For a long time, I was driven to the gym by my burning desire to reach a goal and by a specific deadline. If by Labor Day I couldn’t run a half marathon, then I was going to miss the race. Having such a definite cutoff date really pushed me to push myself. It made me really want to work out as much as possible and as hard as possible. The race was quite literally the only thing I talked about for a few months – in fact, I still talk about it a lot. After it was over, though, I had a really hard time feeling motivated. I accomplished the goal; heck, I accomplished a lot of my goals: I finished a half marathon, I lost 50 pounds, and I gained a lot of confidence. Once it was over, though, I couldn’t help but feel that I had less to strive for, besides my lofty mission of being generally healthier.

I think this means I’m a more concrete kind of person. I realized that I need to have a specific goal to work towards. Telling myself to go to the gym because it will be better for me in the long term doesn’t seem to cut it. However, telling myself to get my butt to spinning because I have to build up enough endurance to run a race – well, that’s the trick. So, now that summer is over (long over), I need to really formulate just what I’m working towards. Bear with me:

1. I ran a 5k in 40 minutes. I want to cut out at least a minute and run, comfortably, in the 35-39 minutes range. Good thing there are a lot of 5ks coming up. This weekend, I want to hit 39 minutes.

2. I already ramped up the number of times per week that I work out, but I need to start varying the kinds of exercise I do. I think my body has started to get used to my routine. I need to shake it up – so, goal 2 is to try a new class or do a new kind of workout every single week.

3. I lost 50 pounds (did I mention that already? I’m pretty proud…), but I know have more work to do. This concrete goal involves me losing another 20-30 so that I can go on a (second) major shopping spree. There are a lot of sub-goals that go into this, and I still have to work out exactly how I’m going to make it happen (stay tuned).

What are your goals? What motivates you?