Motivation Waning? Become a Mentor

So, you have achieved that goal of participating in one of the Fort4Fitness events or other major organized event this year and now feel the letdown that often occurs after completion of a long-term goal. “Where do I go next?” may be haunting your mind.

With the change of seasons – longer nights and colder days – it often becomes more difficult to find that motivation to get outside and exercise as you did to get ready for that signature event.

How does one go about rekindling the flame of motivation?

How about becoming a mentor?

I am not talking about some formal program where one has to sign contracts and have exhaustive background checks before participation. Simply find a friend who has been struggling with the same issues you did; lack of exercise, poor dietary choices, overweight, out of shape. You know – the couch potato you once were – and offer to help.

I must warn you that there is a very fine line between being a mentor or coach and being the irritating, overbearing "nouveaux health-nut." If done properly, however, there is nothing more rewarding and the benefits will extend far beyond your own health. Ever see the movie "Pay it Forward"?

Your friends have witnessed your remarkable transformation (see previous blogs featuring Shalon Robinson and Jean O’Shaughnessy for examples) and are secretly envious of your success. Why not share some of your secrets and find an exercise buddy in the process.

As many of you know I am a runner. I love to run! I have done literally hundreds of events over my running career. I have completed a full marathon in all 50 States. I realize I am a bit "off-kilter."

I frequently get asked; "What was your favorite race?" Well the answer is easy and you might be surprised to learn that my all-time favorite event is not one of my marathons or some PR (personal record) event. My all-time favorite race was when I ran with my daughter in the Indianapolis Mini Marathon (13.1 miles) while she was in high school. My daughter is not a gifted runner, but what she lacks in natural talent she makes up with shear grit and determination in spades. She ran the Chicago Marathon last year with little to no training. (This might become a topic of future blog posts – I wouldn’t recommend it.)

When my daughter was a senior in high school, she told me she wanted to run the Indy Mini and that I should sign her up. She actually told me she wanted to do this alone. But if you are at all familiar with this event, the "Mini" is the largest half-marathon in the world, with some 35,000 participants. There was no way this loving father was going to allow his naive daughter to try to get to the starting line and complete this monstrous event alone. So we trained together and I am proud to say that she stuck to the training program as outlined without a single complaint or excuse.

Come race day, we negotiated the masses and made our way to the appropriate race corral and along the streets of Indianapolis. Unbeknownst to me, my daughter had a specific time goal in mind that she shared with me at mile 11, just when the going was getting tough for her. She wanted to break two hours for the event. It was clear to me that she was struggling to keep pace and had become extremely quiet. (She was a magpie up to that point.) I recommended that we slow the pace down and she became very concerned that she would not achieve her unstated goal. Once I found out what her goal was, I assured her we could "crawl" the last two miles and still be under her two hour goal. We completed the race in 1:52.

In my long running career, I can honestly say that my favorite events have been those during which I helped others achieve goals they thought were impossible. Acting as a mentor or coach helped to reinvigorate my running in ways difficult to describe. The Indy Mini with my daughter is my favorite event of all time – hands down. But all the other events in which I helped others are a close second.

If you find your motivation has waned, I recommend finding someone to help and work together I think you will be amazed at what happens and the effect it has well beyond your sphere.   

We can change our fair city into a bastion of health and wellness one person at a time and you can be the spark that sets the whole thing ablaze.


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