It seems I have been here before, adrift in a directionless quagmire of infinite proportions. Okay, well maybe it’s not that bad, but sometimes I get into a funk and the wheels just seem to spin. I do a little of this and a little of that, but nothing very wholeheartedly. I’m sure we all experience this off and on… you want to train, your body even feels like training, but you don’t do it. Then the devil on your shoulder says, “since you didn’t do it yesterday, why do it today?” and the dominoes begin to fall.
Yeah, I know… dramatic much?
I could happily lament the highs and lows of training or any goal-seeking activity for days (just ask my wife), but I’m not here for that. I want to share some ideas that have helped me refocus and motivate myself to keep training (as if Disney trips weren’t enough). I also want to invite you to share things that keep you focused, and motivated.
Focus is sometimes difficult for me. Getting older, no longer having a set work schedule, and traveling more often are just a few of the culprits. Undoubtedly each of us has our own distractions and forces working to break our focus… some major, others that would seem trivial on a good day.
Luckily, regaining focus can be as simple as losing it. Here are a few things that have worked for me (in no particular order):
- Schedule, schedule, schedule! I am normally spontaneity’s biggest fan, so it may come as a surprise that this is one of my major keys to getting and staying on the right track. A set schedule is doubly beneficial: one, you know what is in store and can plan the rest of your day around it, and two (huge for me) you can mark things off as they are done for a major sense of accomplishment! I should also make a quick mention of meal planning… not full-on prepping, but having a rudimentary meal plan keeps us on the same page and allows us to focus on other aspects of the day (and keeps us from mindlessly eating junk…for the most part). Hats off to Sandy for taking the lead in both of these areas. I am a major list maker, but not much of a “scheduler”.
- Set “mini” goals. Many of us have longterm goals, but it’s easy to lose sight of something that is months or years away. Having a carrot or two along the way is a good way to stay focused and motivated. Some options that have worked for me are interim races between our major events, setting weekly or monthly mileage or pace goals, small rewards when you reach a milestone, heck, even an adult beverage at the end of a difficult workout!
- Find an anchor. For me, this has been participating in a Monday morning yoga class at my gym. It’s something that I enjoy immensely, and it fits nicely into my schedule after Sunday’s long run. It’s also a great way to ground myself, shake off the previous week’s distractions, and move into the new week feeling focused and refreshed.
Before I wrap this up, I want to give a quick shout-out to a couple of amazing folks that have been a part of my more recent journeys, and who have each played a part in helping me find MY anchor. My amazing yoga instructor at Snap Fitness, Lauren, whose classes have not only helped heal my body but also my mind. And Hilary & Bridget at Prep and Pep, LLC (Busy Balanced Nutrition) for sharing some awesome meal planning, and solid nutritional advice… not to mention their amazingly motivational success stories.
So, that’s what works for me. How about you? How do you get back on track when you lose focus? What methods do you use to stay focused and motivated? I’d love to hear what works for you, and you never know, it might just help someone find their anchor.