Stay In Motion

The law of inertia taught many of us that an object in motion stays in motion (and an object at rest stays at rest). This law referred to the laws of physics and the way they operate around us. A few years ago, when I first started working toward my goal of running a marathon, I took this simple phrase and started using it to motivate myself on long runs. I would tell myself that an object in motion stays in motion, and if I stopped running or moving or slowed down, the only thing stopping me was myself. 

Now obviously, we have elements of fatigue, hydration, and safety to consider, but barring those issues, running a marathon (like many other fitness goals) is largely a mental battle. To be our most successful selves, we have to stay motivated and stay consistent. When we’re motivated and consistent, these two elements form symbiosis (they feed on each other) and create a positive cycle. So, for example, you’ve had a ten-day streak, you’ve made it to the gym, you’ve eaten healthy, and you’ve kept a good schedule, on the 11th day, you may not be as motivated as you were on the first, but because you’ve been consistent your brain feels the desire to maintain that streak. 

How do we get the streak started? That’s going to be different for everyone. You can have a straightforward catalyst or have something more abstract. One of my biggest personal goals was to get my mile time under eight minutes and sustain a sub-eight mile for the duration of my run. I was pretty consistent with my workouts; I incorporated track, essentially everything my coach recommended to get that mile time down, but I just couldn’t get below an eight-minute mile. Then one day, I went to the movies and saw Wonder Woman. I believe most people walked out of that film feeling empowered, but something about the perseverance and the challenging of norms that I saw in that film helped to push me past my own internalized limitations toward my goal. Whatever imagery you need to use, whatever comparison you need to make, whatever gets you going, use it and then stick with it.