Motivation, Determination and Mental Momentum

And then there was the evening when I finished off the last of the whiskey, drained the vodka, emptied the tonic and ran out of ice.  The gin had been ingested and digested a week ago. I was determined to stop with the evening cocktail or glass of wine and get up the next morning and complete a full workout. I was going to do it.  I wasn’t in the mode of telling myself “I should do this for me.”  I was in the frame of mind (which is difficult to muster artificially) that “I was going to do this thing.”  That “I could do this thing and I could start whatever I needed to start, change whatever I needed to change and I would not quit until I had achieved it.”  So, after finishing off a very small whiskey on the rocks, I went to bed determined to get up and get started on my new life.

This, after completely gorging on dinner that evening.

This, after saying a thousand times I was going to start only to start and fall off the wagon or skip the exercise or eat the pasta again and again and again.

But this time it was different.  There was no mental waffling or fear of failure.  It was a solid way of thinking.  It was going to happen, and I was going to do it. 

And that is where it all begins, isn’t it?  In our minds.  Before our physical world can display any of the created things our humanity has brought about, someone had to imagine it.  Someone had to believe it could be done.  I was in that place. Instead of seeing myself trying and failing, as I had for months…wait…years envisioned myself…instead of seeing myself as I am (heavier than my skeleton was designed to sustain and frumpy no matter what I wear)…I saw myself as I will be.

I saw myself better than I’ve ever been.  Healthy. Strong. Far more energetic. And, most importantly, able to do what my daily routine requires of me without becoming breathless or weary.

This was how I went to bed last night.  Determined. Confident. Secure that what I saw in my mind not only could happen, but it would happen. It was an eagerness and excitement about beginning that I have not had in over a decade.

In the middle of the night, I awoke with the most intense abdominal pains I think I’ve ever experienced since giving birth. I spent most of the rest of the night either in the bathroom or camped out on our sofa in the living room, very close to the bathroom door.  Since we are living in about a thousand square feet, even the bedroom isn’t far from the latrine, but that night, even a few steps was a chore.  I was bent double for most of the evening.  Finally, after my husband got up and left for work at 7:00 a.m., I was able to nap for a short time.

I’ve spent most of the day drained of all energy.  I’m feeling better now.  I’m up, at my desk, plunking this piece out, and while my intestines are still roiling and gurgling, the pain is mostly gone.  I’m incredibly disappointed that my day has been disrupted.  There’s nothing like motivation, and I believe there is this thing called mental momentum which is needed in order to get started on big things.

But today, I couldn’t get started on the exercise piece of this big thing I plan to do, so I’m having to re-frame my thinking about today. Not as a way of excusing or even explaining away my frailty, but as way to still think about how I can move forward even though the day didn’t go as I’d hoped when I went to bed last night. I want to capitalize on the “mental momentum” I have going.

I’ll just have to stall working out until tomorrow.  I just cannot do it right now.  But that does not mean my entire day needs to be a loss.  First off, it is Friday night and it will be the first Friday night in years, that I will not be having a Happy Hour, not here at my house, not out anywhere in any of the plethora of trendy and fabulously ambient restoranas here in Vilnius, where food and drink can be enjoyed very inexpensively. I will not be drinking anything other than table water for a while. While I certainly don’t consider myself an alcoholic, even one cocktail a night, especially when I’m not working out (but even when I am) stalls the weight loss process. It’s also not a great thing for training and strength building programs.  And, at my age, those extra calories whether they are alcoholic, bread,pasta or potatoes, go right to my gut. I either have a cocktail at night and look like a frump and feel like crap or I do something about it.  I don’t get to have it both ways, and believe me, I’ve tried.

So, that’s going to be a positive step forward.

And here is where that mental momentum or determination plays a huge roll: prior to this I didn’t want to do without a cocktail or two at dinner or after work, especially on a Friday night.  Today, right now, and even last night as I was sipping that last whiskey on the rocks, I could have just as easily tossed it down the sink. The evening cocktail, which for so long somehow symbolized success, and a happier time than that which I’d emerged from no longer has that same draw.  Further, while I actually enjoy the taste of a nice gin and tonic, the way it drains my focus and energy is annoying. So, I’m pretty clear that that’s not going to be a big temptation as in the past.  Pasta, on the other hand, which is plentiful here, along with potatoes and pork are a totally different story and a much more challenging hurdle to overcome.

Which leads me to my next big move. The next positive step forward is food intake.  I absolutely hate counting calories, but changing what I eat by keeping it clean and green as much as I’m able with enough protein tossed in to help with the recovery process is another way to move things forward.  Today is going to be kind of a jump start as my appetite (which is usually voracious) is all but gone.  Moving forward from today, I’m going to just put less in my piehole and make sure that I’m taking care of myself so I don’t get to the place of vacillating between starving and binging. Drinking plenty of water is going to be important here.

I’ve spent the last four months since moving overseas getting acclimated to this part of the world, figuring out and adjusting my U.S. lifestyle of loading up on groceries weekly to the European way of only getting a few things because you are walking home with all that and your refrigerator won’t hold it all. I’m through that transition and ready to really focus on making better choices at the grocery store. I spent the last two weeks, developing and trying to maintain a schedule for writing and volunteering and working out while still getting dinners on the table at a reasonable time every evening. Believe me, this is a HUGE adjustment after the last two years of living out of a suitcase and being on the road much of the time. Overcoming the temptation to just dial up a pizza delivery and instead chopping up the veggies and actually preparing a home-cooked meal has been a big adjustment for me and one, quite honestly, that I’ve resisted.  But I’m over that now, so I can move this part of my ineffective lifestyle to the next level.

As I’ve been hacking this out on my laptop, a friend just messaged me asking me if I wanted to participate in this 30-Day Core Ab Challenge.  I’m going to join her.  I’m also involved in a 30-Day Plank Challenge group on Facebook, which I haven’t really started yet.  I even have another friend who goes to the gym I used to go to (Yes, I quit the gym. More about that later. It’s not forever.) who has insisted that I must send her my sweaty photos from my at-home workouts.  So, you see, I have plenty of support and a fair amount of accountability.

I have plenty to work on, and while today wasn’t the perfect start to the rest of my new life that I’m creating, it still isn’t a total loss.  I’d love to hear from others out in the blogosphere.  What things do you do to keep yourself motivated and determined so you can accomplish your goals?


About Miz Insomniac

Usually, it's the kids who grow up and leave home, but Miz Insomniac switched it up. When her kids grew up she decided to make her dreams come true so she flew the nest. After making 12 trips across the pond and back to Europe, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East in 2014-15, Miz Insomniac now qualifies as a world traveler. She hasn't quite mastered the fine art of traveling light, but she knows how to manipulate travel plans to avoid missed flights and jet lag. A former hopeless romantic turned realist, she's stateside now reinventing her life in a new city, with new opportunities, and all the challenges that come with leaving a career, traveling abroad for a year, and then returning to a world that's nothing like she left it. Her overseas travel is by no means over, it's just not as frequent. She's different now, but remains a night owl. She writes when she should be sleeping...and while you probably are.

Posted on October 16, 2015, in Health & Fitness and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I know exactly what you’re talking about as far as wanting to hold onto that oh-so-precious burst of mental motivation. I keep myself motivated (as cheesy as it sounds) by listening to motivational videos while I run. The music, the enthusiasm of the speaker, and the general positivity helps me to keep going.

    • Motivation to exercise dwindles the more you refuse to exercise, at least, in my case it does. I like your idea of listening to motivational videos while you run. The workout playlist can get old. What are some of the speakers you listen to/watch? I think they’d be perfect for when I’m riding my bike.

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