From Inspiration to Motivation
“Motivation is the push. Inspiration is the pull.” —Natalie DeBruin
A few years ago, my sister-in-law’s good friend called her with an invitation. Would Lynn join her and a group of friends to walk 60 miles in a Susan G. Komen Foundation 3-Day For The Cure? The plan would be to meet regularly and train for the event, then cross the finish line together in celebration of her 15 year anniversary of being cancer free. “At first it sounded overwhelming,” said Lynn. “I was exercising a little bit at the time, but this was 60 miles of walking over 3 days! I was not sure I would be able to do it, but how could I say no?”
As it turned out, her friend’s triumph over breast cancer was the inspiration Lynn needed to take on a bold fitness challenge. And with that seed of inspiration, came a strong sense of motivation to train consistently toward her goal for six months. As Deepak Chopra, well-know spirituality author suggests, “Instead of motivation, look for inspiration. Inspiration comes from the same word as spirit. When you are inspired, the spirit moves you.”
When it comes to beginning an exercise program, many of us are hard pressed to find the motivation to get started. But exercising for a cause you really care about could be just the internal “tug” you need to get moving. While the primary goal of these events is to raise money and awareness for a particular organization, it certainly would not be selfish if you raised your fitness level at the same time! Events such as 3-Day For The Cure or the Leukemia Society’s Team in Training, not only provide a memorable experience, but often have all the ingredients that ensure your new and improved fitness program lasts long after you cross the finish line.
A Specific Goal: Perhaps you’ve heard the term “SMART’ goals—Specific, Measurable, Action oriented, Realistic and Timed with a deadline. With a date, time and distance to commit to, you have a SMART goal on steroids! There will be no turning back after you hit the “Sign Me Up” button on your computer.
Free Guidance and Training Advice: Many people don’t exercise because they don’t know how to get started. Visit a charity event’s website and you will see that once you sign on, you will have access to progressive training programs, e-mail reminders, certified coaches and other virtual training support free of charge.
Built In Support System: One of the biggest indicators of ongoing success in any fitness endeavor is the strength of your support system. Lynn’s training team met two to three times each week to walk together. She acknowledged that having a set time and a group of people waiting for her helped her stay committed to her goal.
Success! Three days, 60 miles, and two sore feet later, Lynn crossed the finish line with an enormous sense of accomplishment. “Knowing that I completed the distance along with thousands of other people, some still fighting their disease, made me feel incredible. I also felt proud to have helped raise over 8 million dollars to support breast cancer research and community programs.”
In the end, Lynn accomplished her original goal of supporting her friend’s journey back to good health and raising money for an important cause. At the same time, she acknowledged that she also stepped up her own fitness program. “I noticed that my endurance improved while training for the event, and to this day, my group of friends and I still meet for coffee and our weekly walk.”
Lynn’s story demonstrates that we are often nudged to get moving because of someone else’s story. But ultimately, the push to keep moving comes from discovering our own. While my pragmatic side loves the idea that exercising for a cause could inspire more people to get moving, I can’t help but be “moved” on a deeper level by the wellness lessons inherent in an experience like hers.
As Lynn walked the streets of Philadelphia with thousands of like minded people, she felt a deep sense of gratitude for her own good health. “Watching a husband push his wife in a wheelchair along the course for three days, made me realize how lucky I was to be able to walk the distance myself.”
Are you inspired by Lynn’s story or have a similar story of your own? Why not join our monthly challenge for October and “Find A Cause” that moves you. We’d love to hear and share your inspiring stories with our readers. You never know who will make that important connection because of you.