As we close in on the third week of March, I wonder how many of us are still going strong on those New Year’s resolutions. I am not saying this as a “tisk-tisk” but as a fact of my life. It is so often that I have seen the gym become packed with new and ambitious members the first week after New Year. It is as often that I have seen it thin out in March. I am not immune to this same tapering off of motivation and focus on my goals. I have gone from running about four times per week and spinning once a week to running two times per week and spinning once per week (and some weeks not at all!). Sure, winter weather had something to do with it as I can’t stand running on a treadmill. But let’s be honest, we didn’t have much of a winter here in Toronto.
With two 10 km runs booked for April and May, I need to use the motivation techniques that work for me in order to stay focused.
When I am feeling lazy or even the opposite – completely swamped – I find myself making excuses to get out of running. When I find this happening, I visualize myself running. That’s what I’ve found works for me. You see, I actually really enjoy running, which is key for me being able to stick to an exercise program. I am so lucky that I live close to a running route that is filled with beautiful scenery. Why, during this week’s runs I saw swans, ducks, ponds, the lake and the Toronto skyline.
Picturing myself running alongside the rocky beach often gives me the push I need to get out the door. If this doesn’t work, then visualizing how great I will feel at the end of the run is another motivation trick I have up my sleeve.
I also find that just getting into my running gear is a great way to overcome a case of “The Lazies”. If I can just get into the dorky pants, hat, and runners, the rest seems to take care of itself. Of course, a motivating playlist is also part of my running gear.
Another technique I use is to think about all the ideas I have come up with while running. This is a great way to give myself permission to take time away from other priorities, and to get out for some exercise. During a run, I have been able to brainstorm solutions to problems and come up with creative ideas! Ideas that just weren’t flowing for me while staring at my computer screen trying to will the brilliance out of the recesses of my mind. It’s often when I am jogging along a beautiful path with a free mind that an “ah-ha!” moment happens for me. I come back to my work or personal project with inspiration and a renewed sense of excitement.
For me, having a system to track my progress is another big motivator. I personally use Nike + iPod to monitor my distance, speed and progress. I need to know how each run stacks up against the last. I also find that thinking about being able to share a new milestone reached or a nice photo from a run over Twitter or Facebook can give me the kick I need to run an extra kilometre or two.
It can be hard to stay positive when I’ve fallen off track. I start to think about how behind I have become on achieving my goals and fall into a further funk. When this happens, I have to remind myself that it only takes one session of exercise to “get back on track”. That first session back usually provides the motivation I need to keep going.
Exercise is such an important contributor to my physical and mental health. A good run is as soothing as a great conversation with a close friend (or therapist!). I am happier and find the ups and downs of life that much easier to handle after a spin around the lake.
What techniques do you use to stay motivated to work toward your goals?
If you’ve been following my posts since January, you’ll know that I am trying hard to have it all. I am working to stay healthy and social, while making room for indulgences.
One of my goals as stated in my Strength in Numbers post is to make more of an effort to suggest active and healthy social outings. I know that I tend to suggest events that mostly revolve around food, drinks and merriment. While these types of events are not off the table, I want create more balance in what I do when I get together with friends and family.
So, this past Saturday evening a group of us put on our brave faces, dusted of our skating skills and headed to Harbourfront Center for DJ Skate Night.
Use of the outdoor rink on the edge of Lake Ontario is free during the event. Skates can be rented for $8. Be sure to arrive early while skates and lockers are still available.
Once laced up, I tentatively stepped onto the rink and after some stressful first steps I was skating again after at least ten years off the ice. After a few times around the rink, I was able to bust some careful moves to the tunes played our host DJs for the night (this may be the closest I come to “clubbing” these days).
I have to say that I felt very nostalgic for my younger years as I watched the Zamboni clear the ice.
With a licensed patio and word burning stoves, there are plenty of ways to stay warm while taking in great views of the lake and Toronto’s skyline.
This weekend’s DJ Skate night will feature Electro Swing with DJ Medicineman.
What types of active social events do you partake in?
It’s that time of year again – the time for new beginnings, fresh starts and resolutions.
Since September it’s been pretty quiet on Urban Thirty Something and I’d like to explain why. You see, I’ve been going through a bit of a transition. If you followed my blog, you would know that while I covered everything from hot yoga to photography classes to delicious meals at great restaurants, my focus was often on food (discovering it, making it, buying it, and eating it). It turned out that after almost a year, all this dining out had two major impacts: 1. I gained 30 pounds and 2. I was spending way too much money (ah, duh).
After our spontaneous road trip to the East Coast this summer, my jeans and my bank account were feeling the effects of a year of living what I thought was a life worth writing about. After finally stepping on the scale and realising that things were indeed as bad as I’d thought, I knew it was time to shift my focus to creating plan for healthier eating, activity and spending.
My last post of 2011 was in early September, around the time I realized I needed to take time to focus on my physical, mental and financial well-being, as well as my career development.
To start my physical transformation, I went back to what worked for me a couple of years ago in my quest to have a great beach ‘bod’ for our destination wedding in Curacao. Are you ready for my big secret to weight loss and getting fit?
After a trip to the Leslieville Farmers Market this weekend, and a cool Labour Day Monday, I was inspired to prepare homemade soup. While I’ll miss summer, I love fall: the flavours, the colours and yes even the brisk temperatures. Here’s the recipe I used to kick-off my culinary adventures this fall season.
Preparation Time: 15 min
Cooking Time: 15 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy
If you would like, top with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt.
Well, it’s August 29th and summer is nearing it’s end. While I love the fall, I am having trouble accepting the end of the summer season. So, I have taken this week off work and decided to get my summer on before it is too late.
I started with an informal kick-off last week at the Open Roof Festival held at The Amsterdam Brewery. While sitting in an outdoor theater, with a view of the city, the evening began with local Toronto band Yuka and was followed by the quirky film Submarine. To me, nothing says summer like listening to music and watching movies, outside.
Thursday marks your last chance this season to enjoy a night at Open Roof Films. This week you can sip on beer, enjoy some popcorn, listen to the musical stylings of The Junction, and view the film Eco Pirate.
While finishing up my workday on Friday afternoon, my mind began to drift toward thoughts of sunny summer days and how soon they are going to come to an end. This thought motivated me to arrange an inexpensive evening activity that would allow my husband and I to enjoy the weather, the beautiful parks near our home and each other’s company. I decided the best way to accomplish this would be to prepare a picnic supper. So, after I wrapped up my work day I brainstormed the menu and headed to the grocery store.
I am one of those lucky people who are able to split their time between a home office and an office in downtown Toronto. I work from home two-three days per week and I love it. You might think that while I am working from home I have all kinds of time to prepare healthy and delicious lunches and get a nice dinner ready for the evening ahead, but truthfully this is not what happens. Most days I eat my lunch while working at my computer, grab what’s easy and often snack a little too much on peanut butter and saltines. By the time I wrap up for the day, I haven’t thought about dinner and often end up going out to grab something quick. These actions cause me to spend too much money on convenience foods and usually result in less than healthy meals.
Last Friday, I saw the light. At around 11:00 in the morning a healthy, organic and vegan lunch was delivered to my doorstep from the founders of The Organic Supper Club. Their personal chef service provides a wide variety of fresh, 100% organic and vegan meals prepared in your home with top of the line and seasonal ingredients. They will also incorporate other dietary restrictions like a gluten intolerance. The Organic Supper Club is a great way to enjoy quick and healthy meals with someone else doing the shopping, preparation and clean-up for you.