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:
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. 😛
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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. 😉
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.
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…
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.
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