This week I’m doubly fortunate. Grateful for (1) the invitation of a friend to join her at an all-inclusive fitness and wellness resort and (2) the offer of another to cover for me here, while I’m away. Pamela Hernandez is a personal trainer, online fitness coach and motivator extraordinaire. She’s sharing some truths about keeping motivated at midlife (and beyond).
You will never be 24 again.
Neither will I. I will never be the same as I was the year I started my fitness journey. I can never go back to the amazing beginner potential and relatively stress-free life I had then. If only we had known how golden those days were when we had them, right?
I can only speak for myself when I say I might have been too busy being self-conscious and critical of myself to listen even if someone had told me how special that time was. However, I do not miss it. The awkwardness and insecurity of my 20s is something I do not wish to go back to. I love how 40 feels. I know myself so much better than I did then.
Midlife brings wisdom and a new awareness of what our bodies need. I certainly feel stronger than I did at 24 but I am also very aware of how different my body is. I don’t know about you but I make sure to go to the bathroom before too many burpees or jump squats. Anyone else proud to be asleep by 10 pm?
So if we know our bodies aren’t the same why do we keep expecting our motivation to work the same way? We’ve changed our workout routine (maybe?) but we haven’t taken a good hard look at our goals, our motivation and why we need to commit to a healthy and fit life in perhaps a very long time. Life has changed and probably so has our WHY.
This is why you can’t stay motivated like you used to. You didn’t lose your motivation. You forgot to create it.
I wrestled with a motivational funk myself last summer, just as I was turning 40. As a personal trainer and health coach, I am 100% committed to a healthy lifestyle. Yet I found myself unfocused during my own workouts, uninspired with my clients and overwhelmed by the challenges of mid-life and owning my own business. What turned me around came some from a process of self-examination so I could get acquainted with my motivation again.
It started with a 100 Dreams List.
A friend recommended a book to me called 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam. Early in the book she asks you to make a list of 100 Dreams. It’s a purposefully big number so you have room for all things, not matter how far-fetched or mundane. (I wanted to just once make my own nut butter.) Once you have your list, you can look for underlying themes and the places were your passion truly lies. It helps find a compass for life when things may have gotten off track. My list was both enlightening and energizing. I was in a rut and it gave me things to STRETCH for again. Plus now I get a little jolt of satisfaction every time I cross something off the list.
I found myself a coach.
I normally stay away from online challenges but the Ultimate Oxygen Challenge appeared at just the right time. I tried to hide behind the idea that it was “research”. Inside I knew to get out of this rut I needed to turn myself over to someone else’s way of doing things. I also made a deal with myself that no matter what happened I had to take AFTER pictures to send in to Oxygen Magazine’s Future of Fitness section. (#38 on my 100 Dreams List.) It was amazingly freeing to have someone else laying out the plan, teaching me new things and pushing me out of my comfort zone. I joined the private Facebook group as just another women trying to win a cover spot, not as the expert giving the advice. I needed to feel like a beginner again and it worked. Hiring a personal trainer or health coach can give you some needed accountability and challenge old ways of thinking.
Are your “good” habits holding your back?
When good habits go bad it’s called tightening. When habits get so constricting that they keep you from enjoying life or moving forward they become a big problem. Check yourself for habits that are outdated, no longer make sense and stand in the way of joy instead of bringing it. A great example for me was multi-tasking during my workouts by listening to podcasts. When I started going to the gym many years ago I would crank up my favorite tunes and lose myself. I don’t know how I got away from music but now I save Serial for coloring and groove to Elle King and Robyn in the gym. I found a lot of habits that I thought were healthy for me but needed to go: how much and what I was eating for breakfast, my sleep schedule and my cardio choices to name a few.
I felt like a beginner again and it made all the difference. It’s not that I went back to 24 because we know that can’t happen. I just found a map to a new destination that made sense for my life as it is TODAY.
If you need a new map to motivation at midlife, let me help you create it.
I invite you to read my NEW book, Motivation Is Made Not Found. It’s a collection of lessons I’ve learned on motivation and commitment with action steps for you to use to help you be your own motivation coach. Use them as a way to look at your journey anew (or perhaps really look at it for the first time). It’s on sale for a special price until February 29, so don’t wait too long.