The question of motivation has come up to me a couple of times this week. How does someone find their motivation to make healthier changes? Many people know they need to change, but they can’t seem to keep up a new exercise routine long enough to make a real difference. Or they have had success in the past, but fallen back into old habits and are right back where they started.

I began to think about my own motivation to start on this latest health journey. This didn’t come quickly. I’ve been back and forth with exercise routines for years. I wasn’t an athlete when I was young. I’ve started as an adult. And as I think about the times I was motivated and successful, there is one constant. Companionship. I had people who did it with me.

I started running back around 1997. I found some co-workers who wanted to run too. We began doing 5Ks together. I stopped when my running partners moved away and I began having injuries. Eventually I got to 25 lbs heavier than I am right now, which is a lot for me.

This time was really different. I really felt led by God to get physically healthy and I knew I needed help. So, I signed up with a trainer. I had always used the excuse before that it was too expensive, but the money has always been there. God is good, isn’t He? Now, I meet with my trainer 2 times a week. But, if I didn’t go in-between those times, I wouldn’t have the results I have now. I’m up at least 4 days a week at 4:20 a.m., out the door at 4:30 to get to 24 Hour Fitness for my workout. I used to think other people were crazy to get up that early. But I love it! And you know what the best and most motivating part is? The people I’ve met. The same group is up there almost every morning. I have my social time, as well as my workout before I go to work. It’s become an important part of my day. I miss that time when I don’t go. And these people are serious about their workouts. Who would get up that early if they weren’t serious? They motivate me. Now, I’m not saying that everyone has to workout that early, but I’m trying to emphasize the importance of companionship for motivation. I have a group of people who I look forward to seeing every morning and they notice when I’m not there. What’s better is they have similar health goals that I have.

I used to separate myself in my mind from them. They were the uber-healthy workout nuts. But now I’m one of them. And we push each other to be better simply by showing up and pushing ourselves. They have found their motivation and so have I.

I teach my students that the people you choose to hang out with make you who you are. It’s true for adults too. We tend to be like the people we spend time with. So who are your influences? The people who echo your own thoughts that you really should do something about your health but just don’t have the time? Or do you look for people who have what you want? Do you look for friends who have found their motivation and are reaching their goals? We can’t think of ourselves in an “Us” and “Them” when it comes to health, not if we want to be successful. If we want to succeed, we need other people to help get us there.

Someone recently introduced themselves to me and said, “I need to meet some people who are serious about this life-change thing and someone told me to talk to you.” Wow! What a compliment!

Changing our lives is a huge job. We were made to do it together.

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