Confession: My Motivation Just Isn't What It Used to Be

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I used to feel like running was a big part of who I was.  I was always looking forward to the next race and training for something.  Even though I had days where the run was rough, I didn’t feel good or I was tired and didn’t want to go, I always felt good when it was over.  That feeling is what kept me going and what kept me motivated to continue challenging myself through the sport.
Recently, I’ve been struggling to remember what it was like to love running.  I’m still a regular runner, but going out for a run just isn’t what it used to be.  I’m currently training for a half-marathon so I feel like I need to stick to the schedule.  But most of the time I don’t really want to go, which is unusual for me.  I don’t know if it’s because I’m so busy, I’m tired (3 young kids will do that to you), or because I miss training for events with a group (which I just haven’t had time to do since baby #3 arrived.)  Maybe it’s a combination of those things. 
I planned to run a marathon in the Fall, which means I’ll have to start training this Summer.    I like challenging myself.  I like being an example to my kids of a strong, physically fit woman.  But when I think about the training right now, I almost have a feeling of dread, and that’s not how I want exercise to feel.  I’ve always enjoyed being active and will find the time to exercise, no matter how hectic life gets.   I don’t want to lose that feeling because I’m forcing myself to do something I no longer enjoy.
Part of me feels like this is just a phase that will pass.  Perhaps I need to make an effort to join a training group, find new places to run or do something else to mix it up and make the workouts interesting again.  If it’s not just a phase, maybe it’s time for me to find new activities to challenge myself.  My local martial arts studio has a kickboxing class I’ve been wanting to try, so maybe now is the time. 
Whether your goal is to adopt new healthy habits or just maintain your current healthy living routine, have you had times where your motivation has waned?   It’s easy to be full of motivation when you first start eating healthier and exercising regularly.  The real challenge comes in establishing a routine you can live with long-term, and even feel like you’re enjoying these new habits instead of dreading them.
Want to read more about this topic?  Check out Talk Yourself into Reaching Your Goals and Mastering the Mysteries of Motivation.  

What do you think?

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I’m walking for a little while Report
CHERYLHURT 10/24/2020
I lost my motivation Report
Thank you! Report
ROBBIEY 7/31/2020
My motivation changed over time. I am still motivated, but not as obsessed with everything. If I miss a workout I just say I can do it later. I had a bad eating day, I will do better tomorrow. I take things one day at a time. Report
EVIE4NOW 5/13/2020
Thank you. Report
DEE107 4/21/2020
thanks Report
MADDUXCR 3/16/2020
Try kickboxing. Sounds like you need to change things up. Nothing wrong with making adjustments to your routine. Report
RO2BENT 3/16/2020
Patience and persistence Report
LISAMARIE2015 3/16/2020
I rarely feel motivated but I make myself do it still. Report
Thank you for sharing... Report
SNUZYQ2 2/27/2020
Sometimes lost motivation happens because what you're doing no longer fits in with your present life. We keep changing throughout our lives. I think it's really wise to change up our fitness routines to keep current with what our lives are all about today. Report
When I get bored and unmotivated, I will try switching things up. Something new is a great way to get past the bored feelings. Report
Thank you for these Great ideas! Report
Thank you for sharing. My motivation has been slipping. Report
Is it a lack of motivation or something else? Hormones, missing micronutrient, boredom w/ running, something else in life nagging that you pushed aside? I'd start w/ a checkup then drop the upcoming race & take the kickboxing class. See how you feel & if that helps. I don't rely on feeling motivated; I just know it's a commitment I made to weight loss & health. I don't give up but if my body tells me I need a break then I take one. You might want to add yoga or tai chi. All those kids would stress me out - you need to renew from within on a deeper non-physical level. Report
It ebbs and flows, or waxes and wanes Report
"A body is motion stays in motion." Unfortunately, my body has been staying on the couch, at the computer, in the bed reading, etc...….. Moving more would equate to doing more. Time to get up! Report
For me it has been those nagging little chores around the house Report
good article Report
Motivation can be so funny sometimes. Nay we all have our good boosts when we need them! Report
Sometimes motivation ebbs and flows. When that happens, I try different workouts and routines. Report
Get your thyroid levels tested. They could be off after baby three and that makes you feel just exhausted! Report
It sounds like you have the "do it anyway" attitude, which is what you need right now. Is it possible that having baby #3 messed with your hormones and thus your emotions? A friend of mine had that happen. She was a wreck for over 5 years. It is now 12 years down the road and she still isn't quite right, but is doing much better. As for the "busy" comment, I've found, having now retired from a senior executive role, that you have to make time for yourself, for your fitness, whether that is physical fitness, or emotional and psychological fitness. If you don't, you will end up not being all that you could or should be for the people who depend upon you the most. If that means taking time for group training, then by all means, do it. For me, it meant not going to the office at 6:30 am, and going for a 45 minute run when it got light/warm enough, and then showing up at the office (still before everyone else) at 8:30-8:45. Good luck to you. Report
I may not feel like doing anything but how I feel is irrelevant - I am motivated to do something because I need to workout for my health - just do it! Report
I don't know much about motivation, but I know this much: Motivation (in the sense of "really wanting to do something") is an emotion, and emotions never last. That is the only reliable thing about them. Report
From what I read you, perhaps should include another activity like swimming and bike riding Both of them seem relaxing and build other muscles you may not have worked on enough. Also workout in the gym muscles that contribute to running. I find this very helpful Report
3 kids. Enough said. I have 3 kids too and I started running when my youngest was 1.5 years old and past the frequent nightly wake ups. My other two were 5 and 7 so old enough for independence...young enough to not be involved in too many activities. I loved running... was able to fit it in without too much trouble a few times a week and consistently ran 4-5 miles at a time and trained for multiple 10Ks. Then it happened...the kids got a few years older and somehow my extra time was sucked up by activities and it just was such a headache to run and it wasn't fun anymore. If I couldn't run 4-5 miles what was the point? I guess what I have learned now is that I should have realized my running would need to be adjusted based upon my phase of life and that a 1,2, or 3 mile run was better than no running. But I didn't, I just stopped doing it all together and I've yet to get going again. I still don't have much time and I've since had my asthma come back something terrible. All of which makes if very hard to get going. My rookie advice is to not give up on your running....but you may need to adjust it to your current phase of life which may only support 5k's and not halfs or more. Report
Some days I just don't want to do anything. Today was one of them. Although I made myself do some work, I picked up pine needles to put in the burn pit and also picked up downed tree limbs and put them in the burn pit. I used to really love working out! But tomorrow is another day! I will be up and atom early as I have a workout DVD that is calling my name! :D Good Luck with your training. I loved the 15k and triathlons the most. Report
My motivation is down the tubes and I really need to get it on track and stop making excuses and putting off what i should be doing to get healthy Report
My motivation took a nose-dive over the winter (extra cold and snowy here). I was still struggling to get back to running regularly in the spring. Then I saw that Runners World magazine was doing a run streak - you would run at least 1 mile every day from Memorial Day through the fourth of July. I decided to give it a shot - and it was just the kick I needed! I was determined not to break my streak, so even on days when I didn't feel that great I started a short run. Most times I found that after about half a mile, I was feeling good and wanted to go past the 1 mile minimum. On some of those days, the best I felt ALL day was mid-run. My motivation to run is definitely back! The official streak ended on July 4th but I'm still going and feeling good. I think I might be addicted to running right now. :) Of course, the true challenge will be sticking to it when the cold weather returns, but I think I can do that. I'm certainly determined to try! Report
I have two dogs, one of which needs mulitple walks a day due to anxiety. Some days I really don't want to walk them at all, let alone multiple times in a day. I have to remind myself that my dogs need the walk and my one dog will be really hyper if I don't. Report
It's not uncommon to get in a work out rut, even if you love a particular exercise. After running five half marathons in five months (Florida race season is November-April), I am in burn out mode, too. I find that if I cut back on running and do other activities, I don't lose much of my running fitness, and after a few weeks I am ready to start training again. I think the kickboxing class may be just what you need! Report
I've been struggling for the past week too. Thanks for letting me know I am normal. Report
Zumba is my passion, for this exercise, I will grab the water bottle and rush out the door! It is intense and I feel so great after. My advice would be to try the kickboxing you desired! Report
I personally believe you can be a great example to your children without being a runner! Find something new to do and see how that goes...doing some kind of exercise every day is a challenge for me, as I've never come to like it. I do know, however, that if I don't find something new to keep my interest, I will do nothing! Good luck...and don't be so hard on yourself. I know what it was like to have 3 (actually 4 for me) young children, to work outside the home and feel like there wasn't enough time for all the things that needed to be done. Our bodies need plenty of rest in order to recover just from daily routine and work. I don't know how you or anyone, for that matter, can find time to train for marathons with a family to take care of. Good luck in finding a great workout routine for yourself and balance in your life. Report
No doubt 3 kids will slow anyone down & Age is a factor as well. While Running does feel great, it is also hard on the body. Jen, I think you should become a hiker! If you bag peaks, it is as exhilarating as running, it is challenging, fun & you can hike in a pack! Report
I have several severe medical conditions that make every day difficult. My motivation to fight against insurance companies, deal with doctors, and constantly be looking to find aid now that I can't work and can hardly leave my house. After a hospital stay two weeks ago depression hit me hard and I started questioning why I should keep fighting so hard when even the treatments to keep me going backfire and could've done permanent damage or kill me. I spent over a week wallowing, barely able to find the energy to get off the couch (which is currently also my bed). To find my motivation took several days of me remembering why I fight, being supported by a few friends who reminded me that I promised to keep fighting, and then I chose to do better and start taking small steps forward to get back in the fight. A few hours ago I talked to someone who pointed out to me that I'm inspiring her and others to keep trying to do better in their lives.

So I believe that by trying to do better, make a healthier choice, and supporting others on their journey, we can find the motivation we're lacking and can recommit ourselves to our goals. Every day is a chance to do a little better! Report
I have gone through this too. Sometimes it was just a phase, but it might be a call to a new sport :-). I ran regularly, including marathons, for 14-15 years. I remember when the fire went out and I started enjoying other sports. Hiking and biking dominated my interests for years. I currently only walk and love it. I don't always want to go, but I feel good.
Maybe you are bored, but make sure it's nothing physical or depression setting in. It might worth getting some blood work done or a check up with your doctor. For me signing up for a race motivates me to get out there and train. Report
Thank you for sharing. I feel as if my motivation is waning as well. I wonder if it is because of the heat, because I've gotten older or because I am just plain lazy. I do have to agree that it not a good idea to listen to the negative voice in your head.
Good job for still getting out there!
Sending you a spark to get you excited again!!! Report
Don't listen to that negative voice in your head, that Roger Gould, M.D. calls "Harriet" as he says she is always a liar. His book "Shrink Yourself" is well worth reading to learn how to keep motivated and avoid stress. Report
I think its good to try new things too. Report
Are you missing the social aspects of running? Are you doing interactive ADULT things? Maybe it's not the running that's causing the ennui, but the lack of adult socialization. Our grandmothers (mothers in my case) had regular coffee klatches, volunteer opportunities, and women's support groups that gave them a chance to interact with someone who could talk in full sentences, reason, and offer advice. I sense that you are missing that now. It isn't the running that doesn't feel right, it's the lack of female companionship. Report
I used to think I always had to be pushing myself. Then last year I started feeling exhausted a lot of the time. I pushed through it, like I always did, but it didn't let up. I ended up finding out I'm developing an autoimmune disorder (Hashimoto's). I've started taking thyroid medication and am taking adrenal support supplements for the adrenal fatigue. I was pushing too hard, draining my body. Now, I still exercise regularly, but I've lowered the intensity and pressure on myself to do it. I'm much happier and more relaxed. I used to think I had to exercise for my mental health, but I was actually damaging it and my body.

Listen to your body, listen to your mind. You may be pushing yourself to run when you need to rest (exercising when not getting enough sleep is really bad for your adrenals). Not feeling as energized or motivated may be a sign you need to take a step back and redetermine your priorities. Report
I am struggling myself, so this was a good blog for me to read today. I think that what has helped me in the past is to not let myself get into a rut. And that is what I have done. I need to change this up. Finding a new route for my walks helps. Hang in there!
Having small children takes a lot out of you. Give yourself some grace and just change it up. Finding some other women to exercise with might help you. When you are caged up with small children, adult conversation and activities should help to reinvigorate you and motivate you. Thanks for sharing.

I have 4 kids and work full time, and by the time I get home I still need to cook and clean. At the end of dinner I just want to sit down and watch TV and relax. But I hate the way I look and how much weight I have gain since my last child. I started to go to the gym during lunch but by the second week something always comes up where I don't make it in I have started to atleast once a week take the kids to the park and play or basketball...and that makes me sweat!!!
Motivation is lacking in my life also. I really want to start doing something, but I just can't get myself going. I know if I just start and keep going it will become a habit and get easier. I guess I need a partner to keep me on track. Maybe that would help you also - a partner to run with. It could be left-over winter blahs too. Good luck Report
Thank you for sharing your feelings. A lot of people feel the same. Perhaps you need to find something that you are passionate about and can do that will involve your family. Perhaps biking or hiking. You could even take your baby with you and you would have the rest of the family to support and help you. Please find families around you with the same interest and will offer help and encouragment. It may just be a short-term change and you will feel more like running later. You are a winner in so many ways. Do not lose sight of that! Just find other interest that will provide the same results. There are many alternatives and it may be mini types of activities that result in the same results. i.e. bowling, volunteering, gardening, trail walking, walking through aboretiums, zoos, museums, exploring parks & lakes and the list goes on...... Best wishes for what you decide. We are pulling for you and cheering you on. Report
Jen, you need to Google the song "Gillian" by the Waifs. It reminds me of you. You do SO much, usually by the time most people get out of bed in the morning. Your motivation will return, and when it does, watch out, world! Report
I relate. I've been searching for motivation too, coming back to exercise after three years off, and your blog reminded me of something I had not thought of. I forgot how much I loved training with a group and how I gained inspiration and competitive spirit from them. So thank you, your writing was a big help! Report