This month I've been thinking more about what motivates people and what motivates me in particular. I think different people are motivated by different things based on individual personalities and goals that may change or evolve over time.
For instance, I love being active and fit but I also like to sit for long periods and crochet or write. When I get caught up in a project, I can easily forget to be active. I might even let other distractions such as laundry, cleaning, social media, tv, food prep or anything else keep me from being active. I might call these distractions "obligations" to make them sound more important but they're really just excuses.
In my last post I discussed how gadgets such as my Garmin vivofit and cycle computer help with motivation by tracking my activity and progress. This daily accountability is a great tool but doesn't provide the big motivating reason I need to keep me on track.
When I look at my athletic friends, it seems like a lot of them use races to keep them motivated. They sign up for a race or a series of races, then either train on their own, with a coach or with a group of friends with similar goals. They seem to love it and they love everything about it including the race day excitement.
For me, racing is not motivating. It is totally stressful. I have done a few 'fun' races over the years but I cannot say I enjoyed them. Everybody is very encouraging and supportive yet I still get stressed by the high energy and excitement at these events. Even volunteering at races is difficult for me as I literally 'feel' the tension and don't like it.
Since racing is not an option for me, I have to come up with another really good reason to be active and get fit in the winter when it is challenging to ride outside. I like to make exercise a practical part of my day so I will continue to bike to work as detailed in this post. In the winter with shorter daylight hours and freezing temperatures, my route changes from park path to road and I refuse to ride on days it might snow since safety can be a concern.
From experience, I know I need more than just biking to work and walking the dog to stay fit in the winter. I have lots of options. I can ride my trainer (not exciting), jog (it's been a few years), cross country ski (depends on snow), lift weights (we have a home gym) and/or body weight exercises (did I mention we have a home gym?).
So there are lots of options but how do I make myself exercise regularly in the winter? I need a really good reason and I think I have found one that is perfect for me. My husband and I have been talking about signing up for a 2-week bike tour with CanBiCuba. They have one scheduled to start January 24th, 2015. You can read all about it here. We did this tour in 2010 and loved it. You can view our Picasa Web album photos from that trip here. Even though I was relatively unprepared for the longer distances and climbs, I managed just fine and had a great time.
I made it up this mountain called La Grand Piedra on my own where my husband was waiting to greet me at the top. Full disclosure - I did have to walk a few sections.
We rode this beautiful coastal road (120 km) without support as the bus could not drive this route and ran out of water for the last 25 km. The climbs were long, the vistas were gorgeous and we loved it. This leg of the tour is now supported with a jeep carrying water which is great.
For a change of pace, we also enjoyed some interesting hikes in the mountains in Cuba.
Since I am familiar with the route and know what to expect, I would like to challenge myself to ride a bit better. The last time, my husband helped push me up some (OK a lot) of the mountains but I would prefer to do it on my own and think he would appreciate that as well. Looking back at these photos from 5 years ago, I would say I was in pretty good shape and will have to work really, really hard to do better.
I also crashed a couple times on the last tour. Nothing serious but I did hit the ground on both the first and last day. It made me a bit nervous to ride with strangers so another challenge is to ride confidently yet carefully with no crashing this time.
Improved fitness will help me ride better. Improved fitness will provide the strength required to position myself safely in a group. Improved fitness will allow me to ride the mountains without a helping hand. Improved fitness will allow me to tour with enough energy to enjoy the local sites and social time at the end of each day. I love all the benefits of travel touring with improved fitness.
So that's my "big motivating reason" to get fit even if I might prefer to sit and crochet when it's cold outside. What about you? What keeps you motivated to get out there and just do it?
In keeping with this theme, I've decided August should be Motivation Month at meo my crochet. I have asked a couple of my athletic friends who are also into crochet and/or knitting to contribute their stories on motivation. Watch for More on Motivation later this month.