretend that I’m doing something important.
Mini fan, ear plugs and Tempur-Pedic Sleep Mask
I’m a fussier sleeper than my baby boy, so I use a mask, ear plugs and a tiny fan by my face every single night. High maintenance in the house! But I sleep better, which is the first step to doing anything well. The Tempur-Pedic mask is worth the extra coin because it lets you open your eyes with the mask on. Booyah!
I order almost everything online through AmazonPrime. My recent orders include tools, most of the stuff on this list, and yes, TP. The included two-day shipping saves lots of time and energy, especially now that every trip out of the house means bringing baby and his car full of gear.
Safeway roasted chicken, Daiya cheese, corn tortillas, guacamole in a bag
Heat two pans. Add tortillas and cheese. Microwave chicken for 1 min. Put chicken on cheese. Squirt some guac in there. Fold. This gluten-free, dairy-free meal can be made up to nine times a week and will always taste amazing. Prep time is 4–6 minutes, depending on the distance from microwave to stove.
Roka Sim Short
Designed to simulate a wetsuit body position in the pool, the Sim short also allows me to swim faster (2–4 sec/100) with the same effort when I’m with a fast group or I just need extra rest that day.
Remington Dual Blade Facial Trimmer
Lauren doesn’t dig a smooth-legged man, so I only shave on the road before my races. This face trimmer does a surprisingly fast and effective job of grooming my fur. Plus, it’s the size of a pen and battery operated, which means it’s super packable.
Patrick is my VP of operations at Picky Bars. We collaborate heavily and regularly, but he manages day-to-day operations at the office, enabling me to race, have a family and own a business without all three imploding. While Patrick isn’t for sale (at least I hope he’s not) the advice here is to identify where you may be able to employ your own Patrick—for business, financial management, groceries or other needs—who complements your skill set, can take over some of the stuff on your plate and enable you to spend more time doing the things only you can do.
ExOfficio underwear and Quiksilver Amphibian shorts
I have an incredible ability to sweat. This is the only underwear/shorts combo I’ve found that can handle that ability.
I only read at night when I’m in bed, which is why it took me two years to finish The Count of Monte Cristo. But Audible lets me listen to books at any time. I now have lots of time to learn.
Miss Jessie’s Quick Curls
If I didn’t use hair product after a workout, I’d not only look like a goober, but a small family of squirrels might jump out of my hair nest during a business meeting. This product works well on my curly fro, and it has the name Jessie in it.
Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Barrier Lite Jacket
Again, it’s all about efficiency. This light windbreaker/rain jacket gets me through about 20 degrees of temp and weather change, and crunches down super small to fit in a jersey pocket. I carry that jacket with me 10 months a year.
Hulu, Netflix and now HBO Go. Can you say “recovery”? Jude, my baby son, likes “The Sopranos.”
I know, what a surprise! Honestly, they’re always in my bag and are my go-to snack because they’re tasty, balanced and the perfect caloric size. I also leave them under my bed for when I wake up starving and I’m too hungry to fall back asleep but too tired to go to the kitchen.
Something always hurts, and a lacrosse ball has the perfect size, shape, hardness and grip for self-inflicted pain/massage. I always have one in my bag.
Motorola Razr Droid
I know everyone loves their iPhone blah blah blah. But seriously, the battery on this thing is so money, I never have to worry about it dying on my ride just because I also made a phone call that day.
Specialized Roubaix tires
All my non-race wheels have these tires on them. They never flat. It’s nuts! They save me time and keep my marriage intact because I never have to call Lauren for a pickup out in the middle of nowhere.
Google Drive and Documents
The system I use to collaborate with my Picky Bars team from anywhere, log my workouts and write articles like this one! Seamlessly used on phone and computer, always up to date.
Courtesy of triathlon.competitor.com
At JayBird we put our products through the ringer to make certain they stand up to the elements. We went for a mid-day run through the city that quickly turned into a snowy summit in the hills. Get outside and #EmbraceTheElements
http://www.jaybirdsport.com // PowerYourPassion
Life Time Fitness is the club of choice for JayBird and the place our employees go to help them stay active and fit. With the BlueBuds X now available in over 100 LTF locations throughout North America, we paid a visit to our local club and asked a random group of members to try out the BlueBuds X for themselves and see if they wanted to Cut the Cord and go wireless.
JayBird is the Official Earbud of Life Time Fitness. #PowerYourPassion