I think the number one question I get about my running is how do you keep it up? Whether they mean the distance 100 miles or the daily commitment to training doesn’t matter the answer is the same. Motivation. A person’s ability to achieve any long-term goal or change in lifestyle is determined by their level of sustained motivation.
Will power may get you a short-term goal, but it won’t help you much when it comes to long-term goals or long-term lifestyle changes. The bottom line is you have to find a reason to do keep going day after day. Everyone’s motivation is different. Some people are motivated by outward appearance, love, sex, money, status, power, benefit another, fear, attention, happiness, or some other internal benefit you receive from participating in an activity.
I have a close friend who encourages me to run all types of races from the extremely difficult to the insanely challenging. He will tell me how he is going to get into shape and be ready to race alongside me or at least do the fifty mile. He goes full boar into training and burns out his flame every single time. I have racked my brain about different ways to help motivate him, but I know deep down it is up to him to find his motivation. When he does, I’ll be there to support him through his first marathon, 50 miler, and 100 miler.
I talk about motivation quite a bit because it’s what gets us through the tough days. It gets you out of bed when it is below zero or above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Most people have to begin with an external motivation when taking on a new adventure. In the beginning, the excitement of starting something new is enough to get you going for maybe a week. After that, you may need to move to something tangible. Small tangible goals over short intervals will likely sustain you until you can reach that point where you find internal motivation.
I run because I love the way I feel when I do. I go to work because I feel like I make a difference. I parent with tenacious compassion because my children learn best that way. I write because I want to encourage and support others on their path to greatness.
If an activity or goal never becomes desirable just because of what’s inside of you, you will not be able to sustain it. This is an issue with your own perception of self. The value you place upon yourself as a person or member of society can undermine or strengthen your motivation. If your goals never reach the point of
I’m doing (insert goal here) because I am worth it.
I’m doing (insert lifestyle change here) because I deserve to be (insert desire result here).
You should probably reflect on how you see yourself.
After all, “Person is a person, no matter how small,” Dr. Seuss Horton Hears a Who.