Finding Motivation to Exercise

After reading Jacquie’s post yesterday it got me thinking about how difficult it is to find motivation to exercise when you are already in a bit of a funk.  Most of us realize that one of the best ways out of a funk is to get our bodies moving and sweating but taking that first step is often difficult.  So I did what I always do when I want to find an answer to a question I have.  I googled it!  I was not surprised in the least when the first of over a million results was a post written by Leo Babauta of ZenHabits.net, one of my favourite blogs.  In his post he listed no less than 31 ways to find motivation.  Here is some of what Leo suggests.  I chose 10 of the 31 suggestions he listed to share with you but you can read the whole post here.

There are a million ways to motivate yourself to exercise, actually, but these are a few that have worked for me. And trust me, I’ve had days when I’ve struggled with exercise. Most recently, the things that have helped include finding a workout partner (one of the best motivators!), logging my exercise, reading magazines, books and websites, and rewarding myself.

  1. How you feel after a workout. I always feel great after a good workout. It’s a high. And I let that motivate me the next time: “You know how good you’re going to feel, Leo!” After your workout take at least a minute to soak in the great way you feel.   Notice how proud you are of yourself.  You did it! It is easier to call on the feeling when you take the time to fully experience it in the moment.
  2. Time for you. While many people make time to take care of others (kids, spouse, other family, co-workers, boss), they don’t often make time to take care of themselves. Instead, make your “you” time a priority, and don’t miss that exercise appointment.  Because you’re worth it!
  3. Having fun. Exercise should be fun. If it isn’t, try a different kind of activity that you enjoy. As long as you’re moving, it’s good for you.  This is key for me.  I look for things to do that I can find fun in.  That’s probably why I’m not a runner…I don’t enjoy it.  But I’ll gladly go for a long bike ride, a Zumba class or paddle on the lake.
  4. How you’re going to look. Imagine a slimmer, fitter you. Now let that visualization drive you.  Keep seeing yourself at your goal.  Imagine how great you’ll feel, how good you’ll look and how proud of yourself you’ll be.
  5. Rewards. If you exercise for a few days, give yourself a reward! A week? Another reward. Do it often in the beginning. This does NOT include chocolate!
  6. Fitting into new clothes. Wanna look good in a smaller size? Work out! This could be a nice way to reward yourself.  A new dress, pair of jeans, sexy shoes, Tara Cronica t-shirt…
  7. Time for contemplation. I love, love the quiet time of exercise for thinking about things. Most of this post was written in my head as I exercised. Tracy will attest to this.  I know she gets a lot of great writing ideas when she is running.
  8. A workout partner. Best thing I’ve done.  This one is huge for me.  If I didn’t have Chris or Lorellei calling me to go with them I would have  a much harder time getting to the gym! Zumba tonight right girls!
  9. An exercise class. Sign up for a class, perhaps with a friend, and you’ll be motivated to get there and work out.  It really helps to have a schedule of when you have to be there and it doesn’t hurt if you know you’ve paid for it already too.
  10. A coach or trainer. Worth the money, just for the motivation. This one is like combing 8 and 9.  You’ve paid for it, you have an appointment with them and they are expecting you to show up.  A good coach or trainer will teach you how to make the most of your workout and offer some great motivational tips.
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Bustin’ Out! or Rack it Up to Lessons Learned!

Bonnie Johnson's PostI haven’t told many people this before but when I was a young girl living in Australia I developed a bit of a complex.  I moved down unda when I was ten years old and I was shocked to discover that most of the girls in my grade five class were already developing…you know…boobs, breasts, a decent rack.  I, on the other hand, only felt a slight sensitivity on one side.  One side! What’s up with that?  Not even a hint of swelling though.  Ya, it was a bit of an issue for me.  What’s worse is that the same young girls were all beginning to menstruate too.  They were blossoming into women at the ripe old age of ten and eleven years old.  (Looking back now I suspect high levels of hormones in their milk or meat pies)

I began to believe there was something very wrong with me.  The other girls sensed my shame and teased me about it while some kinder souls thought they were showing they cared when they asked me every month if it had come yet. I felt their eyes searching the front of my school jumper (“sweater” in canadian) for any new bumps and then either smirked or looked away in pity.

My best friend, Joanne, had the most impressive…um, chest, of all.  I remember one day walking along the highway with her and cars kept honking at her until she asked me to switch sides with her.  And yes the honking stopped.  So you see how this complex came to be.  Joanne was also still growing and she had faith that one day I would too.  I’ll never forget how thrilled I was when she gave me one of the bras she had out grown.  I would put it on stuffed with socks to see how the real ones might feel one day.  It was my first crack at “visualization”.  I also put that bra under my pillow and prayed that God would grant me the full round chest of my dreams.  I’m not kidding.  I so badly wanted to go to school bleeding and busty and prove my womanhood to those Aussies.  I guess those reasons weren’t really pure enough and so it was all denied to me until I was back on Canadian soil five long years later.

My praying and visualizing paid off and yes, my wish was granted.  I have been proud of my ‘girls’ for years, until recently.  They’ve started growing again! Along with other parts of me that I don’t want any larger, thank you.  And that other thing I wished so hard for has outgrown its purpose and has just become a big pain.  Literally.

Last night I found myself jumping up and down while dancing at my Zumba class and cursing the way my girls were threatening to blacken both eyes if I didn’t stop.  I shot annoyed glances at all the smaller chested women who I knew by the happy looks on their faces weren’t feeling the pain I was in.  The music blared “…makes me want to jump…throw my hands up and shout…” NO, it makes me want to cry and hold onto these jugs with both hands so they don’t rip off and bounce away.

So if any of you have a size B cup bra that you don’t need anymore, I have a pillow to place it under and pray over.

Lesson:  Be careful what you wish for.

huge boobs

Not really a picture of me...just how I feel sometimes

Bonnie

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Too. Much. Chocolate.

Bonnie Johnson's PostWhen will the Halloween candy box (yes, I said box) finally be gone.  I’m almost down to the last few Kit Kat/Smarties/Aero bars.  Thank God!  My jeans are getting tight, my skin is getting blotchy and my insides are producing strange sounds and odours that are even offending the dog.  I don’t know what I was thinking when I bought the box of Halloween treats – knowing full well –  that kids NEVER come to our house on Halloween.  But you just never know right??  This year we did have two! Yep,  two very young children showed up.  “Only give them three little bars each” I hissed as John went to answer the door.  Then I actually suggested we turn all the lights off to discourage any more from showing up!  Of course he refused and threw me a disgusted look.  And that’s why I love him; he tries to make me a better person.

So here I am, days later, still ripping into the little miniature versions of my favourite chocolate bars.

woman-eating-chocolate

The miniatures give the illusion that I’m “just having a taste”, no big deal, hardly any calories in these little guys right?!  Last night and 15 little bars later, I heaved myself off the couch and caught a reflection of myself in the mirror.  Whoa!  When did I develop so many age sun spots on my chest?  Oh hang on, no, those are just bits of melted chocolate.  Phew!  So if you ever run into me and think “gee she should have used more sunscreen in her youth”, don’t worry, it’s probably just chocolate!

The crazy thing is I’m not even a big chocolate fan until this time of year.  Wait a minute, come to think of it, I must be a holiday chocoholic because the same thing happens at Easter (damn those little eggs) and again at Christmas (blasted boxes of Turtles and Ferrero Rocher).

On the bright side, my salty chip habit has taken a back seat lately.

*groan*

I really have to stop writing now and go for a very long fast walk with my dog (I need to try and make it up to her) and then I’ll hit the gym for a Zumba class or two or three.

I’ll just make sure that box is empty and done with before I go.  Better to remove all the temptation now right?  Right?

Bonnie

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What Makes You Feel Grounded

Bonnie Johnson's PostI think it is really important to ones well-being to feel grounded.  If you do not feel grounded then you feel out of balance, stressed, harried and scattered.

When I was in my twenties and early thirties I often felt like I was ungrounded.  Life just managed to pull me in too many directions at once.  My trick to get back to feeling grounded in those days was to go and stay with my grandparents for awhile.  They always lived in out of the way quiet places and their life style was slow and calm.  It felt so good to melt in with their pace for awhile.  Now that they are both gone I have had to come up with other ways to feel grounded.

I think being grounded means that our body and mind are integrated and to accomplish that it’s important to take yourself out of your own head a bit.  Most of us live too much in our heads and lose awareness of the rest.  I’ve discovered a whole bunch of different ways to feel grounded again and here are a few of my favourites:

1.  Notice nature.  Even little things like walking on the grass barefoot, studying a spider at work in its web, watching a robin pull a worm, playing with my dog, etc.

2.  Hanging out with my best friend.  Talking or not.  Just being with someone you know so well and trust completely can be very therapeutic.

3.  Cuddling with my husband.   Feeling love wrap around you…can it get any better than that?!

4.  Meditating.  Breathing deeply and focusing on nothingness.  Can’t feel scattered when you do that.

5.  Exercising to great music.  That’s why I love going to Zumba class so much.

How about you Jacquie and Tracy?  What makes you feel grounded?

post-insert-jacquie1

In high school I remember being introduced to basic psychological concepts having to do with maintaining mental equilibrium and what could happen it they were to suddenly disappear.  We all intuitively accept that when we go to sit on a chair it’s going to hold us up.  We have implicit trust in the structural integrity of that chair not to let us fall.  Sure, sometimes a leg does break and we take a tumble, but we can rationalize that it was old, or a joint gave way, and so we don’t lose faith that the next time we bend to sit that chair will hold firm again.  Can you imagine what life would be like if we couldn’t trust these basic tenets?  Frightening.  We’d be second guessing every step we’d want to take or every move we’d want to make and our nerves would be shot.

So,  faith and trust ground me when I feel I’m starting to float away and lose that gravitational pull.  Faith that the people I love know my heart and understand me, and trust that most people in my life really do have the best of intentions and are honest and intrinsically good.  If I didn’t believe this then it would be like living in a vacuum.

Being grounded is not a natural state for an artist, I think.  I’m always on the move, dreaming and scheming and planning and pushing, and this sometimes leads to feeling disappointed and adrift.  Setting up the easel and painting is good way for me to refocus, but it’s ultimately the conviction of my own thoughts that gets me back on track.   Whatever method you use to eliminate distractions it’s still your own head that makes the choice between calm and confusion.   The trick is to be honest with yourself, even if you can’t be with others.  Ask yourself the hard questions and expect hard answers.  It’s the only way to grow.

TracyGreat topic Bonnie, especially because after spending 10 days with you and John I felt just that.  It’s so important to stay grounded and finding ways to do that is the key.  For a free spirited Aquarian that can sometimes be difficult.

What makes me feel most grounded is when I spent time with close friends.  I always leave feeling grounded and centered once again.  Certain people in my life just seem to have a grounding effect on me.  Life can so easily get out of balance with how busy we make our lives, so you have to take time with those who bring you back to your roots.

My kids ground me daily and show me what is most important in life, which is living in the moment and just opening your eyes to what is right in front of you!

When I help someone I also feel a sense of grounding, it makes you realize that the little things in life that you do for others makes your life feel balance just a little bit more.  Meditation is also a great way to get reconnected to the earth.  My favorite form of meditation is running while listening to inspirational music.  After a good long run I feel like my slate has been cleared.

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Friendship and Summer Vacation!

Friendship is good for the soul!

FriendshipMy family and I recently spent 10 days visiting Bonnie, John and their beautiful brown eyed dog Spot at their lake front property in the Okanagan.  There wasn’t a moment that I didn’t LOVE!  It’s always fun going on road trips for summer vacation but when your visiting your Best Friend and her family, life is Gooooood ! Great in fact !

Bonnie greeted us with her warm smile and spiritual calmness.  We have not always lived in the same city but it doesn’t really matter when you have a bond like ours.  We reunite in person as often as we can but rely mostly on the telephone or skype and email to get our girlfriends gab fix.

Handsome JohnThis visit was extra special for me because Bonnie’s husband John was there!  He is a man’s man who is not only handsome but hard working, intelligent and non judgemental.  He has all the qualities women really search for in a man.  I could list many more but he would be embarrassed if I did.  He was worth waiting for!

My two incredible little humans I call kids and I stayed in the cottage which is an self contained cabin lake front!  We fell asleep to the sound of leaves imitating rain and gentle waves. In the morning I walked down the wharf with Zack (our dog) to enjoy the silence of nature.

Summer VacationWe lounged while reading magazines, swam, talked about life and love and everything in between.  We ate ‘Esso’ ice cream, toured the lake front by boat, tubed, learned a few moves at  Zumba, made smores on the fire, laughed at each other but most of all this trip reminded me of why Bonnie is still my Best friend after 30 years 🙂 Visiting Bonnie rejuvenates my soul!  She reminds me of who I want to be!  She helps me float down the river with good intention!

BonnieFor my kids, visiting Auntie Bonnie made them completely aware that their Mom was not the only free spirited crazy lady in the ‘World of Mom’.  With Bonnie present I was able to take off my filter completely for 10 straight days!  Liberating for both kids and me!  Both my kids saw yet another raw dimension of who I am and realized that if  Auntie Bonnie was the coolest then I must be too by association!

My son was in his boyhood glory camping with his Dad, who he idolises.  But he also had the influence of John another incredible male energy who taught him how to chop wood, start the fire, drive & launch the boat and let him use the sling shot!!

Jojo and Uncle Johnny!

My daughter loved being in the presence of Bonnie.  They shared dance moves and reconnected on many different levels once again.  My daughter took every available opportunity to hang out with Uncle Johnny as she called him and had some pretty animated talks about life and whatever else came up.

So when my kids are asked in September how they spent their Summer Vacation, I am certain they will be able to tell their version of the stories about Friendships on Summer Vacation!  We searched for moments and found many that will make all of us smile for years to come!  Thanks Bonnie and John and Spot for just being who you are and making our Summer Vacation such a magical one!

Spot @ Zack's 15th Birthday Party

Tracy

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What makes you sweat, laugh and dance? Zumba!

My friend and neighbour, let’s call her “Lozz” (cause I do) talked me into going to the same ladies gym that she goes to.   In fact I also go to the same personal trainer and the same hair dresser.  I hope she doesn’t think I’m stalking her.  Imitation is the highest form of flattery right?  Anyway, our gym offers a class called “Zumba”.  I had no idea what it was all about but I liked the look of the posters.  Hip and fit looking girls and guys dancing and having fun.  I was curious but not enough to actually go to a class and check it out.  Lozz and I both said at different times that we wanted to go and see what it was all about, but sometimes I need a push.

A few weeks ago I went to see my massage therapist, Pam.   It turns out that she is one of the Zumba instructors at my gym! Kismet! I had to go now!  So I called up Lozz and asked her if she was willing to try out the class that night with me.  She was, so off we went.

The class is basically an hour of dancing to Latin or Latin- influenced music.  There was some Gypsy Kings, Shakira and even Ricky Martin as well as many I’d never heard before but all with great pulsating rhythms.  We  lined up in front our instructor who faced us on a raised platform.  There is no vocal instruction.   You watch the moves of your instructor and follow along…as well as you are able.  At first I was nervous because I thought I’d be all left feet, trip up and look foolish.  And I was in the beginning, but it didn’t matter because everyone feels like that when they start and no one has time to look at what anyone else is doing anyway.  It’s an hour of one great song after another.  All you have to do is dance.    It involves incorporating some traditional Latin dance moves like the Salsa, Samba and Merengues as well as modern Hip Hop and at times even a little Bhangra and Egyptian like moves thrown in.

As I’m imitating some of the moves of our instructors I’m aware that my 40 something body isn’t looking exactly like her sexy 20 something body and I have to giggle.  I catch myself thinking “If my husband could see me now” and then “If my son could see me now he’d be horrified!” and that makes me laugh out loud.  It all adds up to so much fun and one of the best workouts ever!  I’ve never sweat so much at the gym and at the same time enjoyed every second of the work out.  Is this really a work out?  Their tag line is “Ditch the work out, join the party!” It honestly does feel more like a party!

I highly recommend seeking out a Zumba class in your area.  The word ‘Zumba’  is  Spanish slang meaning  “to move fast and have fun”.   I’ll say!

Bonnie

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