Finding Motivation

For the past week or two, I’ve been attempting to get into the habit of running. It’s been pretty good so far. I’ve successfully made it past the first several days of pain and still kept going. This itself, is a remarkable achievement for me.

There are a couple of things that have been motivating me. There are the overall benifits of running. I’d like to be in better shape. I’d also like to quit smoking (the idea is that running will help this process). This doesn’t always cut it as far as motivation goes though, so I find myself employing a kind of backwards logic to get myself going.

There’s two thoughts in my head every morning that have been enabling to get up and run:

  1. On any given day, I can think of an excuse not to run. Whether the excuse is that it’s too cold, it’s snowing or that I have a hangover, it doesn’t matter. The fact that I can always dream up an excuse makes all excuses invalid.
  2. At this point I’m only running about a mile. So, no matter how terrible it is, I can be assured that the torture will be over in no more than 15 minutes. It truly would be sad not to be able to subject myself to 15 minutes of physical exertion.

So far, this kind of strange logic has been successful enough in getting me to actually run. The past couple of days though…I’ve been seriously lacking in motivation. Yesterday I bagged it completely without even trying to justify it. I just decided I wasn’t going to run. Today, I found it very difficult to run as well.

When I woke up this morning, I could just tell that it was cold out. It was also very windy. I could feel my house shuddering with each gust of wind. For the record, it’s this cold:

Temperature for 3/6/07 in Boston, MA

What kind of crazy person would willingly subject themselves to running in that? I knew that nothing short of an extraordinary effort would get me to run today. What can I say, I’m stubborn.

The Solution

I happened to be borrowing one of my friend’s car. I needed to return it to her house today, which involved driving it there and then walking home. As pointed out before, it’s cold out. Why would I want to walk home from her house? I had this great idea, I should drive to her house, ditch the car, then run home. Once I was there, I’d have to get home somehow. If it’s cold out, all the more reason to run instead of walk.

I proceeded with the plan. After I parked the car and got out, I quickly realized that perhaps this was not such a great idea. I very nearly got back into the car and drove home. But then there would still be the problem of having to leave the car at her house at some point. There was nothing to do but run.

And run I did. I ran very fast. It was very cold. I didn’t even think about stopping until I was at my doorstep. The entire time, I had the very real sense that if I stopped running, I die. After all, I was only wearing running attire, not the normal winter bundles.

So, after this morning’s experiment, I have come to realize that the key to finding the motivation to run is as simple as just finding a way to activate your survival instinct.

Now that I’m without the whole car thing, I just have to figure out something for tomorrow…

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1. ni

your page looks even better. Just caught up with all the lovliness I’ve been missing. You’re so funny. You should get more people to read your page. Advertise or something. And it’s wicked good you’re still running. Some days I don’t know how you do it.