Finding Your Motivation: Challenge Yourself!


It Starts With Desire & Commitment – Not Motivation…

In my series of Low Carb Classes I shared with you the source of motivation.

A lot of people think you have to BE or GET motivated to start something new – like a diet or exercise.

I hear that a lot actually: “I want to do xyz, but I’m just not motivated enough.” Or: “I wish I had your motivation!”

The truth is, motivation is a RESULT of getting started. Once you make that commitment and force yourself to start, that is when the motivation kicks in.

You feel proud of yourself, pleased with yourself, then you start seeing or feeling results – which is when the motivation kicks in, STRONG. 😉

Getting Back To My Ambitious Exercise Goals & Adventurous Hikes

Knowing this, I forced myself to go back and complete a hike that I bailed on in August. I just did NOT feel the desire or motivation to do it that day, and I’ve regretted it ever since – because I know better.

Tip: Regrets suck! 😉

I went through a spell where I stopped hiking as much, because I stopped enjoying it.

I know exactly when and where that happened…

It was on this rock in front of Denny Falls on July 7th 2017:

LowCarbTraveler at Denny Cove Falls

I still hiked a little here and there. I grew up here in Tennessee and have always enjoyed the outdoors, and love playing in the rivers and woods.

I lost my JOY for it though, sadly.

Everything I loved about it got called into question, and I allowed that to affect me – deeply. Things like rock hopping, creek wading, exploring, laughing, facing fears, playing, taking photos, adventurous off-trail adventures… everything that brought me PURE JOY from climbing a challenging bluff (just to see the top!) to sitting still in the sunshine with my toes in the cool water.

The deeper that set in, the less I felt like going out at all.

I all but stopped taking my daily walks, stopped doing my home workouts and strength training, and stopped planning FUN adventurous hikes.

I’ve been on a few hikes since then. Nothing adventurous though. More of a “wandering in the woods” (feeling lost) kind of thing.

I just couldn’t “get into it” or find any interest or motivation to do it anymore.

The result? I lost the muscle tone and core strength I worked SO hard to build up last year.

NOTHING (no one, no thought, no feeling) is worth losing sight of your goals, or losing your joy or zest.

This is a photo of me on August 1st, the first time I attempted to hike Window Cliffs – unsuccessfully. 😛

Window Cliffs Hike - 18 River Crossings

There are 18 river crossings on this hike. It’s 5.5 miles in and out with a couple of decent elevations & inclines.

It’s considered a “strenuous hike” to the point that no pets are allowed, due to the swift water and slick rocks you have to cross 9 times each way.

I could not complete the hike that day. 🙁

I stood there at the first river crossing, and my heart just wasn’t in it.

I sat down on a rock instead, and sat there for an entire hour trying to summon the motivation. I was here, after all. I was excited about doing this hike. *sigh*

I finally packed up and hiked back out and just went home.

I gave up.

That is NOT like me, not at all…

Time went by, the season started changing, the days kept getting cooler… then cold. And all the while I was regretting that I did NOT do that hike, knowing it was getting too cold to do a “wet hike” – without freezing to death at least!

Did I mention regrets suck?!

At some point you have to get over it.

Whatever your “IT” is, whether it’s self imposed limitations, self doubt, lack of motivation, or someone or something holding you back (meaning: YOU are allowing it to hold you back). #truth

And so, on the warmest day I could find on the forecast in the middle of November, I went for it. This time I refused to give in to thoughts and feelings and doubts.

I also refused to give in to the warnings. My mind was SET and I was determined. Despite the fact that it was colder, the water would most certainly be chilling at this point in the season, and recent flooding might make this hike WAY more challenging than it would have been 3 months prior.

Window Cliffs Warning

I read that. I said, “excerise, yes!… caution, no.” (lol)

Not that I would take any unnecessary risks of course, just that I was determined to complete this hike – even if I had to find workarounds.

I’m telling you this story for a reason…

You may never want to cross a freezing cold river in November after recent flooding. You may not like the outdoors or hiking. You may NEVER venture into the deep woods alone like I do on my adventurous solo hikes.

You may not have mountains and waterfalls to hike within an hour’s drive of where you live. You may not have fitness or exercise goals, even.

But there IS something you really want, or really want to do.

And there IS something that is holding YOU back from seeing it through, and experiencing success at it.

That is what this story is about: helping you see “it” for what it is, and force yourself to get over it or power through it – so you can get started, and start seeing the RESULTS you really want.

To start, to take that first step toward your goal, you have to FORCE yourself into motion. Nobody is magically self-motivated, and you can’t buy motivation on eBay. 😉

THIS is how you get it: you just DO. You take the action.

And so on that brisk, breezy but at least sunny November morning… I stepped foot in the freezing cold waters of Cane Creek, and forced myself to put one foot in front of the other.

I knew once I was wet and cold, I would be committed.

Window Cliffs - Hiking TN

I wore lightweight quick-drying clothes and shoes, and took my hiking stick. See, caution! 🙂 I was glad I did. The 9 crossings (18 total) were SLICK, and the water was quite swift – and almost knee deep in some places.

Interestingly, to “get your feet wet” is an idiom for trying or starting something new, for taking risks or taking chances, so you can get over the fear and test the experience.

I like that. 🙂 The symbolism of my adventures never ceases to amaze me…

So yes, I hesitated. That water was cold. And I knew the minute I stepped into it that I’d be committed to completing the journey, to seeing this hike all the way through.

Was I up for almost six miles of strenuous hiking, after months of not exercising much at all and knowing my body wasn’t in the shape it used to be?

I wasn’t sure, but I was determined to do it anyway.

I did make it all the way to the Window Cliffs.

Admittedly I stopped twice along the way and sat for a few minutes, and considered turning back. I was getting deeper and deeper in the woods, and I was ALONE. Each time I got back up and forced myself forward.

This is what I was hiking toward, what I wanted to see:

Window Cliffs State Natural Area - TN Hiking

It’s a geological phenomenon. I have yet to find a GOOD photo of it. It’s a 200 foot “natural bridge” with large “windows” or holes in this amazing rock formation – that seems to just rise up out of Cane Creek.

It’s 150 feet wide at the base, but only a few feet wide at the top. Falling off the natural Window Cliffs structure would mean a 200 foot drop into the shallow Cane Creek below.

2.75 miles in, I made it… and it was breathtakingly beautiful. 🙂

I climbed to the highest point, carefully of course, and sat in the sunshine to kick off my wet shoes and dry out… and enjoy my lunch.

Hiking Window Cliffs

Before that photo was taken, I was alone up there at the top for a good hour. Long enough to think hard about why I had allowed myself to get sidetracked from my fitness goals, and how I felt about that (angry, discouraged, frustrated, defeated).

Then how GOOD it felt to FEEL that first ~3 miles setting in. And realizing I still had to hike the same distance back out (lol).

I decided there, 200 feet above the dirt I hiked in on, that I wanted my JOY back.

I wanted to feel that rush of motivation, that sense of accomplishment, that feeling of being PROUD of myself – like I had before.

Standing at the top of the Window Cliffs

This was an AMAZING hike. There was so much natural beauty, and so many different elements to experience. Swift cold water, warm sunshine, a cool breeze, hazy stratus clouds that would break to let the sun shine bright.

The fragile landform, a breathtakingly beautiful waterfall, rare trees (including northern white cedar) and plant life. It’s like a little “nature experiment” tucked off and hiding deep in the woods of Tennessee.

It was a challenging hike for me.

My fitbit calculated 74 floors, which equals 740 feet of elevation or inclines.

It only counts going UP too, it doesn’t include coming back down. 😉

Fitbit Fitness Goals - Hiking for Exercise

Just as I was climbing down and facing the hike back out, another hiker came up the trail. Casey and his dog made it to the base of the Window Cliffs in time to pass me leaving.

I stopped and turned around and asked if he would like some photos. My phone was dead, but I know how hard it can be to get a good picture – and capture any of the landscape or scenery.

He was happy for the offer, and also returned the favor – which was very kind. 🙂 And of course how I had these photos to share with you. Except the first one taken before the first river crossing, that one I took myself.

Up to that point I had been deep in the woods alone.

This is a new Natural Area that just opened earlier this year. I hiked back out alone too, but I did pass one other hiker that was headed in. Otherwise I was miles into the deep woods by myself for most of 4 1/2 hours.

The workout was GREAT, but even better was the time spent working things out in my head. I thought about how it felt to be SO CLOSE to my goal. And how it felt to let that go… and have to start over. 🙁

I thought about all the things I loved about hiking and exercising, and how that felt. The joy, the discoveries, the victory. Finding out what I’m really made of, finding my inner strength, feeling my physical strength – for the first time in my adult life.

I miss that.

I didn’t have to hike six miles, or stand on top of a narrow 200 foot tall rock to do this soul searching. I just needed to.

Specifically because I “failed” at this particular hike 3 1/2 months ago.

I balked, doubted myself, decided to give in to feelings, and give up and turn back, instead of forcing myself to “get my feet wet.”

I needed a do-over. I needed to prove to myself that I could start something… and actually FINISH it. So that’s exactly what I did.

Hiking at Window Cliffs


I got back to my car totally (but happily!) exhausted, cold, drenched from the thighs down and muddy, with the stiffness already setting in where I hadn’t had a decent workout in months.

But DAMN it felt good! 🙂

That was one of three workouts last week. I’m ready to put my reasons for quitting, and my regrets about it, and all the feelings associated with it all behind me – for good.

I know that the only way to get OVER it, is to TAKE ACTION.

That’s true with anything. It doesn’t matter if you’re starting over, or starting for the very first time. If you want something, go for it. If you want to feel better, look better, BE better, do better, whatever it is you want – or want to change – in your life…

Just get your feet wet. 🙂

Take that first step, and then let one foot fall in front of the other.

Yes you have to force it at first. Yes it might suck for a minute, or a week. But you already know how it feels NOT to do it. How it feels to WANT it, or to WISH things were different. Imagine how it would FEEL to accomplish it – whatever your goal is.

That’s what I want: to know what it FEELS like to be in amazing shape. To be physically fit and strong and in the best shape of my life!

What about you?

What did you quit? Or what have you not fully committed to yet? Or what is it you desperately want to get back to in your life, or experience for the first time even?

Food for thought today…

As for me, I’m ready to be OVER it and get back to my ambitious exercise goals and adventurous hikes! I’m ready to find my JOY again, to get back to being the version of ME that I love, and to let everything else go.

I’m not over it yet, and my heart isn’t totally in it – yet. But I realized I have two choices: let my feelings continue to totally derail me from my goals, or get back to focusing on my goals – instead of my feelings.

Your heart cannot lead your feet.

Your feet must lead your heart…

You cannot run your life on emotions, or feelings or wishes or doubts or regrets.

If you want something in life, take action.

MAKE it happen! 😉

That’s what I’m off to do.

Are you with me? 🙂

Remember: motivation is the RESULT of commitment.

Not the other way around…

Lynn Terry,
aka @LowCarbTraveler

p.s. I’m so pleased that I did not turn to food during this time, or falter from my low carb lifestyle. I spent time appreciating my accomplishments on this hike too, and how far I’ve come in my health journey. The body is much easier to shape and sculpt… than the mind. Your mindset plays such a BIG role though. So I hope this gives you something to ponder today, and a reason to set aside whatever is holding you back – and seek out your own motivation.

instagram low carb @lowcarbtraveler @lowcarbtraveler @lowcarbtraveler pinterest low carb


Netrition – The Internet’s Premier Nutrition Superstore!

Low Carb Snack Box


About Lynn Terry

I love making the low carb diet EASY for people with a busy lifestyle (like me!) with my KISS / Keep It Simple method. :) About Lynn Terry: Host of the Low Carb Challenge
This entry was posted in Fitness & Exercise. Bookmark the permalink.


20 Responses to Finding Your Motivation: Challenge Yourself!

  1. Cathy Johnson says:

    This is a very inspiring article, Lynn! I’m so glad I took the time to read it. I not only read it, but added it to my Pinterest Inspirations page! Thank you for all the work you do!

  2. ,Gina says:

    Thanks Lyn.
    I needed to read this today. I felt like you were speaking directly to me but i know this could apply to anyone trying to start over again. 🙂

    • Lynn Terry says:

      Yes, and on anything in life we’re putting off or not fully committed to yet for whatever reason. I think defining that reason and dissecting it even is key.

      I had to read this again today myself… 😉 lol

      It was exceptionally hard to write, and I’m still working through it all.

  3. Tammy Howard says:

    I needed this today, Lynn. I have hovered over this low-carb challenge for a couple of years now and never stuck to it to make it work. Nobody can do this for me. I HAVE TO DO IT FOR MYSELF. I have to find my want-to, make up my mind, and do this thing. When is the next LCC? I’m IN!

    • Lynn Terry says:

      Hi Tammy 🙂

      Just stick with me right here! I continue eating low carb 24/7. I’ll host an unofficial year-end challenge through December then we’ll kick off a 90 Day Challenge for the New Year.

      But start with me NOW. 🙂 You’ll never “find” the want-to or the motivation, but you can commit… and the other will follow. That’s the only thing that has ever worked for me. 😉

      And WOW, it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. You’ll feel the same way!! Imagine feeling accomplished, proud, HAPPY, lean and pleased with yourself. 🙂 Get that image very clear in your mind. It feels GOOD, and you WANT that!

  4. Nicole Deckard says:

    This really resonated with me today because I too experience the same feelings and self doubt. But I am also a firm believer of the Nike motto “Just Do It”!

    My bucket list is to run a full marathon someday and I realize that is not something I can do overnight. I have asthma and was 30 pounds overweight at the beginning of the year (now gone thanks to the KETO diet). I ran a half marathon two weeks ago and have registered for my next challenge in April (10K + half marathon). I realize the journey is as important as the destination. Putting my running shoes on is the hardest part of 🙂 training (lots of internal chatter to overcome)!

    Thanks for sharing your thought because they are always inspiring. Keep dippin’ the toes!

    • Lynn Terry says:

      Wow Nicole – KUDOS and congrats!! You really took control of your health, and the results speak for themselves. 😉 I love your goal, and your determination to see it through. SO inspiring!!

      I can only imagine what it’s going to FEEL like when you do run that full marathon. 🙂 🙂 I’m sure that’s what keeps you lacing up those shoes.;)

  5. bonnie Whitworth says:

    wow……when you do a hike you do it big and trust me that takes a lot more than motivation. Great writing and good information.

    • Lynn Terry says:

      Thank you, Bonnie. 🙂 And yes, a lot more – like spite and anger and frustration, lol. Sometimes those can be the best driving forces to get you over a hump. 😛

  6. Melody Buzby says:

    Thank you Lynn!!
    My feet are moving again, off to the beach to walk and take in all the glory of living in a beautiful and majestic place on this earth. Something also happened to me in July. Not sure what it was maybe negative people that I allowed to influence me. It is time to take back control of my life and not let the negative Nellies control me. Thank you again for all that you do for us. I will be forever grateful for your daily inspiration. Off I go to feel the sand in my toes again.

    • Lynn Terry says:

      Well put, Melody – and I so love to feel the sand between my toes. 🙂 Wonderful! I agree, it’s months past and it’s time to put July (and all that happened way back then) far behind us… and walk on. 😉 *cheers*

  7. Such an inspiring post, thank you Lynn! Well done for doing that challenging hike that you hadn’t completed in the past! And for drawing and sharing such powerful conclusions. You are right about making the feet lead the heart, taking action and finishing what we have started.

    I have a lot of things which I have started and never finished. This used to make me feel weak and unaccomplished. I realised that it used to happen because I didn’t believe that I would succeed with what I had started. I still need to do a lot of work in this respect.

    Setting ourselves challenges and finishing them is a great way to build self-confidence. 🙂

    • Lynn Terry says:

      It really is, Galina. And sometimes we need that “immediate gratification” or feeling of completion – a sense of accomplishment NOW. Which is why I felt completing the hike would help me finish other things I had started and balked on in my life.

      It is definitely a mental hurdle, finishing what we start, and seeing things through. Even with my weight loss journey, I had anxiety about success. Such as: Who am I if I’m not struggling or dieting? What do I do when I’m stressed or upset if I don’t eat?

      Big change is scary. Not knowing yourself (or who you will be) feels uncomfortable. But so does squeezing a size 14 body into size 12 jeans lol, or just feeling unhappy and dissatisfied with yourself… which is no way to live.

      I know what it feels like to get by. I know what it feels like to fail. I know what it feels like to take a break. I want to know what it FEELS like to finish – succeed – WIN. 🙂

  8. Angela says:

    Thank you so much!!! I needed this! I was on a journey losing…and getting fit…then I’m not sure what happened…about a year ago….gained weight…and fitness slacked off to almost nil. I’ve felt like I need a “Me” day…to do nothing but just sit and think and figure it out…but obviously have not taken that. I think during the holidays…of course after I get everything taken care of that I need to do…that will be my treat to myself! I love seeing your hiking pictures – absolutely beautiful. I love hiking and the mountains…but am not brave enough to go alone.

    • Lynn Terry says:

      I get that, Angela – I think a “me day” now and then is SO important, which is exactly what my time in the woods (and off the grid) is for me. 🙂

      Normally the places I hike are popular and there are plenty of other hikers around, within shouting distance at least lol. But not always. I do venture off trail, and way off the beaten path even sometimes – specifically for that “me time” and to find a quiet place to really work things out in my mind while my feet take me where they will.

      The best thing we can do though, is just start right where we are. Right here, right now – because this moment is the only one that really exists.

      Waiting for the right time or the right day, well… you know how that goes, lol. Or I do. There’s never really a right time or day, life is busy and full. 😛

      Something I learned from Laura, author of “Skinny, Fat, Perfect!” is this:

      If not now, when?

      I like that.

  9. Arlene Skellington says:

    thanks, this one really helped me!

    • Lynn Terry says:

      I’m so glad, Arlene. 🙂 It was really hard to write. I sat down four times and kept scrapping it, and still don’t feel like I even scratched the surface – so I really appreciate your reply. So much emotion went into this hike, and then into talking about it “out loud” – and still, in working through it all. *cheers*

  10. Pingback: Mindset & Motivation: Focusing On What Matters To Achieve Your Goals (Faster) | Low Carb Diet Tips for Busy People

  11. Pingback: Lost & Found Department: Fear, Mindset, Motivation & Goals -Tales From The Trails | Low Carb Diet Tips for Busy People

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *