The Search for the Missing Mojo Begins! 

Last week I declared that my mojo was missing. I reported my feelings of laziness and malaise. Exercise has become a chore and eating right a battle. The anxiety monster is lurking just around the corner waiting to pounce on me if I let it. Last week’s goal was to start searching for answers.

Perhaps it’s not mojo I’m looking for?

As a first step, I decided to define a few terms. What even is mojo? Am I using the term correctly? Googling led me to this:

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Am I looking for mojo? Or am I looking for enthusiasm? Is it motivation I need or more willpower?  Some further search terms lead me to this blog article

Should I Get Motivated Or Use Willpower? The Ultimate Guide For Taking Action When You Don’t Feel Like It

Now that sounds like what I’m after!

According to the author, Stephen Guise, you are better off relying on willpower and habit rather than motivation. He defines motivation as a desire to take action, whereas willpower is forcing yourself to take action even if you don’t feel like it. Creating habits is the ultimate goal. When something is a habit you don’t have to make a decision, you just do it because you have built it into your life. I’d recommend the article. It’s long but his writing style is easy, amusing and straight forward. He has a book to sell called Mini Habits.

Working SMARTer

Guise recommends taking action even when you feel unmotivated. Just get out and do it.  This is the same strategy Michelle Bridges uses in her 12 Week Body Transformation Program. (12WBT)

Her motto is  JFDI (just f*^%#$ do it!)

Just get out of bed. Don’t think about it! Just put your workout gear on, don’t think about it. Once you start, you’ll keep going.

I have signed up for the 12WBT three times in the past, and every time it has worked well for me. I’ve gotten fitter and stronger. At the conclusion of the 12-week program, I have felt empowered, healthy and proud.

Why does this style of program work so well for me and others? It boils down to a few simple factors:

  1. The program isn’t free. The fact that I’ve paid for it is a huge part of its  success for me. The idea of wasting money if I don’t stick to it is an important external motivator.
  2. It’s for a well defined period of time. Long enough to see results, short enough to maintain interest.
  3. It is measurable. There are some very carefully planned milestones that involve actual measuring including a weekly weigh-in and a monthly fitness test. On top of that, you take your body measurements every four weeks.
  4. The program asks you to set mini-milestones and a final goal. For my last round, these goals were timed running events and culminated in a final event where I aimed to crack the 56-minute mark. (missed by 5 seconds!)
  5. There is a supportive online and IRL* community attached. I didn’t join in on this aspect much but it was there if I wanted it.

That list sounds very familiar and a lot like SMART goals. That is goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.

Make a start – even if its small

While SMART goals are a tried and true strategy for many people, Guise suggests another option. Using brute force! In a strategy, he calls ‘taking stupid small steps” he suggests you take a very small action which you repeat over and over again until it  ‘turns into a powerful, healthy habit.’

The idea is to force yourself to do one push up (or another similarly very small step), then do another and then another and before you know it you’ve done a workout. Guise says that harnessing the power of stupid small steps will increase your willpower, stamina, build momentum, lead to action rather than just thinking about taking action and finally bring a greater level of consistency.

Here’s a good summary of the idea.

What’s next in the mojo hunt.

My Year of Zero precludes me from signing up for another round of 12WBT so I am just going to wing it on my own with a very strong mini habits flavour thrown in. I’ll set some milestones, do some measurements and give myself 12 weeks to whip myself back into shape. I have a 5 km race booked in for December. Maybe I can get down to 25 minutes. (My previous best time is 26 minutes)

Yep, that’s what I’m gonna do…Starting next week…I really really mean it this time! 


Next week’s post: I know I’m not alone in this potentially COVID induced funk. Next week I’ll examine the possibility of this lack of motivation being a bigger shared problem. 

* IRL = In real life

 

 

 

Chook run

Eleven weeks ago, I started a 12-week running program. The program’s aim was to go from 0 to 10km in 12 weeks. I have always tried to keep fit but as I have gotten older I have gotten lazier. Even though I walked around 8km most days, I hardly ever raised a sweat. I wasn’t overweight but I was heavier than I wanted to be. I figured if I kept putting on weight as I was – around a kilo a year – I would end up at 80kg before I was sixty, which is way too heavy for someone with my frame!

I decided to act and hence the running training. I am pleased to say that today, I have just completed a 15km fun run.  A week and 5 km ahead of schedule.  I am feeling very pleased with myself!

Not only did I finish but I finished in a pretty good time for an old chook – 83:04.

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Why am I telling you all this? In keeping with some of my other posts I think it fits into the wellbeing category. Setting goals, being active and connecting with others.

I stuck to my training schedule and my fitness has improved. I lost seven kilos and don’t want to lose anymore. My heart rate has gone down. Always pretty low, it’s 55 bpm while I type this and at complete rest it’s down to about 45bpm

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Not such a glamorous shot – but hey! I had just finished 15km!!

 

 

 

My tips for you if you are looking at getting fitter:

  1. Find a program that you have to sign up for or a training buddy. This will keep you accountable. Nothing works like an accountability partner. I used the Michelle Bridges 12WBT 10K program but I am sure there are plenty of others.
  2. Set yourself some sub-goals along the way. For me, it was a 3km fun run at week 3, then 5km at week 5, 10km at week 8 and 15km at week 11. This meant I always had something I was working towards. By paying money upfront to enter the events, I “locked” myself in and couldn’t come up with excuses for not doing the training.
  3. JFID – just fricken do it! Just get out there and do it. (Thanks Michelle for this one!)
  4. There are plenty of programs online for free but stick to them. If it says rest – rest! If it says do strength work or stretch; do it! I have managed to get through the last 11 weeks without an injury and I think that’s the key. Stick to the program. Don’t wing it!

I had intended to cut back on the running after today, to say 5 – 10km twice a week with stretching, yoga and strength work on the non-running days. BUT!!! And there’s always a but… I have accepted another challenge. My younger sister asked me to run with her in a Tough Mudder event in four weeks’ time.  Sixteen kilometres and 20 obstacles in mud. I have never done anything like it so it looks like I will be keeping up the training schedule plus adding some heavier upper body work so I can drag myself over the obstacles.

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Hashtag blessed! I am in good health and the endorphins are doing wonders!