You Need a Reason in This Season

February 15th, 2012 | Posted by Alison Spath in Motivation

This is the time of year that can be the most challenging when it comes to finding the motivation to exercise.


It’s cold. It’s dreary. Your bike is in the river.

(That’s not my bike, but you get what I’m saying.)

Here’s a little ditty that has nothing to do with bike riding, unless you like to ride for exercise in the winter. Then this can have everything to do with bike riding.

I was laying in bed the other night re-reading Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. I get to a part where she’s talking about endorphins (you know, the hormone that’s released when you’re in love, have a good laugh, orgasm, give birth without meds or after a run) and suddenly, I really missed running.

Now of course I know that running will be there for me when this baby makes his or her debut in mid June, but still. Reading about endorphins made me long for that ridiculously happy feeling I often get around the 35 minute mark during an average run.

Before I could throw myself a pity party, I read the next line that really made me think:

Endorphins give us that feeling of pleasure that comes with a job well done or a work-in-progress.

That’s when it occurred to me that I DO feel good when I get back from a walk or after a little time at the gym on the elliptical or the treadmill. Maybe that post-exercise euphoria isn’t quite as intense or as obvious as it is after a run, but I don’t ever get back from some form of exercise and regret that I made the effort to find my left sneaker that went missing and got myself out the door.

So really what it boils down to is struggling with the feelings you might have BEFORE you exercise. That’s when you need a reason to get up and get out and get moving.

My reason right now? I loaded The Hunger Games onto my iPod and I can’t wait to get out there tomorrow morning and get back into it.  Until recently, the only thing I knew about this book was that everybody and their brother seems to have read it and there’s a movie coming out next month that has generated all sorts of hype.

I’m only three chapters in and I already understand the hype. It’s really good.

Your “reason” could be anything. Maybe you’re trying to lose weight. Maybe you simply want to feel healthier. Maybe you’re hoping that regular exercise during your pregnancy will make child birth really fast and easy.  (ohpleaseohpleaseohplease!)

The secret here?  Finding your motivation is even easier when there’s something really, really specific you’re after.

Put a race on your calendar.  Get really precise with that number you’d like to see on the scale or printed on the tag of your jeans.  Find a messed up post-apocalyptic book that makes a 40 minute walk fly by in a snap.  Anything like this should totally do the trick.

Find your reason.  That’s where you’ll find your motivation.

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13 Responses

  • Jane says:

    Yay! Thanks for the motivation :)

  • Iowa Ginger says:

    I loved readng Ina May Gaskin when I was preggers! You are going to have a great arrival for your littlest weed :) Great insights today…

  • Cindy says:

    This is so cool.

    I don’t have the umph to run these days and I know I should walk but it’s gross outside (even without snow) so I have been taking BABY steps. some yoga almost daily now, dancing with the toddler almost every night…we find ways to move….gardening is my favorite but again…rain rain rain ICK.

    my motivation is to try and build some stamina again. My wick is very short and i hate it.

    also…and I am hoping this is true, but I read that regular running (or exercise in general) puts stress on your body and conditions it to deal with stress when we encounter it.

    so for those 2 years or so where I was running and trying so hard to get fit, I was not only helping my muscles and endurance but hopefully it kinda prepared me for THIS crazy messed up phase I am going thru.

    I can’t run, by I’m coping pretty well under all this stress.

    so YAY.

    so as soon as I can I am motivated to get back to some sort of new routine.


  • Lisa says:

    Ah, yes. I love this. Really—I often forget it and lose my motivation all at once. Then I wonder what my purpose is for a while, get confused, long for things that felt good in the past….and then get a wonderful reminder like this post.

    I have to go now, I need to identify a reason!

  • As always, you are very motivational. I love the picture of the bike… awesome! :)

  • So so true. I am looking for a race to put on my calendar because right now I need some motivation to run faster.

  • jen says:

    is that an official bike dumping spot? I swear there was a bike in that same spot for the longest time. But not THAT bike. It was under water though. My motivation back then was to keep riding and see if it was still there.

    • I showed Zak the picture, and when he left for his run last night he took a rope with him hoping to drag a new bike out of the river. This story would have much more interesting had he actually found it. Maybe that IS the official bike dumping spot and there are more opportunities for a new bike still to come!

  • Heidi says:

    Great post! This is such a dreary time of year. I always remind myself when I’m dragging myself to workout that I’ve NEVER regretted a workout. I’ve only regretted the ones I didn’t do.

  • sarah says:

    my current motivation – aside from the next race on the calendar – is a hiking project I’m putting together this summer. the thought of it literally lifts me out of my chair. nice shot of the bike. now get out there, girl! woo hoo!