What’s My Motivation?

The alarm sang out its incessant beeping at 5:15, reminding me what I told myself last night,

“You are going to get up early and run tomorrow….and then take a shower. You ARE!”

I hit the snooze, groggily stumbled into the bathroom and stared at my running outfit laid out in a manner that all but put itself on me, doing what I can to make the morning ritual as simplistic as possible the night before when all my faculties were firing sufficiently. I brushed my teeth and stared into the mirror. Then the voice crept in. The voice I try not to hear every single morning I get up to run before my body and mind are ready.

“Why are you doing this? Your legs are sore. You need the sleep. You’ll get plenty of exercise at work. You can do it tomorrow.”

I counter….sort of,

“Why AM I doing this? I’m tired. I’m not training for anything. I’m in shape. I’m only 140ish pounds. I’m…..oh yeah, I haven’t taken a shower in weeks.”

And so I force myself into the dark, drive to the gym and by the time I get there my mind has finally woken up on par with my body and doing something physically active before work not only doesn’t sound COMPLETELY INSANE AND NUEROTIC, but actually sounds appealing. And then there is that hot shower waiting.

The shower was nice, yes. Very much needed, for sure, and ultimately that is what got me out the door and running a decently quick 5 miles that encouragingly felt routine and almost too easy. And right now, it’s those small things that are my motivation, that are my way out the door to put one foot in front of the other. It wasn’t always this difficult or deluded…. A shower being the motivating factor I mean.

When I was training for races and putting my abilities, reputation and physical self on the line, finding motivation to get up and run was shockingly easy. 15 miles at 4 am? No problem! 1 run before work and a speed workout after? No big deal! No big deal, because the motivator was strong. But it’s not so much what motivator one has, but simply that it is there to get you through those rough patches.

And with that, if I had a dime every time someone said to me, “I could NEVER be vegan”, I’d have, I don’t know, at least 20 bucks, probably more (hey, I don’t exaggerate to make a point). My response has shifted from something a little less compassionate to, “Well, you certainly COULD. You just don’t have the motivation, the reasoning to do so. If you had the knowledge and experiences of how animals are treated for food production, I bet you’d find some motivation to eat vegan.”

That’s, of course, assuming one puts aside enough of their disassociated and desensitized upbringing to actually CONSIDER what food production must feel like for animals. No matter, the point stands. But maybe it’s not just the ethical motivation that matters, because for some it’s weight reduction. For others it’s avoiding a heart attack. And so on. The point is, if you don’t have convincing enough motivation to engage in any sort of lifestyle habit, whether that is physical activity or diet, you probably aren’t going to stick with it. More than likely, you are going to toy with an idea that was presented to you as “good”, but without sound reasoning or personal motivation you probably aren’t going to continue on with the change despite how simplistically reasonable it might have sounded at one point.

On a personal level, it is why I don’t mind continuing to expose myself to animal suffering through educational materials, books, videos, etc. It’s not necessarily a fun process, but the motivation that follows presses me onward to consider new ways to halt animal use and abuse. Despite understanding the issue directly and living vegan for so many years, having reminders or boosts to my motivation is never a bad thing and to surround oneself with motivating factors can only make your efforts more lasting.

On the same note, (most) EVERYONE can run, despite whines and cry’s to the contrary…. It’s just about having the motivation to do so. I could play tennis, but I don’t have the motivation to even bother. No big deal, tennis is just a sport. Veganism on the other hand, is an ethical consideration and the repercussions (to others) for NOT finding the motivation (or offering it) are much more dire and far reaching.

So I beg of you, if you are one of those who has said “I could NEVER be vegan”, please don’t be so absolute, and accept that you certainly COULD be vegan (I hope I and the hundreds of other vegan athletes have proven as such), you just need the motivation. Just as runners have to convince themselves out the door, whether that’s for a race or a shower, please consider the many reasons and motivations to live vegan. It’s one of the most important considerations you’ll ever make.

I can afford to demotivate myself to run (what’s another week without a shower?!), but losing motivation to live vegan is simply unacceptable in light of those affected by our decisions.

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6 responses to “What’s My Motivation?

  1. LOVE this. Just sent it to a newly vegan friend! Motivation is what gets us through all the things we don’t really love to do. Thanks for writing it so much more eloquently then I could!

    ~MollyG
    6 years vegan, 1 year running!

  2. First, I can (unfortunately) recall many similarly justified gym visits. In fact, I first started working out during my freshman year of college because my apartment’s shower broke.

    Second, this is an incredibly incisive post. A whole lot of truth here.

    • I wish I worked out when I was in college…you started off right. I just skateboarded and didn’t read any of my textbooks.

      Also, I’ll never give up my Y membership…if only for the shower benefits. Wait…that sounds kinda dirty.

  3. Just what I needed to read! Today is my 40th day of being a vegan and I’ve been running for most of my life. The last few days my motivation has been lagging, so thanks for sharing!

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