Motivation and Habits

“Motivation is what get’s you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” – Jim Rohn

This quote struck a cord in me. All too often I find myself looking for motivation when I am struggling to do something. It helps – it gets me started. Keeping at it is formed from habit and that takes time. With my training schedule changing this fall, I am finding myself adapting when it comes to the workout and the time, but preparing for the different schedule will take a whole new set of habits.

My workout this morning was a swim for active recovery. In the past on Thursdays I would run from my home, so I didn’t wake up quite as early. As a result, I would stay up a bit later on Wednesdays. Well that habit didn’t change last night and I had a little trouble waking up as early as I should to swim. I did make it to the pool and I did swim 2,800 meters. It was a good endurance swim and I am seeing my times improve. Because of time, what was to be a 3,400 meter swim was cut short by 600 meters and I didn’t have the time I would like to stretch out in the hot tub. That alone is motivation to get started earlier and create habits to keep at it so I can have “my time” in the hot tub.

Of course the idea to be motivated to get to bed early in order to wake early came, well,  a little late. Now I find myself writing this and it is almost 10:45 PM.  My plans are to get to the gym in time for a 6:00 AM class in the morning. Instead of losing hot tub time, I may be losing sleep. Another source of motivation, however I much prefer positive motivation over negative motivation…

Whether positive or negative, motivation does get me going. When I take up an interest in a new activity I really enjoy, like when I started running 13 years ago, I find myself hoping that this sticks. That I won’t lose my passion and give up. Like all things when they are new, there is excitement and desire, but when the newness fades, it takes more than motivation. That is when habits take over. I am a firm believer that very few bad habits completely go away. The default to return is always there lurking in the background. Creating better, stronger habits to alter behavior are needed and hopefully “stick” to push the bad habits far aside.  I am in the creating stage of my new habits, but I am doing it. Motivation is getting me through – my mantras, my love of the sport, even a desire to get to bed earlier (next time) so I have the sleep I need. All the more motivation to create better habits.

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