Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Finding Motivation without Goals

In my last post I wrote about plateauing and how annoying I have found it during this journey, along with some ways that have been suggested to avoid the dreaded plateau. While I don't necessarily believe that these methods always work (since I've tried them, and they haven't always done the trick), I think they're excellent suggestions to keep an individual out of a rut. Today, the topic falls into a similar category in that I am currently struggling to find my motivation. Experts suggest that in order to maintain ones motivation with working out and/or losing weight, there should be specific, measurable goals in mind so that when those tough times hit, it's easier to forge ahead, and so that there is a means of determining progress.

Other than weight loss, I don't have any real goals.

The problem isn't that I don't want to work hard, nor that I don't have the desire to push myself, or to do better in my chosen activities.  The true difficulty is that I don't know what kind of goals to set for myself other than weight loss. I really don't like to run. After Sam and I completed our marathon several years ago, I swore I wouldn't run more than a mile or two ever again. So, any sort of running goals seem out of the question. Beyond not liking it, I have a bum knee and running probably isn't doing that situation any favors (especially with all the added extra weight). I considered attempting skating, but after a recent purchase at a second-hand store, I have yet to do any more than put the skates on my feet and stare at them (of course, I have a definite fear involved with skating, so that's playing its own role)... and again, that knee of mine kind of keeps me from seriously considering this as a regular activity.  Of course there's always cycling, but I've never been one who enjoys the "race" side of cycling. I like using my bike for transportation and the occasional organized ride, and even to get in some extra exercise, but I just don't see myself ever wanting to be someone who competes in races. It loses its fun for me as soon as I add in the time element of a race.  I do live at the base of some pretty incredible mountains, so hiking is always a possibility, but with winter marching closer, I'm not sure this is the best time of year to begin such an endeavor.
*Image found here
So, what's a girl to do? Initially when I started kickboxing, I used the next belt as my motivation. It's not that I cared (nor currently care) about the next belt level itself, but it seemed reasonable to focus on what the next level test would be and how quickly I could get to that point. Focusing on weight loss was bringing too many mental struggles and although it might sound dumb, having my attention centered on how hard I could push myself seemed to be working - at least for several months. Something has happened over the last couple of months though and the next level is actually bringing about more fear than motivation. Honestly, I don't want to test again. After the last one (that I barely made it through), I fear that my lack of weight loss and inability to physically catch up to where I should be at this "level" are hindering my potential. I can't help but get lost in the idea that my body can only get so strong to make up for all the extra weight - and then what? To add to the "list of ailments" I also have an injured and weak back, which plays a role in many of the activities that are a part of kickboxing (and the testing).

While it may sound as though I'm finding excuses or complaining about injuries, the truth is I am terrified of what is to come... and even more so that I may no longer have any sort of goal or motivation to keep me moving forward. If I cannot physically do what is asked of me, how can I expect to see growth - and even more importantly, where do I focus my attention for self-challenges and goals?

For some time now, I've considered giving up kickboxing completely, or at least not participating in it for an extended period of time (of at least several months). Multiple times I've looked into other activities such as CrossFit to see if perhaps I just need a change of scenery. The reality is, however, that changing the location of my workout isn't going to do anything for my physical (or mental) state of being. I'm still going to be slow, fat, and unable to do half (or more) of the activities presented. I'm still going to struggle, and I'm still going to doubt that I am capable of doing what needs to be done. No one else can motivate or set goals for me- it has to come from within... and perhaps that's the biggest struggle of all.

I have three more belts to get in this first round/level of kickboxing, and I'll be damned if I'm going to give up on myself. I spent a lifetime hearing that if I didn't want to do something, I should simply stop doing it, and/or having various people tell me that if a particular activity was too hard, maybe I just need to take a break. That is not the motto I have lived by, nor will it be in the future. I may be exactly the same size I have been, slower than molasses, and unable to handle the gravitational forces on my body, but I will somehow find it within me to move forward. I'm not slowing down because I'm tired, or bored, or weak, or too heavy to do what I want to do - this body is just going to have to figure out how to come along for the ride because my will is stronger than any part of me, and I flat out refuse to give up.

"I don't believe you have to be better than everybody else. 
I believe you have to be better than you ever thought you could be." - Ken Venturi


  1. I know it probably doesn't feel like it, but your motivation is inspiring. I know it is so hard to do something with a specific goal in mind, and not see the progress you want. But, if you keep it up you will see some progress, or at the very least stay where you are which is progress in of itself. You could always join me at fitchicexpress for a change of scenery? They are having a 2 week free trial in January. :) Whatever you do, just know you have a fan a couple of blocks away and you are motivating her. :O)

    1. Thanks, Joey. I appreciate it... and you never know, I could show up and try out Fit Chick. Honestly, I don't think it's the workout - it's just my mental state that needs to shift. Sometimes a change of scenery is nice though. :O)

  2. Thank you for the inspiration!


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