Find the One Thing

Monday August 26, 2013

Written by: Maria Finnegan, Group Exercise Instructor

The alarm on my phone goes off at 5:15am. Snooze. Rings again. Snooze. Second Alarm 5:29am. One more moment in bed. In the next moment, mind and body have a little battle. It is cold and dark. Body wants to stay in bed. Mind says one thing:  “There are people waiting for you.”  I get out of bed.

This is how it goes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning. Bootcamp starts at 6am and there are people waiting for me, counting on me to be there. Some days, depending on the week or time of year, there could be 2 people or 15. It doesn’t matter if it’s one person. Just knowing that one person is waking up, getting out of bed, and expecting to meet me at 6am, is some days, the single motivating factor for me to roll out of bed and workout before the sun comes up. Of course, I could list probably ten more reasons that I work out. I’m motivated to stay fit for myself, my family. I like the way I feel and look when I exercise. I feel strong, confident, inside and out. It’s fun and challenging. All of these are fantastic motivators.

Anyone who has a regular workout routine could create a list like this too. But on the flip side, don’t we also all have a list of reasons/excuses of why we can’t workout? Too Tired…Too cold… Too hot… Too early… Too late… Too hungry… Too full. The list can go on and on. And that is why I have workout buddies. My workout buddies have proven to win out over all those other excuses almost 100% of the time. (Illness, sick kids, vacation are really the only excuses that trump my friends!)

Full disclosure time…I am financially compensated for my efforts of getting out of bed and showing up. Those workout buddies do pay me. But that wasn’t always the case.  I didn’t start charging a fee for bootcamp until September of 2012. (and that was really only at the insistence of the buddies!) Prior to that, I led bootcamp workouts for over a year without any payment. I didn’t want anyone to pay me…I just wanted friends to work out with me and realize that it is very possible to make time for exercise. My “payment” was having that extra layer of accountability in place to keep me going, to keep me getting up and moving my body.

Recognizing that everyone is different, today’s post is simply a way of sharing my motivation. People frequently ask me, “How do you do it?” How do I get up and workout? This is how. I have people who are counting on me. That’s it. Plain and simple. Even before I became a group exercise instructor, I used to take classes at gyms and I loved the fact that people were looking for me, “saving me a spot,” meeting me at the club for a class. As an instructor, I see students who come back week after week for that same sense of community, of “belonging.” They too are motivated by others and the camaraderie of working out in a group.

So maybe a workout buddy could work for you. Call a friend, grab a neighbor, get your dog, go for a walk. Or maybe you have a different motivator, something that trumps all other excuses. I see plenty of runners and bikers out on the roads and they are alone and maybe that is what works for them. Perhaps it’s the quiet, the time with their thoughts without any other sound than their breath that gets them out of the house and moving. Again, everyone has their reasons, their inspirations for exercise. The key is finding what that one thing is. What is the one thing that will push you to roll out of bed, to get your sneakers on, to head to the gym instead of going straight home after work?

When you find it…identify it, hold on to it, write it down somewhere that you can see it every day. Let that one thing be more important than any other excuse that floats into your head. It’s okay if it takes time to find it. Hit the snooze button a few times…then get out of bed, off the couch, up from your chair and go!