Instant Rewards at 13 degrees

I find that I often have my most creative and motivating moments during an outside workout.  I am not sure if it’s the fresh air or the intensity of the activity, but my mind clears and “Creativity” decides to visit.  She  asks questions, reminds me of tasks and tries to engage me in a conversation.   I don’t always engage, but most of the time I mentally scribble ideas or thoughts in my mental checklist.   

As I get closer to the end of my workout, “Daily Noise” interrupts and gets louder and louder.  It’s almost as though Daily Noise is a bit jealous of all the time I just spent with “Creativity” so like an impatient toddler it tries to get my attention.  If I don’t solidify the task or ideas by writing them down immediately after my workout, I find myself wading through the noise and tasks of the day and to retrieve the ideas on my mental checklist later.

When and if I succeed, which is not always possible, my mental checklist usually has, at least, one or two credible thoughts or ideas to explore.   

Currently, I am in the midst of Session 7 of The Upstream Field Guide by Tsh Oxenreider of The Art of Simple.  This is my first online self-exploration course and it has been quite an adventure.  Session 7 focuses on goal setting.  It pulls together all of the thoughtful journaling and tasks of the past 6 sessions to create goals that get you closer to your life’s purpose. 

Sounds a little cheesy, right? But I’m all in! 

I don’t mind setting goals. I find myself setting little goals almost every day, but for some reason, my mind went blank this morning when I reviewed the session. 

“What is wrong with me?” I thought, “You better go for a run.” So I mustered up the motivation to get out at 7:15 am on a crisp, clear and chilly (13 degrees) morning run.  As usual, the first mile on the road was a bit like self-inflicted torture, but by the time I hit the trail I was feeling good.  As I approached the turn off for the short loop, little Miss “Creativity” sounded off, “How about the long loop today and tackle the Minnie Mine Hill?”  I engaged and my response was “I need to get home to get ready for work.”  She was not giving up that easy, “but your phone is silent and it’s early .. you have plenty of time.”   I acknowledge the truth in that statement but did not reply.   She then added, “plus a little extra effort will do you well to get in that bathing suit in Mexico.”  “Ridiculous,” I mentally shot back, “one hill is not going to make any difference as to how I look in my bathing suit.”   She added, “Yes, but it may keep you motivated, clear minded and healthy.”  And wasn’t that the whole reason I was out there?

So I did the long loop and I tackled the Minnie Mine Hill.  I enjoyed the climb and focused on the burn as it spread through my lungs and quads. At the summit, I took a few minutes to breathe and thanked the universe for this moment and then pushed on.   Almost like a mysterious signal from the universe,  the creative thoughts started flowing.  It was incredibly obvious to me at the time and I made a mental note to share the experience with you. 

Honestly, health and weight loss are not the driving motivators for my exercise and activities, but more often the immediate rewards that enhance my daily life – more energy, better mood and piece of mind.   In The New York Times blog, “Rethinking Exercise as a Source of Immediate Rewards”, Dr. Michelle Segar, Director of the Sport, Health and Activity Research at the University of Michigan says, “I like to think of physical activity as a way to revitalize and renew ourselves, as fuel to better enjoy and succeed at what matters most.” 

I couldn’t agree more.  And magically, Inspiring ideas for goals started flowing and I scrambled to add them to my mental checklist.  Going downhill now with the snow crunching under my feet and air freely circulating in my lungs, The small goal ideas for the day emerged and then weekly and monthly with some big goal ideas that make me laugh_out_loud and pull in the reins.  A good start for the day.

Get out there and enjoy the climb!