Category "Journal in a Jar"

Category "Writing"

Category "motivation"

March 13, 2010

Thoughts on my Journal-in-a-Jar project

I wanted to record some of my thoughts on this writing project before I forget. In my typical organized, bullet-point style of thoughts, here is what I think about it:

Overall, This Journal-in-a-Jar project has jump-started my writing practice again, so it's a perfect gift to me. I've created a category for Journal In a Jar, so I can go back and re-read from the beginning. I think I'll do that at the end of my first year of this project.

Next topic: Did you wish you had more (or fewer) sisters and brothers? Why? Oooh, sister, are you reading this! ;-)

Posted by carl1236 at 6:31 AM | Journal in a Jar | Writing | motivation

Category "Attitude"

Category "Winter-Biking"

Category "motivation"

February 26, 2010

My first bicycle commute of the year

Today I bicycled the six miles each way to and from work. It was light when I left and and dark coming home. And I slipped on the ice once when I rode over a huge ice-melt flow that had refrozen. But I saw it in advance and was going really slow, so it was no big deal. No injuries or pain.
The biggest problem I had was that my cheeks were getting cold going really fast down a mile-long hill. I should have had my ski mask for that part. The next problem was overheating. I dressed in layers though, so i could unzip my jacket and open up a little to cool off. All and all though it was easy and fun.
The biggest joy? Getting there by my own power and feeling exhilarated the rest of the day because my blood had a good workout. The fresh air was good too. As a bonus I got to climb back up that mile-long hill on the way home.
I have a really nice lighting system I set up a few years ago so commuting at night is no problem. I have a dual-halogen headlight system with rechargeable battery pack attached to the frame. Plus a 5-LED white blinking headlight in front and a 5-LED red blinking light in back. And I have a reflect vest and leg band to make me brighter. I also have the standard white and red reflectors on front and back of the bike. The headlight system is really handy and it's great to be able to see the road ahead. I originally set up this light system because I hit a curb once that I could not see with just a blinky light and it bent my rim up. So commuting in the dark is a lot more fun with all those bright things.
Now the hardest part about this ride... Getting out the door this morning. Biking in the winter is all attitude. It is actually quite nice biking in the winter if prepared properly for it. People talk to me like I'm crazy when I say this, but then I ask, "how do you prepare for cross country skiing?" Is that crazy? When I started treating winter biking like a winter sport, it was amazing. What I find is crazy is that I know all of this and proved it to myself by biking for a couple of years all-year-round, even through the deep snow. And it was no problem even in 20 below weather. So I have no valid excuses to not bike. Except that I have taken an extended break from exercise, and my body pays the price in not being fit like I used to be. But my mind also suffered consequences. My mind began to make excuses. it's too cold. I'll be late. My bike is not ready. etc. it was only sheer will power that got me out that door with my bike this morning. Once I got on the bike it felt good and there was no turning back. Check out my winter biking category if you are interested in my previous winter biking experiences.
Tomorrow I will bike to the bike shop too.

Posted by carl1236 at 8:37 PM | Attitude | Winter-Biking | motivation

Category "Love your Neighbor"

Category "motivation"

May 20, 2008

The true purpose of competition

I was out running in the beautiful sunshine at lunch today with one of my coworkers. As we jogged along, we got on the subject of athletic ability and being an athlete. I recently ran the cinco de mayo menudo 5k benefit run in West St. Paul and felt like it was a great race. But I didn't win, nor did I place in the top ten. I was close, but not quite there. Two people passed me close to the end but I just couldn't match their pace. My goal at that point was to just "not slack off" my own hard pace.
So our conversation today drifted toward 'gifted' athletes, like Lance Armstrong. Lance is a good one to use for an example because he has a heart of a bull and can pump oxygen through his veins at an astounding rate. Granted he's younger than me, and youth should be able to out-perform older people, if training properly and motivated, but his times at the recent boston marathon were much faster than my 5k run. He ran about 6.5 minute miles for 26 miles! I ran 7:40 miles for 3.1 miles and that was about the max I could do on that day. I once ran a two-miler at 10:24 but have never been able to quite repeat that stellar performance. I came close a few times, but gradually over the years my times crept up to around 8+ minutes per mile. That was when I was in the Army, training regularly. And this is now, after two kids, work, school, and countless other obligations and hobbies to take up my tiime. Even if I did train constantly and consistantly and properly, I don't think my heart or lungs would ever reach Lance's capacity. I'm just not wired that way. That doesn't mean I couldn't beat him some day if I worked really hard. Because he could have an off day, or not be as motivated or heaven forbid, stop training and take up knitting. Many less-gifted athletes have beaten the 'naturals' in races.
I have found though that I don't compete to beat other people. I race to motivate myself. I race to beat my best time at this stage in my life. I race to push my boundaries and feel the exhilaration of pushing my limits. I race to see what I can do. In my experience trying out the athletic lifestyle, competition is not really useful or meaningful if it's just to beat the other person.
Recently another person came into the bike shop and was scoping us out. He runs a business selling used stuff, including used bicycles. He admitted to me that he viewed our bike shop as competition. And that he would be looking for ways to beat us. He didn't come right out and say that last line, but it was strongly hinted. I had to chuckle because, we are not competing with anyone. We are simply creating something really cool. And honestly, beating us at our own game would not deter from our mission, just make it easier. Besides, monitarily, who can really compete with dozens of volunteers selflessing giving to the community? And if that person found a way to shut us down in the spirit of 'competition' would that make his business any better? I don't think so. In the end what he has to offer will sell itself.
In life we do not have to 'beat' others in order to win. If we use competition to better ourselves and our output, then we are benefiting ourselves and others. If we use competition just for the sake of winning, there is always another Lance Armstrong to come along and put us in our place. Even Lance did not win the Boston Marathon or set the world record. Maybe he could do it, but in the end old age will wipe that clean. In that light, winning, just for the sake of winning, could do more harm to us than help. Why not do what you can to stretch yourself and see what you can do. Be creative, be concious in life and use competition for it's true purpose, to better yourself and others.

Posted by carl1236 at 6:07 PM | Love your Neighbor | motivation

Category "Writing"

Category "motivation"

December 30, 2007

How do I find time to write and what motivates me?

I think these questions were easier to answer during NaNoWriMo. For me I had to put a lot of other things on hold to do it. It took up a lot of time I normally would have been doing other things. But I did NaNoWriMo to see if I could do it. And I accomplished the goal.

Asking myself how I find time to write and be motivated is like asking myself what makes me tick. But I don't confuse the issue of being a writer with finding time and motivation. I don't even question whether I am a writer or not. That really is not the subject for me. I don't really care if I'm called a writer or not. I know this sounds strange to those who are dedicated to becoming a writer or who want to be known as a writer or who are published writers and proud of it. I can't say I don't have pride, but it's different for me. I discovered I liked getting my ideas down on paper and I like telling stories that I make up. I like reading my own stories. I like the creative process of making a story, whatever the inspriation. So I am not motivated to write by the idea of becoming or being a writer. I don't even really care about the definition of 'writer.' But I do care about the motives I have for doing anything and going through the processes involved in accomplishing something.

In my case motivation is what drives or sets things into motion. If I want to write, it comes from some motivation. (In NaNoWriMo's case, it was a motivation to see if I could stretch my known limitations and actually do this too. I think I will need a new motivation next year if I do it again.) It's the same with painting. It's the same with practicing music. If I have the motivation I'll do it. If not motivated, I won't.

Here are some of my motivations:

I love to create: I love the creative process which is filled with troubleshooting and experimentation. It's full of energy. I generally try to focus on the creative process - problem solving. The end product usually amazes me and I like it, but then I move on. The object created doesn't really hold the same meaning for me as the process. I focus on how do I create this? How do I make it better? How do I finish this story? etc.

I love to try new things: Experiment, learn, experience something new. Again it's full of energy. I tend to lose interest after I've experienced something. So then I tend to look for new ways to experience something familiar. I tried writing flash or nano fiction of exactly 100 words for each story. The rules are simple: 100 words containing all the elements of a story: At least one character, a setting, a beginning, middle and end. I don't think I've mastered this yet, but I did create 19 stories that meet the criteria so far.

I love Accomplishment: Getting something done is a reward for me. I get crabby when I leave projects undone. I have one painting in my closet I started and never finished because I could not get myself to settle on the writing to use on it, or practice the caligraphy required to carry it out. That's on hold, but not forgotten. I just pulled all of my calligraphy stuff together and started practicing again. I love to try new things, and to be creative but I also like to get things done. Be finished.
I discovered I don't really like editing my NaNoWriMo book and my end of the month deadline is slipping but I'm still working on it because I almost need to get this first draft done. Just to get it done. And I've discovered, accomplishment rarely happens without goals and then discipline to do whatever is necessary to reach them.

I have to keep busy with something: Most of the time it comes down to my choices. When I start to beat myself up over not finishing a project or not keeping to a planned schedule, or whatever, I have to remind myself that I only have a limited number of hours in a day and I am making choices all day long to do whatever it is I am doing. I do know that I don't like doing nothing. I would rather be actively involved in something. So I generally have more activities than I can really do. And since I can't do nothing, I have a few project ideas and story ideas and things I have wanted to work on for a while that I keep in reserve when I'm looking for things to choose to do. That is one reason I love learning languages also - there is no limit to how much learning there is and I can pick it up at any moment when I don't know what else to do with myself. Then I'm always busy accomplishing, trying new things, creating.

So when I think I should be writing more or practicing music more, or doing more artwork or focusing more on my job or my relationships, I have to look at the root of those desires, at what choices I'm making and why. Then I can choose to make one or the other a higher priority. By the way, this month I'm doing everything I put on hold last month and editing really is lowest on my list. So as a consequence, I may finish the first draft by next weekend or by the following weekend.
I've also started working on the plot for my next novel which will be the same length, but written over the course of this year and it's going to use the same characters. If I don't hurry up and set my goals for writing this, I may end up planning until next November, then write it because I have to, haha. But I don't want that to happen either. That's why I have to get back to editing now.

Have a great new year!

Posted by carl1236 at 3:01 PM | Writing | motivation

Category "motivation"

May 13, 2007

Cleaning out the Junk

Do you know how liberating it feels to haul away junk? To clean out a garage that took years to fill with stuff? It feels really good and having my space become clean and organized again is very motivating. The release of attachment to stuff is very motivating.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:00 PM | motivation

Category "motivation"

April 12, 2007


Progress is inspiring and motivating, so it makes sense to make progress, to make motivation.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:04 PM | motivation

Category "Attitude"

Category "motivation"

March 29, 2007

A positive attitude and persistence gets results

Today I had the second half of my performance review and my boss told me that one of the things he liked about me was my positive attitude. He mentioned several examples of how my attitude has had an impact on the department and produced some tangible results. So I finished my first 5 months with a good review. So that was a good note to end my day. (and motivating)

Posted by carl1236 at 10:50 PM | Attitude | motivation

Category "motivation"

February 6, 2007


I don't know what this has to do with motivation, except that it takes a lot of it sometimes to make anything happen. And it's not very motivating until it's accomplished.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:53 PM | motivation

Category "motivation"

February 4, 2007

The Puppy Bowl

I was supposed to get back into running this this weekend. My Triathlon season is not shaping up very well yet. Of course when it's this cold out, it's hard to get motivated to exercise outside. But I could go to the gym. So how do I explain my apparent lack of motivation? Stress? Could stress be sapping motivation to do something that I know is good for me and produces more motivation? It's a counterproductive attitude. But lacking motivation for exercise, I turned on the TV and caught the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet channel. That was funny! And I did two loads of laundry and studied Korean. I also took two short naps today. I still have no energy for exercise. For someone who is as busy as me, and maybe this is rationalization, this probably isn't such a bad thing. I might start running at work during lunch once it starts warming up to break up my day and relieve stress. We have a shower room. Now back to Puppy bowl! :-p

Posted by carl1236 at 4:54 PM | motivation

Category "Attitude"

Category "motivation"

January 27, 2007

Saturday at Work

Today I went into work for three hours to get some things done. I feel like I'm so far behind on one of my projects and it'll be ME responsible for missing the project deadline. But maybe not. I think I will go in to work tomorrow also. I got a lot done today where there were no other distractions or projects to work on. I also reinforced some of the software techniques I was a little shaky on. It's not enough to get the project done but it's a good start and a boost to my confidence. Now I'm more motivated to go to work again tomorrow to see if I can make some real progress on my project. Regardless of the outcome, missed deadline or not, at least I'm doing something toward the goal. Sot it's good.

Posted by carl1236 at 3:06 PM | Attitude | motivation

Category "Love Yourself"

Category "motivation"

January 23, 2007

Health fitness and motivation

After being on my new job for about 15 weeks now, my fitness level has deteriorated drastically. My asthma has gotten worse, I haven't been running or biking or swimming. I also haven't been getting enough sleep. I've also gained weight. It's taken only 15 weeks to wipe out the benefits I gained with the athletes lifestyle. So now I have to figure out how to get started again. The first three things:
1. Get enough sleep.
2. Cut out the junk foods and get back into my healthy, nutritious foods.
3. Cut back on the coffee and mix it up with teas again. Intake less caffeine.

Then start running and biking again, and some tennis with the new tennis partner I found at work. Tennis on Saturday morning. :-)

Posted by carl1236 at 7:52 PM | Love Yourself | motivation

Category "motivation"

January 22, 2007

Working late

Working late when I don't have to and when I am getting organized and increasing my efficiency is fun and motivating. Sometimes when I have to work late though, It is not so motivating because it makes for a long day when I still have to get up early and get back there. So motivation is dependant on attitude or at least on my motives for doing the work. ie, if it's just for the paycheck it's not as motivating for me. If it's to accomplish a task before the required deadline, it's motivating. So here I am at 9:12 blogging, after just finishing dinner when I got home. Now I'm ready to go back to work with new progress on my goals. So it's all good.

I also modified my Flash Fiction Number 5 story to make the first line better.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:08 PM | motivation

Category "Attitude"

Category "motivation"

January 10, 2007

Fear or Stress, which came first?

I was wondering today which came first. Fear creates stress. Stress creates fear. Also I asked myself which came first, motive, motivation or action. A motive or desire creates the motivation or energy to then act on the desire. The action creates motivation to fulfill a desire and can lead to other desires or motives, which lead to action, leading to motivation to do more. Deciding which came first isn't really as important as recognizing what my motives and fears are.
For instance, on my new job, which I started about twelve weeks ago, I asked myself what my motives are in this job, what is my intent? here they are:
To be employed.
To be challenged in my work.
To do real work, make a difference in the field I am working in.
To increase my skill levels in several key areas, including regaining lost skills.
To stay employed.

Now what motivates me to work these desires?
Fear of being unemployed and not being able to pay my bills and support my family.
Fear of being seen as incapable of doing the job.
Fear of not being smart enough, fast enough, wise enough to handle the job.
Fear of not being valued for who I am.
Fear of not making a contribution to society.
Fear of failure.
Ok, enough of the fears,
I was unchallenged in my previous job and know that no innovation comes from no challenge. I wanted to put myself in more challenging positions, under pressure to see what I could create. I am still motivated by solving problems. Without problems to solve, I am less creative. In art too, there is the challenge of presenting a vision using whatever media I chose. The creative process depends on answering questions and figuring out solutions to problems. Need is the mother of invention. Not the other way around. Where there is a will, there is a way. Where there is a need, there can be invention and creation. I am having a blast defining need right now at my new job and coming up with ideas to solve them. It will be fun to look back and see what I've done this time next year.
In my previous job, my work did not really matter. I had to find a more productive use of my allotted time. I wanted to create something more than rules for others to follow. I also wanted to educate myself more on the inner workings of our societies infrastructure, and what better way to do it than drawing and design it? Solving real world problems in tangible ways. It's fun and useful.
So, where do I go now? Get more motivated by doing...create new goals, motives, desires. Get creative.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:47 PM | Attitude | motivation

Category "motivation"

January 9, 2007

Inspiration as Energy

Why do I read so much? I read daily. Much of what I read simply confirms things I've thought about. Sometimes I am truly inspired by the things I read. Let's say by some "uncommon wisdom" about a certain topic. What does it do to me? I find inspiration in some of the most unlikely sources, but inspiration by any other name is still inspiration, and it's energizing. Like a flow of energy that transcends our physical conditions, not just coming to us through our minds but by how it effects us through the mind and the heart. Now I am recharged and ready to go back to work tomorrow to learn more and get my tasks accomplished. Inspired.

Posted by carl1236 at 8:50 PM | motivation

Category "motivation"

January 2, 2007

Recovery Energy and Motivation

Recovering from an illness, we gain energy. With added physical energy I was more motivated today. Obviously. At least it seems obvious because it's almost a no brainer. When we are sick we generally feel lethargic and don't 'feel like' doing anything. But when we are well, we naturally have more energy to do more. That doesn't necessarily equal more motivation but the rise in energy levels is motivating. As I have experienced, another way we can give ourselves a rise in energy levels without getting sick and recovering, is to exercise regularly. Another way is to eat healthier foods. Even when and how much food we eat effects our energy levels. That's an area I'm still working on.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:00 PM | motivation

Category "motivation"

January 1, 2007

I am sick today

Sickness saps motivation. I have had no energy to do what I thought I should have done today. It started coming on yesterday and today I could hardly move. One advantage however is that I finished reading another book and I started researching 'Point of View' techniques for short story writing. Mostly I laid on the couch reading and sipping hot lemon tea. Our older cat was in heaven having somone to keep her warm all day by laying on my stomach. And then the dog curled up at my feet and I felt pinned down. I had a box of tissue by me, and I read books.
This week I will be reading books on Writing, then back to fiction again. I have a whole bunch of fantasy books I got over the holidays to read so it will be fun reading them. Being forced to slow down and take it easy isn't all bad. Maybe we don't need to be motivated all the time.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:09 PM | motivation

Category "motivation"

December 19, 2006

My Limits

Now I am in my tenth week at my new job. I discovered where some of my limits are. Since I started this job I've put practically everything else on hold, mainly going into survival mode to overcome the learning curve. I'm not through the learning curve yet, but I've reached a limit in myself. Now I have a couple of four-day work weeks coming up and family activities planned for many of the evenings during the week, so my work schedule has to be cut back. In some ways I have resented having other things interfere with my efforts to overcome the obstacles at work because I felt like I have not arrived at fitting in yet. I am not integrated into my new 'team' yet and I feel out of place still. So I naturally want to make that happen sooner than later.
I do know that I need more sleep, and the break is well timed. Now is the time to plan my next energy burst. And I will see if I go in nine week cycles. I do think that it's natural and being aware of my limits will help me motivate myself to push those boundaries in the future.

Posted by carl1236 at 8:18 PM | motivation

Category "Learning"

Category "PM"

Category "language"

Category "motivation"

December 3, 2006

Liebig's law of the minimum

This morning I started applying the scientific method to my learning of languages. First I gathered 6 books I have on language learning as resources. I listed the references and made notes about them. Then on another page I created a list of problems or 'bottlenecks' in my learning, such as retention. (Theory of Constraints, TOC.) And then tonight when I was researching process change and TOC for work, I ran across a name for one thing I intuitively noticed this morning about my language learning; That in my list of bottlenecks to learning Korean, or even improving my language learning process, the amount of resources available to me were not a limiter. After all I had six books on just language learning sitting in front of me. I have shelves full of language materials in several languages and I rented one Korean video out of thousands available this past week.
Liebig's law of the minimum states that growth is controlled not by the total of resources available, but by the scarcest resource. Increasing the overall amount of resources does not increase the learning. Only by increasing the amount of the limiting resource, the one most 'scarce' in relation to need, can the learning be improved. Several of those are Study time, a good multi-track learning plan, practice, memory and motivation. Language materials alone do not guarantee we will learn and retain and recall later when needed.
Barry Farber in his book, How to learn any language, made a good point. Many people spend a lot of money on books and cassettes and they end up on the shelf or in the closet getting dusty. Liebig's law of the minimum says that the availablilty of materials are not limiting my acquisition of knowledge or growth in my learning abilty, but something else is needed more.
At work, Liebig's law of the minimum applies equally. I list out the resources available and the bottlenecks and realize that it's not the availability of resources holding up the production. Throwing more software at it won't solve the problem. Knowledge of how to use the software effectively is part of the problem but not the scarcest resource.
And so I learn to learn.

Posted by carl1236 at 6:09 PM | Learning | PM | language | motivation

Category "motivation"

October 23, 2006

The beginning of a second week on my new job

It seems that I have more motivation on a new job to do well. There are many reasons I think for this. Some of them are fear of failure, feeling a need to live up to my perceived expectations, a desire to do really well, a desire to get into the groove as quickly as possible and other reasons. I AM more motivated and it feels good. I want to work hard! I hardly notice the day flying by. Plus, I'm starting to feel more at home now, so I'm getting down to business. I'm not as confused and overwhelmed with new faces, names and locations anymore so I can focus on doing a good job now. Some people get really motivated by new situations. There is a lot of energy that comes out of a new, fresh environment. That's one reason people go away for their vacations instead of sticking around town. Some people really love working temp or contract jobs for this same reason. Everything is fresh and becomes fresh again. My breakthrough really came on Saturday. Friday I was still feeling a little overwhelmed. But on Saturday I went into work and organized myself for monday. I brought some more of my reference books in and reviewed my notes for the week and got an automation program working that I needed for my project. That made me feel more in control and more at home there.
This is how I feel as I begin my second week on my new job. And it feels good!

Posted by carl1236 at 8:35 PM | motivation

Category "Marathons"

Category "Triathlons"

Category "motivation"

October 8, 2006

My Next Running Race

As part of my training plan, I am running one race per month over the winter to help motivate me and give me something to work toward. My next race is the Run for the Apples 5 mile run in White Bear Lake on October 21st. Hmmm. Two weeks to prepare. Good! And then about 5 weeks later on Thanksgiving morning I'm running an 8k run (Gobble Gait 8k) haha. I should be ready to eat some turkey after that!

As I wrote before, I made my overall goal, now I've broken it down to specifics, week by week.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:46 PM | Marathons | Triathlons | motivation

Category "Marathons"

Category "Triathlons"

Category "motivation"

October 7, 2006

Three Year Training Plan

Over the past week I've constructed a three year training plan. (I also have non-athletic goals planned) A plan is good. That way I'll have something to work toward. In my early ideas about what I would be willing to do to experience an athlete's lifestyle, I never considered running a marathon. But NOW after having run consistantly for six months, I'm feeling like it would be possible for me to try something like that. That's where the three year plan comes in. I plan on being in good enough shape to do an ironman triathlon AND a marathon in 2009.

Here's the training plan (Do I even know what obstacles I have to reach these goals!?!) It will be challenging:

WINTER 2006-2007
5 or 10k running races - 1 per month starting in November
Running three times per week, including race day.
Swimming at YMCA twice per week, work on swimming technique. Take 6 Total Immersion lessons over winter.
Biking - commute to and from work 3-5 days per week, 13 miles each way.

3 Relay Triathlons including Fat Tire Triathlon
3 Solo Sprint Triathlons
The Edmund Fitzgerald 100k relay AND one half marathon

2007-2008 WINTER
Swimming at YMCA
One 10k running race per month
One longer run per week
Biking - commute to work

3 Relay Triathlons
1 Olympic Triathlon
1 half ironman triathlon
Twin Cities Marathon

2008-2009 WINTER
Longer run training

1 Ironman Triathlon
Twin Cities Marathon

Posted by carl1236 at 9:16 PM | Marathons | Triathlons | motivation

Category "Balance"

Category "Cycle Racing"

Category "Triathlons"

Category "motivation"

Exercise as part of life

Over the past few weeks I've been struggling with having enough motivation to exercise. Part of the problem was that I was sick with a sinus infection and as the antibiotics started working I started to feel more ambitious and energetic. But also part of me was wandering around aimlessly without a goal to work toward. Since May I've been training really hard for my triathlons in August and September. I accomplished my goal and then was left with no planned events or goals to work toward. So my training kind of took a break. I was just barely maintaining my fitness level with a minimum of workouts per week.
And last year I had the same issue when the bike racing season ended in early Fall. But I'm happy that I started running again and now have swimming to work on. All of this has led me to get a Y membership and use the gym. If it weren't for the Y I probably would have let my exercise drop until I was ready to start working on a goal again. I've been using the equipment at the Y and spinning classes as low-impact, fun activities to exercise and enjoy doing it. It's easier to be motivated if there is little resistance to get going. And last weekend I ran three miles around Lake Phalen. It was absolutely beautiful outside and had company riding along side me on a bike. That was fun.
One of my main goals with starting triathlons was to develop a fit lifestyle. That means that I should not need specific race goals in order to exercise. I should be exercising to stay fit and healthy continuously. But looking ahead I feel better I also have in mind for next season... 3 sprint relays and 3 Half Ironmans plus a 10-miler running race in the Fall. I know how challenging it will be so I'd better get working on it.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:44 AM | Balance | Cycle Racing | Triathlons | motivation

Category "Triathlons"

Category "motivation"

September 7, 2006

And the loss of motivation probably is going to help me

In some strange way, I think my loss of training motivation this week will help me in my triathlon on Saturday. Or is that simply justification for not going out to run. I did a good, hard workout on Saturday, then ran for a few miles at a slow pace on Wednesday at lunchtime and here it is Thursday. I'm not going to run tomorrow, because that would not be smart. But I think I will run for a mile or so to warm up before the swim start. I'll run, set up my transition area again for running, put on my wet suit and then go to the start. Or maybe just warm up in the lake. That's a better idea. But anyway, I've trained hard all summer and now I have no motivation. I'll be motivated to do my best during the race I think. And I know I'll be fully recovered from any previous exercise. So why did I lose motivation after my big race on the 26th? It was fun but I was incredibly exhausted afterwards. Not sore, but exhausted. I think that threw me off balance and I've been having a hard time getting going on exercise since then. Maybe I need to focus more on my recovery nutrition and exercises. Maybe shorter, smaller easier workouts or something would help. I'll try that next week. So, my big race is Saturday morning at the Square Lake Triathlon: 1/2 mile swim, 18 mile bike, 5 mile run. Be there, be square. hehe.

Posted by carl1236 at 8:46 PM | Triathlons | motivation

Category "motivation"

August 7, 2006


What happened? I haven't been able to get motivated to train seriously since Friday. I discovered some kind of allergic reaction to something in the lake water when I went swimming on Friday night. I was trying a new pair of goggles and they were leaking constantly for the whole mile swim and when I got out I was sneezing with itchy eyes and running nose. It got worse. I had to take some benedryl. Then by Saturday afternoon I felt better. I'm still recovering. Now I have to go out and buy a new pair of goggles that work before going swimming again.
But ever since this episode, I have not been able to get myself to get going. I'm almost back to normal but still trying to get get going. Tomorrow is Tuesday and I am going to bike hard into work and bring my running stuff so I can run at lunch.
I discovered Allergies can take away my motivation. chemical imbalance in the system?

Posted by carl1236 at 8:54 PM | motivation

Category "Attitude"

Category "Triathlons"

Category "motivation"

July 17, 2006


If a person wants to make a change in life the usual place to start is with the choices we make. It seems like a logical place to start because we hear over and over that we are supposed to make better and better choices. I've even said it myself, I've written about. Yes, better and better choices are a good idea, but often it's hard to make any other choice than the one we have to make at the time. Why is it so hard to change our choices? I think it's because we have not addressed the motivation behind the choices we make. Every choice has a motive, whether we see it or not. The motive is something that moves us to make the choice.
If I choose one thing over another, I could say that one of those things was a higher priority than the other one. Choosing one over the other was motivated by my priorities. One thing seemed more important to me for whatever reason. It seems more logical to me that if we want to change ourselves, we should focus on our priorities instead of our choices. If our priorities change, then our choices will follow. Right now training is a high priority for me. So it's easier to be motivated to train. I want to do it. I choose training over watching TV or many other activities, even most of my artwork is put on hold because I feel it's important to get the proper training in if I want to compete in these sporting events. The idea here is that I'm not struggling with choices between doing this or that, I'm having a higher priority in life and the choices seem obvious, almost like not choosing at all. Resistance is futile, but change the need/purpose/motive/priority behind the choices and there is no resistence fighting back.
Of course then there are also no excuses because we are setting our priorities, saying 'This is important to me."

Posted by carl1236 at 10:23 PM | Attitude | Triathlons | motivation

Category "motivation"

July 11, 2006

Runnin down the road thinking about motivation

Today is a running day in my training schedule. I decided to run later at night when it's cooler, so I was out running after dark. As I was running along I was thinking about what is motivating me to do this. I think I isolated one motivation for keeping going once started. I appear to have a fear of giving up too easily. Is fear a healthy motivator? In the case of survival fear is a good motivator, because it drives us to take action to survive and in many cases it works. We live through the life-threatening situation.
Yes, I have an overall goal and to reach it I know I have to do a minimum of training, and I adjust that constantly as I go along. So I break that down to how much I have to do and what kind of training I have to do each week in order to reach that goal. But that's an overall motivation to get started on it each day. It's easy to quit though and not train enough. But I keep coming back to the thought that I'll get to the time limit of my goal and realize I was too soft on myself and I didn't give it all I have, and realize that it wasn't enough to reach my goal. As I was running, I thought about turning around. It was a good thing I set a target location to turn around. So I stuck to my plan and forced myself to reach that location. I turned around and there was no choice but to run back home. It took me exactly 59 minutes to do this run tonight. I'm glad I didn't quit. I feel good, physically and mentally.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:22 PM | motivation

Category "Triathlons"

Category "motivation"

July 10, 2006

Tri and Tri again

That's what training seems like. I have a training schedule to follow, but underlying the training schedule is the motivation of 'try and try again.' ie. don't give up and you'll make it. Tonight someone in my class told me that he noticed improvement in my swimming since the last time we swam together about a month ago. Yeah. cool. I have been practicing and I think I'm slowly improving. I'm not going to give up because the real reward comes from the experience of breaking through these walls. Or the experience of giving 150% while trying. Now after my second open-water lake swim, my confidence is getting greater and that will propel me to try harder and practice more. I'm going to lake-swim a LOT more in the next month. Next swim: Wednesday night with the MN Triathlon Club. Tomorrow is a running day. I'm going to try to beat my previous time for the 5.64 mile lunch run.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:51 PM | Triathlons | motivation

Category "Triathlons"

Category "motivation"

July 9, 2006

Swimming long and walking to run

On Thursday I joined the MN Triathlon Club and this morning I went swimming in a lake for the first time with some of the other members. This was awesome, because I swam about 3/4 of a mile! Even if I did rest, do the backstroke, sidestroke and breast stroke, I did the whole distance. This gives me confidence that I can swim a half-mile. Especially If I keep practicing open water swims.

Then tonight I knew I wanted to get a run in. I had some bike errands to run though, so I rode about 15 miles at a slow pace with quite a few hills to go up, but it was light riding overall. One of my errands was to go out and measure the mileage I've been running at lunchtime with my bike's odometer. It was 5.64 miles.

Then when I got home from my bike errands I took a break, changed into my running clothes and watched a little bit of the Tour de France and then went out for my run. I wasn't very motivated to do it but I decided I would go out anyway. To motivate myself I walked for a good one to two miles first, slowly picking up the pace. during that time I got rid of my mental block to running. My legs had some painful points here and there for the first mile of running, but then my muscles relaxed and I settled into a nice comfortable running rhythm. My breathing wasn't too hard so It all felt pretty good. Then I quit running about a half-mile from my house and walked it off. I'm calling it a good training day. Motivation came on slowly tonight, but it came by doing. This morning on my swim, I was motivated to make it by having no ground to touch under my feet and no pool walls to rest on. I had to swim or sink. But I never felt like I was going to sink. So that encourages me. I'm doing lake swimming again tomorrow night at my class and again with the MN Tri Club on Wednesday night. That's how it's going.
The more I do this, the more I wonder what motivation really is. I think Motivation is more than just a desire to do something. I think motivation is also action on a desire regardless of whether we feel like it or not.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:14 PM | Triathlons | motivation

Category "motivation"

June 21, 2006

Now the bed motivates me more than writing

It seems that with all of this exercise in the past month and a half, I've been missing a lot of posts, which is understandable I think, since I'm too exhausted to write and the bed is mightier than the pen sometimes, haha. And If I don't get enough sleep I'm not motivated to exercise the next day, so I am more motivated to sleep than to do other things. Except now, I'm dozing off at the computer and I'm still typing. Now I'm going to bed. Motivated.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:04 PM | motivation

Category "Attitude"

Category "Triathlons"

Category "motivation"

June 19, 2006


So tonight, just six or seven weeks into my triathlon training course, I became a little discouraged about my swimming. I lost my spirit or morale because I could not swim a continous 200 meters, which was part of our exercise tonight. The most I had done up until this point was about 25 meters, or one length of the pool. But tonight I accomplished four lengths of the pool without stopping to rest. I am a little sore right now, but I did it. That is a small progress, so it encouraged me. I think that sometimes when we lose spirit, it's like losing hope. It's like giving up because the obstacle seems too great. But tonight I learned to push just a little more each time I tried. First it was three lengths of the pool, a ten second rest, followed by the fourth length. On my next attempt I did three full lengths, then only a five-second rest. Then I did all four lengths of the pool. No I did not make it to a half-mile swim yet, and I didn't even swim 200 meters continuously, but I did improve. I think when we are discouraged, it is the perfect time to push a little harder, to remember that by going just a bit more beyond our known limits, we get stronger and better. It's a hard way when things seem overwhelming, but I'll take any encouragement. It's better than giving up, or losing the heart to go on. Now I can't stop practicing, but have to try harder to make noticible improvements.
And I'm off to bed so I have the energy to run and swim tomorrow. hehe. It's a tough schedule where discouragement has no teeth. Our failures fade to the back as we work on the task at hand and try to push a little more than we thought we had.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:07 PM | Attitude | Triathlons | motivation

Category "Triathlons"

Category "motivation"

June 17, 2006

I ran for an hour

As part of my training schedule I was supposed to run for 30 minutes today. But instead, once I was out there running I felt pretty good so I decided that today would be the day I would try to run for a full hour. And I did it! I ran 6.8 miles in exactly one hour. I'm tired now, but it felt really good while running. Now I'm off to bed so I can bike tomorrow. hehe. training is going ok so far. It was difficult to motivate myself to get started, but then the goal of beating my old limit of 48 minutes of running. I thought I could do it.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:12 PM | Triathlons | motivation

Category "motivation"

June 16, 2006

What IS Motivation?

mo·ti·vate: to provide with a motive : IMPEL
mo·tive: to move, something (as a need or desire) that causes a person to act

Do I have trouble getting motivated? Yes. Sometimes I do. There are things I don't want to do. So I have real trouble with those things. Like cleaning or yard work, or something. Not that I don't like doing these things once I get started at them, but I may not want to start. Sometimes it happens with running or biking or swimming now. Training is hard work! Sticking to a schedule is hard! Especially when the body is weak. But I know in the long run, I want to accomplish something greater and know what I have to do to get there. So I do it out of sheer will power sometimes.
So one of the key ways I motivate myself is to convince myself I WANT to do it. I create inside of myself a need or desire to do it. And that causes me to act on it. It moves me.
In studying myself, I have learned a few things that de-motivate me. One is a lack of sleep. I don't feel like doing anything until I recover physically. Drinking too much would do the same thing. I spent four days once not wanting to exercise because I just felt blah. And that really messed with my training schedule.
I don't know sometimes what moves me into action. willpower really means, the will to do something, which means to want to do it. So, I have to find ways to WANT to do something.
Like right now, it's late, but I really WANT to clean the bathroom so I won't have to do that tomorrow along with my other chores. I didn't want to do it, but we are having company tomorrow, and I want to have a clean bathroom for guests. So I want it done. I want to clean it now so it's not left to the last minute to make sure it gets done.
Now let's see how good of a job I can do on it! I'm going to clean the bathroom now. ;-)

Posted by carl1236 at 11:16 PM | motivation

Category "Triathlons"

Category "motivation"

June 10, 2006

What 52 minutes of running feels like

Tonight I really did not want to run. I spent all day at the bike shop scrapping bikes and helping people and repairing bikes and cleaning/organizing. So when I got home I was tired and did not feel like it. But I had set a goal on Friday for my weekend and there was not any room for rest in it. I am participating in a team fitness program at work though and we have a goal to reach a combined total points to circle Lake Superior. Each type of exercise is worth a different number of points. Anyway, I told my team members that I would do the most I've done in the 8-week program if they increased theirs a little each day. This is the last week and my goal was pretty high.
Friday I swam for 30 minutes, but that wasn't even half of what I needed. But I was tired and had other priorities so I was short on points for that day. With two days left of the program, I knew I had to make it up today and tomorrow or I would let down my teammates. This was my motivation. I did not want to go to work on Monday and tell them I didn't feel like doing it. I was motivated by a fear of not letting someone else down. We want to go all the way around Lake Superior and I think we will make it. Tomorrow I will swim and bike. The other motivator for me today was a fear of not being ready for my Triathlon on August 20th. I know that it takes a long time to build up endurance and stamina, and this is my base training now. I know I can't get into shape over night so I did not want to let my training slip too much now, when I'm just completing my fourth week of the triathlon training program.
So tonight I ran for 52 minutes. My goal was fifty minutes. I decided I'd run to a park I had never been to, just to see what it was like, then turn around and come back. I decided that regardless of where I was that if I went back the same route I came I could turn around when I reached 25 minutes. I started. The first quarter mile was agonizing. My muscles were stiff, I had wierd aches and pains in different parts of my body; knee, ankle, stomach, toes, fingers, etc. Eventually I warmed up and started breathing steadily. I did good though. I felt good! I kept running. I decided it was not healthy to keep thinking about how far I was running or had to go yet. I just concentrated on enjoying the run and feeling my blood pump through my body and air go in and out. After running all the way back home, I realized that I had met my goal for this run by running for 52 minutes. It wasn't until I cooled down that I realized that I could have run for another eight minutes and I would have run for an hour! Holy cow! An hour of running without stopping! Less than a mile more and I would have done it! I even did two sprints during my run! that was hard though. My body did not like that.
When I was about a mile from home I was feeling a cold-sweat as I was being cooled off by the wind. Oh, funny thing happened on the way back home. Twice I was verbally communicated with by people in cars. Very strange. I was on the sidewalk running. The first one was a car of four young girls that were driving the same direction as me. They honked at me and yelled something out of the window. Then they all started laughing. hmmm. Then a couple of guys in a mini-pickup truck were driving toward me and they yelled out the window, "Hey man, you're running a long way!" I waved at them. They must have seen me going and couldn't believe I was still running when they saw me again. I'm only speculating.
when it comes to motivation, I know that I will feel good about it when I'm doing it and when I've done it. But man is it hard sometimes to stick with a training plan! I probably needed a slow rest day on Friday so I'll take it. Now I have an ab workout in the living room to do tonight. Then I'm off to bed. Tomorrow is another day for good training, and fixing my bike. I got tri-bars by the way. So I'll put those on when I change out my handlebars. Then I'll be ready for monday nights "Brick" training; biking and running in one workout.

Posted by carl1236 at 8:30 PM | Triathlons | motivation

Category "Attitude"

Category "Triathlons"

Category "motivation"

June 1, 2006

My Goal of the Summer

Today I decided on my goal for my first Triathlon. Before I just had the vague idea that I wanted to try a Tri. And I wanted to do it after my Triathlon training course was over at the beginning of August. I reasoned that would give me enough time to train and get in good enough shape that I wouldn't drop out of the event. I can be realistic too. A person doesn't just wake up one day and say, "I'm going to do a triathlon," and then throws on her running shoes, grabs a bike and goes for it. Well, someone might, but I don't think I would actually go through with it unless I was prepared for it. And with this class I am learning how to prepare for it and working with a training plan to get me there. The plan however doesn't tell me how to improve my swimming so I can actually swim a half-mile. That I will have to figure out.
My first Triathlon will be the St. Paul Triathlon on Lake Phalen, August 20, 2006, 7:30am.
Swim: 1/2 mile
Bike: 20k
Run: 5k

I was told today that swimming 1/2 mile is like swimming 20 laps in the pool. non-stop. ah. sure. After swimming today I was a little discouraged because I could only swim one-and-one-half lengths of the pool without stopping! I have to tell you that this really is going WAY beyond my known limitations. A big question in my mind is, "Can I turn 1-1/2 lengths in the pool into 1/2 mile before August 20th?" Is this mission impossible?
Maybe I need to find a swimming coach. Or a therapist. But now I have a tangible goal, something to reach for. Now I can find what it will take to get there.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:23 PM | Attitude | Triathlons | motivation

Category "Attitude"

Category "motivation"

May 27, 2006


Yesterday after I got home I was physically exhausted. I had done two
hard swimming workouts, one at lunchtime and one right after work. When
I swung by the bike shop to see how things were going, all I could do
was sit there and talk. It was a great feeling. Physical exhaustion is
much different from mental exhaustion where a person feels like doing
nothing, being non-motivated to do anything. I equate mental exhaustion
with that feeling of not wanting to do and not caring. But with
physical exhaustion I feel more like I want to do more, but am
pleasantly weak all over. And when something comes up I'm back in
motion, mainly due to an attitude of 'can do,' pushing beyond limits
of strength or energy. I think spiritual, mental energy is still going
strong and motivates us to keep going. Looking out of the shop door we
decided it was time to close up and get home. Dave rode off on his bike
and I rode off in the opposite direction toward home.
As I was pedaling I was amazed at how it felt on my muscles.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:50 PM | Attitude | motivation

Category "CHANGE"

Category "Triathlons"

Category "motivation"

May 23, 2006

I am determined

Last night I was running and hurt my leg, but today I went swimming and it feels much better. This is one of the reasons I wanted to get into a training routine that included swimming, running and biking. I think it's good for the body to have a more well-rounded fitness plan that helps a lot of different muscles. It's more balanced I think than just doing one event. Plus swimming is a low-impact, or no-impact activity, causing no shin splints and other shock-related injuries.
Today I really enjoyed swimming in the pool, but I must admit, I'm exhausted again. Yesterday I biked about 23 miles, ran for about 30-40 minutes or so and today I swam for 30 minutes. My swimming technique is getting better I think, so I'll have to keep practicing it. I'm excited at the prospect of being a better swimmer too.
Tomorrow is biking day...but tomorrow I have no time available. Well, I'm going back to the idea that I should be a morning person. Tomorrow I have to be if I want to get a workout in. How do I get a 45 minute bike ride in when I don't get up until about 7:30am? hmmm. Go to bed early, like now, haha, and get up early. Tomorrow night I won't get back home until around 10pm so it has to be the morning. So this might be a motivation to change me into a morning person. At least for a day. haha. Then Thursday I'll sleep in again because I'll be exhausted. haha.
There was a good article in the paper this week about someone who had trouble keeping a workout schedule because of other duties in life. It is difficult. It takes a lot of dedication and setting it as a higher priority than things like watching American Idol everytime it's on. Not picking on that show in particular but I just read about how some people are addicted to that show so I threw it in here.
I am going to stick with this training program and see what kind of shape I'm in by August, then try a Triathlon. Then my goal is to keep up the training routine through the winter. Let's see how it goes...

Posted by carl1236 at 8:48 PM | CHANGE | Triathlons | motivation

Category "Triathlons"

Category "motivation"

May 18, 2006

Rest day has arrived...finally!

Today for training I ran. It was another thirty-minute run but with four 30-second all-out sprints in the middle. by the time I got home tonight every ounce of my body felt tired. Tomorrow is a rest day thankfully. My muscles need it. My energy levels are low, but...BUT...haha, it feels great! I now feel like I am going to make it! This training schedule will get harder over the next two weeks but I feel like I can do it. I'm now exercising about an hour every day, six days per week. I'm not even motivated by the thought of competing in a traithlon. I'm motivated by just trying to do the training. And learning to swim better. among other things.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:11 PM | Triathlons | motivation

Category "Korean"

Category "Learning"

Category "motivation"

April 30, 2006

Hanja as a motivation tool

I did not know it would happen this way, but it has. This is the brief story of how I regained my motivation to study the Korean language, and languages in General...
First I met a man my age intensely studying Japanese at the coffee shop. He studies daily and has been fun to talk to about linguistics and language learning, AND the commonalities between Japanese and Korean. So we've been talking since about January off and on. His enthusiasm and determination is inspiring. It's catchy you know?! He has the same attitude toward language learning I had in the first two semesters of Korean at the U. In the third semester I lost much of my motivation for learning. I like my new friends attitude. "Can't" is not part of his vocabulary. He's methodical and experimental. When one thing doesn't work, he tries another. He uses both traditional flashcards and watches newscasts and movies. He also listens to audio and practices speaking out loud. Many of these language learning techniques prove to be useful.
He's been studying Hanja, or Chinese characters. He has all of radicals memorized and can look things up in the character dictionary. It was very interesting for me. Yesterday I went to Half-Price Books in the Highland Park business district and ta-da! I found a Korean/Hanja book. It covers the 1800 chinese characters taught in Korean schools, along with the corresponding Hangul. Very cool. My task for today was to learn the Hanja characters for the Korean days of the week. Sun, Moon, Fire, Water, Tree, Gold and Earth. As an additional learning tool, I stopped by a local store where the Chinese shop owner wrote the actual Chinese equivalent of the days of the week, which turns out are the numbers one through seven with the addition of the character for the word 'day', ie. 'day one,' 'day two,' 'day three,' etc.
Anyway, after studying Hanja for a day, I can write these seven characters fairly well by memory. It's motivating and encouraged me to study more. I like it. I think my motivation has been building, because languages really are fun. The thoughts and feelings of people are shared with others through language. I don't think it was the Hanja itself that motivated me but it definately pushed me over the top. Learning the history of Chinese characters was very fascinating and interesting. There are over 50,000 chinese characters, but really only about 4,000 are necessary to be fairly fluent in the common every day language. One thing that is interesting to me is how about 60 percent of the Korean vocabulary is borrowed from Chinese. I love practicing and writing these very specific symbols, that have very specific writing directions. One of my goals with this is to make an artistic calendar of the days of the week in Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and Hanja using symbology and imagery related to the meanings of the characters. Fun. I am excited by the possibilities and the creative side of learning.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:35 PM | Korean | Learning | motivation

Category "Triathlons"

Category "motivation"

April 10, 2006

I paid my fee so I have to do it

I officially paid my fee for the Triathlon training course yesterday, so I'm now committed to doing it. I feel good about starting something new and getting back into a hard workout routine. Paying the fee is a motivation since I don't have much money to work with. I think it will be a great experience though.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:50 PM | Triathlons | motivation

Category "motivation"

October 6, 2005

Another night at the Greasepit

I don't even know where to begin on this one. I'll just list attributes:

Totally volunteer run.
Open workshop where anyone can come in and fix their bike for free.
Open 6 days per week.
Teach others.
Non-profit collective.

There is more, but what is not to like about these things?

Posted by carl1236 at 11:55 PM | motivation

Category "motivation"

September 26, 2005


What makes volunteers do what they do? Volunteers do a lot in this country and this world. I believe it's a way to give back to our fellow human beings. To me the motivation to volunteer comes from a desire to use my gifts, talents and resources to benefit others. I'm trying. I don't always do a great job of it, but I am trying.
Tonight there were six volunteers (and a seventh one waiting for a bike to be fixed) in the bike shop. The volunteers were helping me with the reorganization and cleaning by sorting parts into bins. It's a huge job and I'm thankful for the help. The seventh person was a lady who buys bikes and gives them to kids and adults that she teaches english to. Why is she doing it? Because these bikes really help these immigrants survive in this society. It turns out that bikes are reliable, cheap transportation! haha.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:59 PM | motivation

Category "Cycle Racing"

Category "motivation"

June 7, 2005


Last night I slept nine and a half hours! I felt so good today that getting motivated for a run wasnt even a problem. And I had a great 3-mile run! Tonight is a rest night and tomorrow Ill be riding a 4.5 mile time trial at :

Tomorrow at lunch Ill be walking down there to watch the pros do their time trials. The winners of this initial stage of the five-stage Nature Valley Grand Prix race will probably be riding about an average speed of 30 miles per hour. My goal is 23mph, which would be one mph faster than my first time trial. Im not doing the rest of the series because I dont qualify, not being a professional or elite amateur. My first ever road race is in a few weeks at Dakota Technical College.

Tonight then will be quiet around my house. Im planning on going to bed early, reading until I fall asleep, getting up at a normal time, riding to work and eating enough food to fuel me on to a faster time. Thats my plan and Im sticking to it! ;-)

Posted by carl1236 at 4:41 PM | Cycle Racing | motivation

Category "motivation"

June 6, 2005

Energy and Motivation

Today I was a little tired. It clouded my mind and left me a little less than motivated to do even the simple tasks at work. In my quest to understand how motivation is effected by various events and conditions, I have been using my bike racing, running and other training as tools in that process. Tonight I have more examples for how my energy levels effect motivation.
My low energy levels today were caused by a lack of sleep on Saturday night. In fact I didnt go to bed at all Saturday night because I was having too much fun researching something about bicycles online. Sunday morning I felt ok, but after the parade, until about 4pm while hanging out and talking with the others, I was falling asleep in my chair. After I got home Sunday night, I couldnt take a nap so when I went to bed later I was exhausted.
I got a full-nights rest, but I was still very tired this morning. As a result I had a hard time focusing at work and my motivation was low. Even talking with my friend on the phone I was feeling a little blah and unresponsive. I was trying to talk myself into going for a run at lunch, but nope. By the time lunch came around I was too hungry and tired to do it. I decided to go eat lunch in the park by the stream. That was really nice. Then I walked over to the bike shop to chat with the guys there, helped a couple of customers and then went back to work. It was a strange day. At the end of the day, about 4:30pm I ate a Cliff Bar to give me an energy boost before my bike racing class. It sure didnt seem to help while riding there. I felt weak and sluggish. And I had a headache. And guess what we were doing in class tonight! We were doing hill climbing all night!
At class they handed out a Cliff bar to everyone, but since I had just eaten one about an hour before, I decided to hold on to it for later. After about a half hour into our training we had a break and I ate the Cliff Bar. That seemed to help. Another thing that helped was pushing past my tired, weak feeling and exerting myself. I dont know what to call this phenomenon, but Ive experienced it a few times before. After really heavy exertion and breathing, my blood must be flowing better, and the tired, weak feeling in my muscles goes away.
Of course I think this boost in energy is also tied to having enough fuel. On previous occasions that I knew I was going to have a heavy workout, I ate more food, more frequently. During tonights hill-climbing adventures, I actually felt more motivated than I did all day and the tiredness was gone. On the ride home after class I went up a couple of big hills and I felt great. Now Im tired again so Im off to bed. Its been a long day.
Tomorrow Im going to try to motivate myself into doing a short run, then on Wednesday Im riding in the Time Trial in St. Paul. I cant wait. Its 4.5 miles and Im going to try to improve my time from the last Time Trial I did.

Sleep + Fuel + physical exertion = motivation

Posted by carl1236 at 10:01 PM | motivation

Category "motivation"

May 23, 2005

Is it lack of motivation?

Is it lack of motivation or lack of energy that makes me feel lazy about my bike racing training? I'm finding out that I need a high level of energy to work out like this. Energy comes from proper nutrition and adequate rest. Tonight for instance I didn't feel like going to bike racing class. I did fine during class but after class riding home I just had no motivation or energy. Actually I think my lack of energy caused my lack of motivation. I ended up riding 37 miles tonight, but the last 7 miles to my house were really slow. I then realized that I didn't get enough sleep last night and I did not eat any fruit today or have any snacks or food after lunch and before my ride. Can we reverse that and say that adequate sleep and proper nutrition cause motivation? It sure helps create a positive attitude.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:44 PM | motivation

Category "motivation"

April 26, 2005

Motivation eclipse

I have been seeing in the cycling/running/fitness world the feeling of inadequacy some people feel when around someone who is motivated. It could be a feeling of intimidation or a fear of being seen as somehow less. There are many opportunities to feel this way when doing group events or even on runs or biking with friends. I have let this fear pop up in myself, recognized it for what it is and then let it go.
The truth is that every person is at a different point in their fitness for any given activity and in life. Its natural, tempting and easy to start comparing ourselves with others. After all, we are all models for each other. But how we use that comparison is sometimes unnatural. Its not good if we use it to self-deprecate ourselves. We can have wonderful results when we can compare ourselves with others to better ourselves or improve our methods, but when those comparisons are not serving that purpose its kind of counter-productive. Ive seen people on bike rides that just give up when someone zips by them effortlessly. Or after years and years of training a person sees a newcomer exceed their best efforts and loses their ambition to keep working at it. Ive even felt a sense of futility in the lead-up to the start of my bike-racing season. Monday I start the St. Paul Bike Racing Club Beginning Racing Program (BRP). Ive ridden with so many incredibly strong riders now that could leave me in their dust. I remember thinking, Whats the point? I could never hope to win a race if there are people like that racing. Especially when Im going all out on a training ride and they make it look easy, pulling ahead and riding off into the horizon until I cant see them anymore. Its easy to feel like the huge effort is really pointless. It happened to me when I first rode with Kevin and Mike. Their pace was really fast and I had a lot of trouble keeping up. I felt like I was improving over the last year and that I was in pretty good shape coming into this season, but that ride with them made me feel totally inadequate for bike racing. But when we compare ourselves with others who are way above our physical or mental ability in this way, its easy to feel inadequate.
It doesnt have to be that way though. We can use these comparisons to motivate ourselves to push harder, to keep training. There is a difference in attitude. First of all, I remind myself that Im not doing this for them. When I compare my fitness now with my fitness level last year at this time, I realize that Ive come a long way! To me it all depends on MY attitude, not someone elses. I am motivated for my own reasons and Im free to accept myself for who I am. Secondly, I have multiple levels of motivation for doing Bike Racing and Running and even Language Learning. Its not to prove I can do it. Its not to prove Im stronger or better or smarter than someone else. Im following my heart, and the interactions I have with others in these things will reveal even more purpose for me. One of which is to become a mentor with Bolder Options. Thirdly, I believe physical fitness is good for my mental, physical and spiritual well being. Have your own reasons for doing what you are doing. Use your comparisons to improve yourself.
That is one thing I wish for everyone. Be free and do things for your own reasons, dont be intimidated by others to the point where you give up your dreams. Even if you have to work harder than others, your success will depend on your own attitudes and motivation, not someone elses.

Posted by carl1236 at 5:01 PM | motivation

Category "motivation"

March 26, 2005

A beautiful Sunny Day

Today was a beautiful Sunny day, but this morning after all that talk last night, my legs hurt too much and I had a hard time getting going. But tomorrow I'm still a go for anice long bike ride. Now I can see I needed the rest today. My body was telling me.
This is something that seems to confuse a lot of people, knowing what is a real issue and what is just an excuse. If it's just another excuse for not doing something then motivation has a lot to do with it. But I'm glad I listened to my body this morning.
And as far as attitude goes, I won't beat myself up over it. I'm a firm believer in do your best and move forward. Today is another opportunity. Now tomorrow, I'll be riding from St. Paul to Burnsville in the morning, 20 miles. Then after working I'm riding to my sister's house in Hastings, another 30 miles (I think). My bag is packed and I'm ready to go. And tomorrow I might just be able to wear shorts! Do you think? Now I'm off to bed so I won't oversleep and have to drive my car.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:20 PM | motivation

Category "motivation"

March 25, 2005

Im Getting Whiplash

Today I had every intention of running at lunchtime. I had a meeting to go to at a consultants office at 10:00am, which I walked to. It was only about 8 blocks, on the other side of downtown St. Paul and it was a beautiful sunny day for it. By the time the meeting ended and I walked back to my office it was 5 minutes to 12. I still had a little lingering pain in my right inner thigh, but the pain was gone from my left leg totally. I was hungry and talked myself out of running, saying maybe if I feel better tonight Ill run.
So after work I rode my bike (the SUV of Bikes) back home, and then stood there talking to my wife about work, and about her day, then I had to decide what to do about running. I plan on riding my bike to work and back tomorrow, which is 40 miles round-trip, so I knew I wouldnt feel like running tomorrow night. Then on Sunday we are going to my sisters house right after I get done with work to eat dinner and hang out with my parents and siblings. We probably wont get home until later and Ill be full from dinner, so I wont feel like running then. That would make it so my next run would have to come on Monday, meaning a five-day gap in my running. I didnt want that long of a gap in my running. I feel like Im just starting to break the barrier between starting to run, and running as a habit and I dont want to give up that momentum and have to start over with running at a later time, climbing up from the bottom. My intentions are to keep running all through the year. At the end of April Im doing a duathlon and in August a Triathlon so I have to be prepared for it or I will suffer, or give up the idea.
Between the thoughts trying to talk myself into running tonight, I had competing thoughts like, Im hungry, and My leg still hurts from that race. I should give it another day to heal. I told myself that I needed to let my muscles recover, which is true, but its been 2 days since I ran, that should be enough. I also dont want to get a running injury that will take too long to heal and ruin my bike-racing season, which has not even started yet. At the end of next month all the action starts for me. Ive heard of people having to sit out a season because of injuries. But when I ran on Wednesday, it only hurt for the first mile, and now the pain in my left leg was completely gone and the pain in my right leg is less than it was on Tuesday.
So there I was in the kitchen talking to my wife and I must have been thinking all of this out loud, because she said, Im getting whiplash listening to you go back and forth! We laughed. I know sometimes its very difficult to motivate myself. Sometimes no amount of self-talk can change my motivation level. I use logic to help me, I use fear of losing something to help me, I use rewards like, you can eat a lot of good stuff when you get back home! hehe. Most of the time I can make myself do something if I have enough time to talk myself into it.
But at lunchtime today, I got back to work 5 minutes before 12 and I felt like the lunch hour was already started and that by the time I got down to the locker room, changed clothes and got out there it would mean getting back to work late. I felt pressured for time, which was just another nail in my motivations coffin.
So tonight I pulled out a map and tried to figure out a 5-mile route from my house. I have only run short distances from my house before and I know a couple of mile and two-mile loops that are fun, but I was having a hard time judging how far 5 miles would be and which route would be good so I dont have to run over the same road twice. I like loops and dont like backtracking. Its more interesting that way and prevents me from turning around too soon.
Once I had the route planned I was psyched enough to run. I put on my clothes and headed out the door. It only took 4 blocks before the pain in my legs totally disappeared. I had a good steady run, not too strenuous but hard enough where I was breathing at a moderate to heavy rate. I was in a groove and the route was absolutely beautiful and challenging. Now I have a good 5-mile route to run from my house and I did not have to have more than a two-day gap in my running. I ran that 8k (5-mile) race on Sunday, ran 5.5 miles at lunch on Wednesday and 5 miles tonight. It feels good!
What motivates human beings to do anything? Its very fascinating to me and I know these sports are a good experiment to help me gain insight into this area of thought because they provide so many opportunities to need motivation.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:40 PM | motivation

Category "motivation"

March 14, 2005

Exertion and Motivation

Heavy physical exertion can lead to a lack of motivation. I've been finding when I work out really hard, I don't have much energy left to do or think about anything. I just want to veg out in front of the TV or pick up a book and be alone for a while. I certainly don't feel like studying, doing work or working on projects. I just want to rest, which my body needs.
I think physically demanding jobs would have the same effect. I don't have one of those jobs but I add in my own physical exertion each day. The exercise usually is very stimulating during the day but by the time I get home, my energy level is down and so is my motivation. I don't mind giving myself the rest though, because I know I need it to get stronger. My brain also needs it.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:37 PM | motivation

Category "motivation"

March 9, 2005

Testing our way to a goal

Often along the way to our goals we have to test ourselves to be able to tell what we are capable of and to reassure ourselves that we are really on the right track. In preparation for the Lake Johanna 4-mile race on Saturday morning, I wanted to see if I could really run 7:30 miles for four miles. Thats 30 minutes total. The last two times Ive been running, Ive been doing just over 8-minute miles for 5.5 miles. The other day I said I predict that on Saturday Ill run the four miles in 30 minutes. So today at lunch I tested myself.
I ran the same 5.5 mile loop that I have been running except this time I timed myself at the two-mile mark and the 4 mile mark. I ran harder than normal and was really working hard. I think I hit the maximum I was capable of at that moment. My lungs couldnt seem to take in enough air and I was breathing as hard and steady as I could. Somehow the oxygen was getting to my legs and brain because I kept going.
At the two-mile mark, I was at exactly 15 minutes. Then I started on the long upward climb toward the 4-mile mark and I passed it at 31 minutes! That was one minute short of my goal, but I consider it achieved, because at the beginning of the course I had to wait for two stoplights to get out of downtown. So actually I must have had a faster pace for the beginning two miles after I got past those. Then the second two miles are all uphill, so I did well to hang on to that pace. So, on a more level course that doesnt have stoplights, I know Ill be able to run it in 30 minutes. I proved that I could do it.
When we talk about motivation, for anything, even my job, I sometimes have to test myself to make sure I am on the right track and progressing. Even if its just for reassurance that I could do it. When I was doing software training, I almost always went through all of my training material from beginning to end to make sure I didnt have any surprises and to make sure I was prepared. Its a horrible feeling to be teaching and not have an example work the way its supposed to work. Ive had it happen and its no fun. Yes, we can call this preparation, but its also testing ourselves to make sure we can handle it and make sure we are on the right track. While practicing the event, Ive often discovered things I needed to fix before the actual event. I then put in the time to prepare and I knew what to expect. In the case of running on Saturday, up until today I was guessing Id do better during a race than when running by myself, but I had not run that fast yet on my own. It was an educated guess. But now, unless other problems pop up like a physical injury or something, I know I can do it and have confidence. Saturday Ill run hard and make my goal of 30 minutes for the 4 miles.
This is one method Ive used to ace my vocabulary quizes in the past. I would make up mock-quizzes and time myself to fill in the translations from Korean to English and from English to Korean. I would get the feel for doing it quickly and I would know I was ready. I tested myself and had confidence. This is very motivating. And when Im not ready, I know what I need to work on, so focusing on being ready can also be motivating.
Also today I didnt have any motivation problems getting started running like on previous runs because I knew I was testing myself and was focused on doing that. Was it hard? Yes, one of the hardest things I've done, but I didn't lose motivation for it.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:48 PM | motivation

Category "motivation"

March 7, 2005

Rat Tales

Today I ran 5.5 miles again at lunchtime, again at exactly 45 minutes. My new shoes did absorb more schock, especially on the downhill runs. An interesting part of today's run was how cold it was compared to yesterday. It was strange trying to stay warm and keep cool at the same time. I get hot and sweaty when I run, and my head and hands get very warm so I usually end up taking off my hat and gloves after the first mile. But today the wind was so cold and strong, it hurt to run without protection from it.
My motivation today was not sagging before the run. It did drop when that freezing cold burst of air hit me hard. I wanted to quit and go back. Then running up the long hill I thought my lungs would burst and my muscles were burning and felt week. I wanted to quit then.
But I didn't quit. I kept looking at my goal and thinking I have to get better at this. Saturday I have a 4 mile race, which I'm looking forward to. I predict I'll run that with about 7:30 miles, at least that's my target, which I think I can do.
But today about 3/4 of the way through my run I almost stepped on a dead rat that was huge! It was bigger then two of my cats! It must have been uncovered by the big thaw yesterday. When I saw it, I almost stepped on it, but it shocked me so bad, I jumped into the air and let out a yelp. haha, then after I calmed down I looked around to see if anyone had seen me do that. No-one was around though. After seeing that dead rat I didn't have any more motivation problems running back to the office. I think my pace actually increased.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:35 PM | motivation

Category "motivation"

March 4, 2005

Human Motivation and desire

Today I ran the same 5.5-mile loop at lunchtime. This time I ran it in 45 minutes! Thats just over 8-minute miles. I ran three times this week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And I actually felt stronger and recovered quicker after this run than I did the previous two times.
But what motivated me to do it? Today I didnt feel like running at all. I really was wishy-washy and unmotivated to go running. On Monday when I ran I felt like quitting three times but today I felt like quitting before even starting. Part of the problem was that I told myself that I didnt really need to run today. This is after all the most Ive run since beginning to run about 9 weeks ago.
I asked myself, How do I motivate myself to do something I dont have to do? This applies to other areas of my life also, like language learning, playing my trumpet, cycle racing, house cleaning, book editing, blogging, reading, experimenting, volunteering, working, etc. Well, some things a person could argue have to be done, like house cleaning. But even that is a choice and life goes on even in a messy house. I dont have to do it, so sometimes I let it slide. Thats the idea behind this topic. I let it slide because I dont really have to do it and I know it.
But that doesnt mean that I want to let things slide all the time. Some things like cleaning, I dont let slide because I want a clean house. The desire to have a clean house overrides my lack of desire for cleaning. So it seems to me that even in the case of physical training, if I want to motivate myself to do what I dont have to do, I should look at changing my desire. I may want to be in better shape and be able to compete well in bicycle races, but if I know I dont really have to do this, which believe me I am fully aware of, then its easy to let it slide. Just this once wont hurt. I can start again on Saturday or Sunday.
When troubleshooting anything, Ive learned to look for the root causes, and not just treat the symptoms. For instance, the running itself is not the problem. Cycling is not the problem. Once Im out doing that Im loving it. Exerting myself on the hills is not the problem, because I really get into exerting myself and pushing myself beyond my known limits. The problem lies in my desire to do it. Do I really want to do it or not? So to solve this problem, I have to look at my desire to run, be fit, improve, get stronger, get faster, etc. If I really want to do those things I will do them. If Im not doing something I think I want to do, then I have to ask myself why I dont want to do this. I didnt want to run at lunch today because I was being lazy, and because I forgot my overall goals and how important continuous training is for those goals. In order for me to get stronger and in better shape, I have to exercise regularly and not let it slide. Continuing this troubleshooting process I realized that I had to remind myself what my goals were in order to keep things like my fitness from becoming a lower priority than doing nothing. In fact, I can flip that around and ask myself, What kind of a priority am I placing on sitting at my desk vs. going out and running? and Why is that a higher priority than running?
Do I still want to improve my fitness level? Yes.
Do I still want to get faster? Yes.
Do I want to continue running all year to prepare for that triathlon in August? Yes.
Do I want to be stronger and faster in cycling? Yes.
Do I want a well-balanced fitness approach that combines multiple forms of exercise that target different muscles? Yes.
There are some other reasons or higher motivations I didnt list here, but I also said, YES to those.
I thought, Man, If I want all these things, then why am I sitting here on my butt? So I went out and ran and it felt great! I even pushed myself a little harder to make it in 45 minutes.

I guess you could call this self-talk, but its also troubleshooting. There was a problem, and it was not with the running itself, it was with my desire to do it and the priority I made it because of that desire. So to solve the problem, I had to change my desire. I did this by reminding myself of my overall goals. Again, seeing the bigger picture and putting this one task in that light helps me change my desire to do it. I also looked at what the alternative to running was doing for me and asked why that alternative should have a higher priority than running. Sitting at my desk during lunch today was not what I wanted when I wanted all those other things.

Posted by carl1236 at 5:04 PM | motivation

Category "motivation"

February 4, 2005

I did it!

I figured out how to type in Korean in my blog. I'm assuming other languages with special characters will work the same way. I haven't tried Russian yet, but I am predicting it will be easy to do. So, here it is:

안녕하세요? 야,놀랍다!

If you cannot see Korean characters in the phrase above, you need to select a korean font in your browser. In my browser it works fine. I can read it. Now I can blog in multiple languages! look out!

I spent so much time figuring this out and replying to a comment someone left on yesterday's entry, that I have no time to write more. Tomorrow morning I'm running my first 5k race in downtown St. Paul and need to get some sleep. See my comment on yesterday's post for my answer to "What is your motivation to study Korean?"

Posted by carl1236 at 11:59 PM | motivation

Category "Cycle Racing"

Category "motivation"

January 16, 2005

Motivation when discipline is lacking

At times we all lack the discipline to do things we know we should be doing or that weve told ourselves we have to do. Maybe its caused by being tired and just needing to relax or maybe we are in too much of a hurry with a busy schedule and we put it off for later. Often later comes and our task is still undone but we find another reason not to do it. Sometimes our lack of motivation is laziness or its fear of doing whatever it is. Regardless of the cause for our lack of motivation, if we really want to do this, we have to somehow find a way to make ourselves do it.
For me tonight it was exercising. Im on week two of my new exercise plan for bike racing. Its tough. Tonight I didnt want to go out running, or exercise. I just spent all day working and all I wanted to do was lie on the couch and vegetate. It wasnt that I was physically tired; I was just emotionally and mentally drained and not motivated to work myself.
First of all, I didnt give in to my desire to do nothing. But I still wasnt motivated to do it. Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, Arctic and Antartic explorer and expedition leader said when asked how he keeps going when his body says no more, Its a question of mentally trying to shut your wimpish voice up whenever it surfaces, which was quite a lot of the time. I think the more we dwell on a resistive thought the stronger it gets. I was feeling hungry, so I decided to have a light snack, thinking it might generate a little energy change. But I didnt want to eat too much in case I could get myself to exercise. Its not fun getting stomach cramps.
Then I decided to change into my exercise clothes. Even if I wasnt going to exercise, I wanted to take that first step and see if that would motivate me. I was still not motivated to actually do it. Then I put my running shoes on and did some stretches. I still was not committed to doing it. But then I put my running coat, hat, gloves, etc. on and I was committed. I went out and started running. I picked a different route tonight so I wouldnt be facing the same routine.
As I was running I was also concentrating on watching my step, because there were a lot of slippery spots on the sidewalks and roads in our neighborhood. I ended up running a big loop back to my house that was twice my normal running distance and I felt much more motivated. When I got in the house I then continued to exercise with the other parts of my exercise plan. I had a great workout and really feel like my muscles got a good workout. At least in this case I could talk myself into being motivated by taking one step at a time in that direction and one thing led to another. By the time my heart and breathing were really going I was motivated to continue. Then I finished the workout, ate a real dinner then took a little nap. After the nap I meditated. It was awesome.
Ive used this technique with schoolwork also. Sometimes I just begin it without committing to doing it. Once I get started with each step one thing leads to another. For instance, Ill tell myself that I want to just look over the notes from class. Then since my homework is listed in the notes, I tell myself Ill just look at the homework to see what kind of questions and examples are in there. Then one thing leads to another and Im done with it. Sometimes its easier to find the motivation to finish something weve started than to muster the strength to begin and do the whole thing. It builds up in our minds as an insurmountable task and a burden. But once we are involved in it, its kind of hard to argue with ourselves about doing it or not doing it.
See The Motivation List
for other ideas. Feel free to add to my list.
What I did today for motivating myself to exercise partially answers this question: How do we find motivation when we don't have any?
, which gave birth to my motivation list.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:54 PM | Cycle Racing | motivation

Category "motivation"

December 15, 2004

Skipping a Day

Well, it did happen finally. I skipped a day of blogging. I apologize to anyone who came here expecting a daily entry. Well, I intended on blogging and was sitting at my computer working, but 11:00 rolled into 12:00 which turned into 2:00am and my day was gone. I had to sleep so I could function today. That doesn't mean I had no spirit to share. It means that Finals are catching up to me and I had to work. Tomorrow is my final exam in Korean, which will be challenging I think. But it's all good, and I'll be done with the semester!
I skipped a day, but it was necessary. Sometimes I have to let go of some things in order to do something else. Isn't everything we do in life tied to some priority? Higher priority things get done first. It seems that if we are not doing it (like studying for finals), then it's not a high enough priority to us.
I was asked last night how we MAKE something a higher priority. "Just do it," is not a good enough answer. Many people cannot just make them selves do something they are not motivated to do. The question I think boils down to, "how do I generate the willpower and motivation when there is none?"
That's a complicated question that each of us has to answer ourselves. It can be a complex answer or an easy answer. One of the first steps in this process of finding motivation is to accept ourselves. That also helps us see what our priorities are.
I work hard and am motivated but I don't go around beating myself up over anything. If I fail at something I try to correct the problem, make ammends, change from the experience, but I don't drag myself into the mud.
I skipped a day of blogging, but I was working on something important to me. To me it's crunch time for this class, and I was helping a friend edit her paper that has to be turned in on Thursday. That was worth the time I spent on the computer last night! So my priority was on schoolwork and then on helping my friend. Then it was sleep.
Tomorrow's my final so I'll blog after that. If you have final exams this week, good luck! My thoughts are definately with you while try to remember that vocab word that got away!

Posted by carl1236 at 1:50 PM | motivation

Category "motivation"

October 24, 2004

building excitement

Today was a really nice day. It started off a little rough because I was up too late last night. This morning I overslept and had to get ready for work in 15 minutes. Then I rushed off to start my day. I stopped by the coffee shop and the baker, Marlene was just pulling the muffins out of the oven. I got a tea to go and a fresh, still hot Cranberry-Orange muffin! mmmm.
I noticed a recurring idea cycling through the events of my day today. It had to do with motivation. The idea is basically, Whatever we do, or want to do, getting involved in it, getting going on it, getting started doing it, etc., can build our excitement. At first we dont always want to do something. Like this morning I was dead tired due to lack of enough sleep. But I knew once I got to work it would be ok. So, I dont usually complain anymore about things like that, I just dive in and get going at it, knowing that it wont be so bad once Im involved in it.
At work today I administered medications, cooked breakfast, served it up, helped one of the residents start the dishwasher, did some housecleaning, did some laundry, made lunch, served it up, cleaned it up and turned on the Vikings football game for one of the guys who loves Gophers and Vikings football. He had his Vikings shirt on and kept asking who the Vikings were playing. Then I put more laundry in and sat down for a break. The morning flew by because I was really busy. Several times during the morning I thought about how nice it was to be working here. I love helping these guys and interacting in their lives. Helping them to try to do as many things on their own is really a worthwhile thing. They get a lot out of it, and I provide dignity and self-worth for them. Getting the one guy to put the dish-soap into the dishwasher, close the little detergent door, close and lock the dishwasher and turn the knob to start was a huge step for him. And he LOVES it! Once I get to work I love it! The work itself reminds me why Im there and my enthusiasm rekindles. I know in advance of going that this is how it often works. Getting going on whatever it is can build our excitement and we end up having a great day!
When I finally sat down to take a break I wasnt really in the mood to do my homework. I just wanted to sit and vegetate for a while. But I knew that once I got going on it I would get into it and enjoy it. So I cracked open the book and my notes and started working on the assigned homework. I was just getting the hang of it when I realized that I had to finish the laundry and do my charting before it was time to leave. But even though I really didnt feel like doing my homework, I got into anyway. Once I started it, my enthusiasm was rekindled and I remembered why I love learning languages so much! I didnt get it all done (not even close, haha) but I did get done more than if I would have just vegetated in front of the TV.
I took care of the rest of my responsibilities at work and drove home. It was such a beautiful day out, I was thinking frequently how nice it would feel to go a for a bike ride when I got home. It was only 4:30pm and there was still plenty of daylight. I might have been a little wishy-washy about going for a ride as I started my drive home, but then I saw three cyclists out on the road spinning away and looking like they were intense. I rolled my window down further and felt the moderate air temperature and the sun on my face. By the time I got home, I was convinced. The excitement was building as I got changed. I hit the road and it felt great! I knew it would once I got out there. I had a route in mind as I was getting ready because on the way home from work I passed one of the trails I like riding on and it had fresh asphalt on it. I thought that would be a good adventure. So when I set out on my ride I knew where I was going. As a highlight of my ride I took a mental photograph as I rode through the trail. On this winding trail through a park most of the trees had already dropped their leaves onto the trail, giving it a blanket that softened the ride. The empty branches hung over the still fully-clothed underbrush like a mist hanging over the ground. I saw a lot of people out walking, with friends or family or their dogs. It was a nice sight to see. I ended up riding eleven and a half miles with an average speed of 17.2 miles per hour. And thats good for me, considering the last mile and a half was all up-hill back to my house. It was definitely worth doing!
Tonight after I cleaned up, my wife and I went out to dinner at the recently remodeled/relocated Mai Village Vietnamese Restaurant on University Avenue in St. Paul. I knew she was looking forward to trying it last night, but our plans kind of changed and we ended up eating at a Mexican restaurant because it was closer to where we were. She had recommended going to this Vietnamese restaurant because she drives by it all the time and has been thinking about trying it out for a while. So tonight I wanted to offer that as my choice for dinner because I knew she would love it. I had eaten at this restaurant before they moved, and the food was great. Plus I love Vietnamese food.
However, given my work load and tight schedule, I was already behind for the evening. But I knew that it would be good once I got there, and that my wife would love it. I was great! The decor is amazing. We walked in the front door and saw the traditional Vietnamese woodwork and decorations and then followed the greeter to our table. As we walked into the restaurant area we crossed over a wood bridge on a little pond with a waterfall and gold-fish and coy. The place is huge and very nicely done. Everyone was friendly and the food was great. I recommend the Asparagus-Crab Soup, a specialty of Viet Nam. Also, their egg rolls are very good, with the traditional fish sauce to dip them in.
While we were at the restaurant, a man walked by us that I recognized! It was an old friend that I havent seen in over a year! I couldnt believe it. He stopped and chatted with us for a few minutes and told me about his recent trip to Saigon. He told me what hes been up to lately and I told him Id come to see him again soon to catch up more.
During dinner my wife also helped me with some thought provoking questions for a topic Im researching. She also loved the Mai Village Restaurant and talked about coming back here for her sisters birthday (and mine, since our birthdays are a day apart and we usually do something together with her. yay) So, no matter what else happened, it was definitely worth going out to dinner together in that location.

It always seems like once we do it, its good. We can use that as a motivational tool. Instead of waiting to find out that it works this way once we are involved, we can think ahead and know that it will work that way and look forward to it. We can build our excitement and do it and fully enjoy it.

See the ongoing MOTIVATION LIST. This one is Number 6 on the list. If you have things that motivate you that are not on this list, please let me know. Ill add it.

Now I have to finish my homework! I know it'll be fun once I get started on it and before I know it, It'll be time for bed!

Posted by carl1236 at 10:16 PM | motivation

Category "motivation"

October 3, 2004

Meeting Mr. Racoon

Tonight after work I rode my bike about 20 miles home. About halfway home it was dark. It was a strange sensation riding on a bike trail at night. I've done it many times and my bike is equipped with lights on front and back. As I was riding along I scared a cat who was walking along the bike path. Then about 2 minutes later I came face to face with a racoon crossing the traiil. He froze in the middle of the trail and stared at me.
I pulled on the breaks and came about 10 feet from him. He still did not move. Then I said, "Beep beep, keep moving." Haha, mainly because I did not know what else to say to a racoon in the middle of the trail who was not moving. Then he scurried off the trail into the woods and I went on my way.
This story really is not about the racoon, but about my ride home in the dark. It did make the ride more interesting and reminded me that I was in his territory, in his element riding at night where there was no other traffic but us and a cat.
As the daylight gets shorter and cooler I'm finding less and less time to ride my bike. Unless I dress warmer and put lights on my bike, I would not be able to ride much. My motivation is still to improve my physical health and well-being. So I keep riding until it's no longer fun. I'm thinking that will be around 30 some degrees. But I have good motivation to do it: I care about my health.
Meeting Mr. Racoon was a bonus!

Posted by carl1236 at 9:51 PM | motivation

Category "motivation"

September 8, 2004

Connecting with others, Making Friends

I have updated THE MOTIVATION LIST see the added number 18 follow the link near the bottom of this entry.

Last night in my Korean class we went around the room introducing ourselves in Korean then we had tell everyone what we hope to get out of this course. I found it interesting that a couple of students didnt answer with a standard answer of, to improve my language skills. Instead they said they were there to make new friends. Yeah, in my opinion, thats a great idea since most people Ive met taking Korean are really great people who I wouldnt mind having as friends.
After they gave their answer, the teacher prompted them for more, and the students added, and to improve my language skills. Then there were a few chuckles. This reminded me of the movie, Miss Congeniality where beauty contestants in the competition were obligated to say something about world peace in their speech. When Gracie Lou Freebush (Sandra Bullok) gave her speech she said she wanted harsher punishments for parole violators. Everyone in the room went silent, so she added, And world peace. Then everyone applauded. The original answer wasnt what people expected but its closer to the heart.
Why are we here anyway? What motivates us? For some of my classmates its to meet new friends who share the same interests. Its a great reason! Connecting with other human beings who share our interests can be a great motivator. Its why many people get married. If our motivation is at a low, connecting with other people who share a similar interest can boost our enthusiasm and rekindle our motivation.
I think this is closely related to numbers 16 and 17 in THE MOTIVATION LIST, but meeting friends and friendship I think goes beyond one class and is deeper than self interest because true friendship also has the dimension of giving and of caring about the other person. Making friends is a great motivator for life.

Posted by carl1236 at 7:14 PM | motivation

Category "Attitude"

Category "motivation"

August 25, 2004

More Motivation

I have updated The Motivation List It now has 21 items to help us elevate our enthusiasm! Perfect timing for the start of Fall classes in a couple of weeks. Most of todays entry is about motivation, so you have to click on that link to read the numbers 14 through 21 which I added. I also made changes to numbers 10 and 11. Im enjoying this list so far and have benefited already from the search.
For those of you learning a foreign language, while I was searching on the internet for motivation, ;-) , I found a link to a book on language learning. Download a free copy of Success with Foreign Languages. and it looks pretty interesting. See also my post about How to learn any Language.
Also tonight I went out to eat with my friend Sam, whos in Korean class with me.. We had a good Korean meal at The Mirror of Korea on Snelling Avenue. I tried a Kimchi pancake for the first time! (kimchi-jon) It was very good! The food was good and the company was great! And it was motivating to talk with a classmate about the upcoming class. Thanks Sam! See you in class in a couple of weeks!

Posted by carl1236 at 9:45 PM | Attitude | motivation

Category "motivation"

August 24, 2004

The Motivation List

Here is the ongoing compilation of things that motivate people. I plan on editing this entry and expanding the list with suggestions I find online and from everyones comments.

1. Success can be a motivator. Being successful at something is motivation and encouragement to continue doing it. Even little successes can be motivating. One thing that many people suggest is to break larger obstacles into smaller tasks that we are more likely to have success at. Handling all of the smaller challenges successfully helps us to believe we can actually handle the larger obstacle, one step at a time.
One key with success as a motivator is to find things we can succeed at. Another key is for us to acknowledge our own successes. Too often we discount the steps along the way to a larger goal and feel like we are not making any progress and become demoralized. We lose hope and give up. We have to acknowledge, accept and be happy about the small successes we have along the way.

2. Prominent reminders of our goals can be motivating. I put the word Daily in the title of my blog to remind me that I should write daily. thats part of my goal. Its a prominent reminder of what Im trying to do. Its motivating to know that Im working on my goal daily.
When I was learning Russian, I put words all over my house on objects so I could learn them. These words were a prominent reminder of my goal to learn Russian. I could not avoid them. It motivated me to keep working on it because I was reminded of my overall goal every day, everywhere I turned. Some of these words still call to me to practice more. Its good to frequently remember why we are doing something so we dont forget and lapse for a long period of time and become discouraged and quit. Prominent reminders help motivate us to keep going.

3. Give yourself Time. In our society we often short change ourselves on time. Its easy to lose our motivation when we have no time. Cut back on some things and focus on one thing at a time. The workshop on motivation at lists this as an important first step in finding your lost motivation. This other site suggests that Taking a break can rejuvenate our motivation when we return to the task at hand:

4. Making it relevant. When things are relevant to our dreams and goals we are more likely to be motivated about them. I can spend hours and hours doing something I know fits into my plans sometimes its difficult to find relevance in things we hate doing or think is a waste of time. But finding a purpose and relevance in whatever it is we are doing is motivating for us to do it.

5. Work the whole you. Another suggestion from the workshop on motivation at This is one reason why I started exercising. I felt it was better for my mental health if I was in better shape.

6. Focus on Goals. Start small. Smaller steps can often motivate us to take larger steps. This is the idea that once we begin it, we are more likely to continue it.

7. Make it a priority. This is one thing that has helped me with writing. Since writing daily is part of the process toward achieving my goals, and I realized how much time it was taking, I had to make it a priority in my life. This also helped me to be motivated about cycling. I made time for it and I made it a priority.

8. Feel good about yourself.

9. Take care of your health. This is related to working the whole you.

10. Visualization
Keep our mental picture in focus and visible. Rebuild your vision. Revisit the place your heart was at in the beginning when you had it.

11. Change your routine. Sometimes we get stuck in a rut.
Incorporate variety. Change things up so we are not bored.

12. Reward yourself.

13. Reconnect the action with pleasure rather than pain. Have fun. This is one of the ingredients to learning a foreign language too. If its drudgery its not very motivating and we are more likely to fail at it.

14. Focus on yourself. Dont worry what others are doing. Think, What can I do right now? Too often we worry about others so much we lock up.

15. Use Inspirational Music. This is not just for dance! I use classical and other music that lifts my soul up while biking. Its amazing how fast the time flies and how it enhances my motivation.

16. Practice in a group. Again this is not just for dance. Groups can help our motivation because others often share in the same troubles we have. We can learn from each other, stimulate and help each other.

17. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people.

18. Make a friend. Being friends can give us and our friends a great gift in life. Connecting with others who share our interests and feel affection for us and who we feel affection for is a way to share in lifes ups and downs. It is a way of facing life together, and not being alone. Being alone in life can drag us down. I think human beings need close connections with other human beings.

19. Be serious, use determination to elevate our motivation. Half hearted attempts and excuses only drag us down more.

20. Pray about it. Ask for help. I like the Alcoholics Anonymous approach that we cannot do it alone. It is bigger than us.

21. Find the optimal challenges that are not too boring but not too difficult.

22. Incorporate it into our day and our habits. Like commuting to and from work on bicycle. I am not only exercising but Im combining it with commuting. Walk to the store instead of driving. Maybe if we are not motivated by one, we will be by the other.

23. Similar to "Making it Relevant" this one is about making LIFE Relevant. I discovered that to truly live a fulfilled life and be happy we have to have a source of joy and strength in us. This is the source of our life. It carries us through tough times and helps us more fully experience the good times. Developing and Cultivating a spiritual process of living is motivating by default. It gives us purpose and meaning and joy in life.

Ok, more to come as I find more to add to the list. If you have a favorite way to help yourself get motivated, please post it. Ill add it.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:20 PM | motivation

Category "Attitude"

Category "motivation"

August 23, 2004

How do we find motivation when we don't have any?

How do we find motivation when we dont have any? Thats a question that a friend asked me today. I didnt have a good answer right away. I had to think about how I motivate myself to do things, especially when I dont want to do them. Sometimes I just make myself do them. Then my friend asked, how do you make yourself do something you dont want to do? Again I had to think about it. I dont know, I just do it, was my first reaction. And my second reaction was, Sometimes I dont motivate myself. But I offered the best advice I could at the time.
Ill give one example of a way that I motivate myself, then Ive listed the start of my internet search for motivation for you to see what others think. My example is in the name of my blog: The DAILY Spirit-Human. I put the word DAILY in the title intentionally. This motivates me to not miss a single day. Sometimes I post at 11:59pm and Im fighting my slow computer to get it here. The title itself forces a schedule on me, which I wanted, to help me be creative every day. A lot of my blog posts take a lot of thought, so it can be a major commitment. I had to make it a high priority in my life. So for me one thing that can motivate me is a desire to succeed at whatever my goals are. Im now at 116 days and counting...yay! Ok, I guess a second thing that motivates me is success at something.
Now here are some links. My plan is to put together a composite list of ideas to motivate ourselves. What works for some people may not work for others, but this is a good place to start:

Finding Motivation workshop:

Finding Motivation article by Chris Widener:

Finding motivation for dance practice:

Daily Affirmations article on Motivation:

A Christian article on finding your motivation by going back to what motivated you in the first place:

Motivation for the Language Learner:

Exercise motivation tips:

Also, please feel free to post a comment on this blog entry on what motivates you. Ill add it to the Motivation List. Im adding a category to this blog also, MOTIVATION, to enable searches later for all entries related to motivation. I feel this is one area that adds to the quality of our lives. Without motivation our worlds can look pretty gray.

Posted by carl1236 at 8:51 PM | Attitude | motivation