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How About a Big-Bodacious Adventure to Push Yourself?

By Dr. Stuart Offer, Wellness Coach & Educator, Hickok & Boardman HR Intellegence.

It is not often that I can surprise myself, this past weekend I did just that.  I will get back to this in a moment.  As a wellness educator, a personal trainer and lifestyle counselor I am always trying to get folks to add more activity and exercise into their day and life.  For many of you life can seem so busy it feels like you are the Ring Leader of a 3-Ring Circus.   You may be thinking “I can’t even find enough time to get a good night’s sleep, how am I going to find the time for exercise, or the motivation?”  Finding and keeping motivation is no easy task.  If you can’t get motivated to exercise there is no way you will make it a priority and you will never be able to find the time.  My go-to strategies I use to help people increase their motivation are:  set a GOAL, recruit a FRIEND, make it a BIG-BODACIOUS ADVENTURE , and most of all make it FUN.

As an exercise professional I rarely need to motivate myself.  I am pretty good at just doing it.  So, it has been a long time since I have had a chance to test out firsthand how well these strategies actually work.  Here is where the surprise came in.  A few months ago my wife Leslie ran into someone who was selling a relay team for the Burlington City Marathon.  We are both casual runners so with excitement and feeling like this could be a BIG-BODACIOUS-ADVENTURE Leslie purchased the relay team just to have some FUN.  The team was for five people so we recruited three FRIENDS who were just as excited to run as we were.  Now, the GOAL was set of doing the marathon. 

Here is my assessment of how these strategies worked.  OMG, it was awesome, they worked great.  They worked before the marathon, during the marathon and even after the marathon.  Let me explain.  Without even planning to do this, for months before the race we all trained harder than we normally would have.  At times some of us would run together pushing each other along.  In addition, we would email each other back and forth encouraging and bragging about how we were doing with our training.  On race day the excitement and energy level was palpable.  Each one of us ran faster and felt stronger than we have ever felt.  My leg of the marathon was leg number two, 5.8 miles in length.  Due to the excitement and adrenaline flowing through my body I was able to shave over one minute from my usual time.  The biggest surprise of all was the motivation that came after the race.  We all were so invigorated and had so much fun that we made the commitment to do the marathon  next year.  However, some of us were so pumped up we decided next year to shoot for the half marathon.  So do these strategies work?