Friday, April 27, 2012

ICGM, or When I Can't Get Motivated

It is possible to feel as lazy as this dog. Credit: paddynapper
My workouts: nil. My sleep: near insomnia (I know this because I've been watching episodes of Grey's Anatomy and The Big Bang Theory on my computer like it's my job to review them and then boom, it's 5 a.m.). My productivity: next to zero. Hopefully my dad doesn't randomly decide that tomorrow's the day he's going to catch up on his Fit-Ink reading or I'll be getting a lecture for even stating these facts let alone trying to explain them.

I think I have a case of ICGM, better known as "I Can't Get Motivated." It might not be a disease that you'd find in a medical dictionary, but it has symptoms and the possibility for a cure--or at least temporary relief. It's sad, and pathetic, that this revelation felt like my one moment of productivity in a sea on nothing-ness for the entire week. I didn't think that I could call what I felt a disease, but when Chicago Endurance Sports coach Holly Jamison spelled it out, I figured that I had to have a case of it. Or that it was legit to have a case of ICGM.

It's not because I'm a hypochondriac--that, my friends, is my sister's department, self-professed, anyway--but because I needed some sort of explanation for how I'd been feeling. And it was either this or loneliness. I didn't want it to be the latter because then it meant that I was truly failing in being strong on the independence train, something I had excelled at for more than eight months already and only have a little more than three left before my relationship's commuting year is over.

Loneliness can make you lay in bed all day. Loneliness can make you crave awful foods yet not cave to those cravings because it would require leaving the house, which you don't want to do. Loneliness can make you skip workouts and feel guilty for not doing them, especially when you have others inviting, practically begging you to join them. Loneliness can make you feel like your productivity took a sabbatical and you're clinging onto whatever threads you can to at least try to muster up some sense of accomplishment. But that's not only part of my ICGM picture.

My best definition of ICGM can fit all those "I'm lonely" descriptions and more. You'd think I was dead judging at my activity--oh wait, complete lack of activity--read-out on my Nike+ FuelBand (if you want a wake up call as to how much movement you're not doing sitting at a desk all day this will do it). My bike is collecting dust and flat tires because I haven't bothered to use it since Monday (and I should have logged three rides already plus some swims and runs). My yoga mat has been sitting in the laundry corner since Monday, my goggles are going to get stepped on if I don't move them soon from where I tossed them after my lackluster Tuesday swim, and my gym bag hasn't been unpacked since I used it to carry home my Ravenswood Run packet on Wednesday. My butt is starting to feel like I took two cartons of ice cream and glued them to each glute. And those altitude gains that I'd like to think I brought back with me from Colorado are long gone, as is the better schedule I found myself on when I wasn't at home. I can read all the Facebook and Twitter updates in the world about what workouts others have done this week, yet it's not helping me get off the couch or get out of bed any quicker. And if that doesn't fall into the ICGM category than I don't know what does.

Rather than let my "I can't get motivated" syndrome continue, I'd like to hope that I'm committed here and now to put an end to it. But to do so, I came up with this checklist for how I plan to fix my latest case of ICGM: 

Plan a workout with a buddy. Last Sunday, I went running with Liz. It was windy. It was cold. It was early--early for me anyway. It meant I'd have to set two alarms to make sure I'd wake up and set out my clothes the night before so I didn't show up an hour later than I was supposed to.

Eat balanced meals. How many times have you heard you are what you eat? I know I don't want to look like a carton of ice cream, and the chips and guacamole, even if I made a healthier version, certainly aren't powering me to exercise. That's because my food favorites, or snack favorites, lack the nutrients I need for intervals on the bike or enduring an hour in the pool (and probably helping to keep my bones strong for the pavement pounding). It doesn't help when you read a triathlon coach's Nutrition 101 and know right away that you're doing it all wrong.

Join a training group. Chicago Endurance Sports suggested this one and I can't say I disagree. If you feed off the energy of others, the runners, the coaches and the pacers keep motivation high. Time flies, you end up having fun (as painful as it might feel when you're getting out of bed in the morning), and you get that mileage under your belt. Besides, would you really want to leave the rest of the group waiting simply because you don't want to get out of bed? Not really.

Set a bedtime and a wake-up time. I've been faltering at this one for years, often blaming it on my work-from-home schedule that allows me (or I allow it) to write at odd hours of the night. It started more than a year ago when a construction project across the street made it so noisy during the day that it was impossible to think

Plan a getaway. This thought might not work for everyone but I'd like to think it worked during my last run-in with what I can only now describe as ICGM (sadly that was only a month ago). Miserable for days before departing, I felt awesome upon arrival in Colorado. Sure, it helped that the sun was shining, it was warm and I was leaving the normal routine to ski, but sometimes you just need that change of pace.

Limit the tube time. TV is my vice. I don't even know why, considering I watch a bunch of reality crap without really paying attention to it. But I'm convinced it's to blame for some of my lack of motivation. Either I'll get involved in watching a program or I'll leave the TV running late at night. The former keeps me glued to couch--even if it's The Biggest Loser--and the latter has a glow that can make sleeping difficult.

Lose the internet. I can't do this permanently as I spend a large portion of my workday communicating online, researching and using content management systems. But when those tasks are done, I need to learn to walk away from my computer screen and not stare at it through dinner, dessert and downtime (or what should be downtime). It doesn't help to scroll through Facebook and catch the status updates from everyone who did their workouts and you know you didn't do yours.

Me time. Sometimes you have to say no. It's easy to get pulled in different directions--do this, help me with that, attend this--but I'm not Gumby (one look at me stretching to touch my toes and you'll understand) and my schedule never seems to have enough hours in the day to get it all done. It might be easier said than done, but who says I can't try to carve out more time for myself to avoid constantly playing catch up?

Here's to hoping that I can erase this bout of ICGM. Ask me again in about a month--my best guess is that I'll either be suffering again or forgetting that this week even happened.

Have you ever felt like you couldn't get motivated? What did you do to remedy the situation?

Photo grabbed from paddynapper at flickr.

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