fitness expert answers with The Chalkboard Mag's Katie Horwitch
8.11.12

We’re sharing TCM staff member Katie Horwitch’s motivating advice in response to a few heartfelt reader questions. We love to hear from our readers and are always impressed to find such thoughtful responses from our growing community. This is especially true of pieces such as those in the  ‘Breaking Out…’ series which delve deeper into matters of the heart. We hope you enjoy this snapshot of TCM community through Katie’s responses to a few reader inquires.

Q: “Hi Katie, I came across your articles via Pinterest and can definitely relate to many of them! My question for you would be, What if you don’t know what you want?? My life is filled with more “maybe so’s” and less “yes or no’s”. Case in point my JOB, my parents are proud, and I think I’m doing pretty good for myself, so tell me why the other part of me is bored, and wants to take on a “not so reliable” life style and wing it!!?”

– Christina on Breaking Out Of Self Sabotage

KH: Hi Christina! Hm…I think we all find ourselves in this place at one point or another. Actually — I know we all find ourselves in this place at one point or another.

It is perfectly OK to not be clear on what you want. I think we so often feel this pressure to justify or compartmentalize our lives in a way that is acceptable and understandable to others, when in reality we are so much more complex than a single noun. One idea is that you could start to explore your Through Line – what you hope to accomplish through whatever you do. Start to notice the little things that fulfill you. Not necessarily the tasks themselves, but the meaning behind those tasks.  Not so much the What, but the Why.  Do you feel happiest when you are opening up communication lines? Or when you’re making someone laugh? A painter does not paint because he has a thing for canvas; a painter paints because he looks at a canvas and sees malleable possibility.

Another idea, which is a little more scary, is this: things have become easy.

When we get bored and irritable, even though all the pieces fit together, it is a red flag that maybe we have grown beyond what we are currently doing. You might be living as an outdated version of yourself, or simply have gotten stuck in a situation that you took on because, “why not?”   Two options here in regards to work (or anything else, really): one, you stay in your job and start to explore how to challenge yourself within it, or how the whole through-line concept comes into play.  Making time for outside activities, finding new nuances within the job that you could hone in on.  Two….you begin to explore different things. I’m not saying get up and give your two-weeks on Monday, but if the question “What would I do if there were no prerequisites and no limits” has you drawing a blank, then I think that is a sign you have some exploring to do.

I’m a recovering people-pleaser, so I totally know what it is like to feel like something is ok because my family or peers smile upon it favorably. But the bottom line is….they are not the ones in your body, in your mind. If you are doing something you LOVE, something that excites you, that excitement will be infectious. We just have this one lifetime in this one body. We have no reason not to test our limits, not to find our edge and just jump over it. It’s scary and you might not know if there will be a net to catch you, or if you’ll make it to the other side – but it is SO much more worthwhile than staying in a place of boredom or “maybes.”

Thank you so much for your honesty both with me and with yourself – keep me posted!  You’re gonna have a breakthrough soon, I can feel it.

From our reader Alexandra, on Spinspiration: Say No Or Say Yes: “It is always better to make a decision than to procrastinate. life is full of tough decisions, we just have to make that call one way or the other. 99% of the time it’s the right choice. and the other 1%, well that’s where we learn.”

Q: “Just thought you should know that you are crazy amazing!!! I wish I could be as motivated as you. So I have a question maybe you wouldn’t mind helping me with. I have always wanted to start running but I can honestly only run a mile and run out of gas. I can do it as many times a week as I want but as soon as a mile hits my legs (and lungs) give up. Any tips to build up distance?  Thanks for any help!  You rock!” –Milo on Not Your Mama’s Workout: Squats

KH: Milo!  First off – LOVE your name. And thank you for the generous words – I am only human and go through ebbs and flows of motivation, but making a vow to myself to always be moving forward helps tremendously!

As far as your question: I was in the EXACT same position as you for the majority of my life. I could bang out shorter distances (or durations of time) like nobody’s business, but then I’d literally feel too winded to go on. I remember when I hit 11 whole minutes of running; I felt unstoppable!  I started to focus on how long I could go instead of how far I could go. I also gave myself permission to slow waaaaay down whenever I wanted. Whether I did or not wasnt really important, (ps. I did!) it was knowing that I could that helped so much. I just kept telling myself – just keep going. No matter what you do, just keep going. Try running on a treadmill instead of outside if you have access to one – I find it a bit easier than outdoors, plus you don’t have to worry about running into someone or tripping over rocks or anything!  It’s just you.  Running.

Definitely get some killer tunes – and make a promise to yourself that you will not listen to them until you’re on your run. The distraction works wonders. Aim to run 3xs a week. Anything less is not consistent enough, anything more might seem like a chore. Pace yourself – don’t just try to run as fast as you can; the speed will come later – and when you feel that feeling in your legs and lungs, tell yourself you can slow down as long as you keep going. It will happen slowly, but you’ll soon be bangin’ out 5K like nobody’s business.

Running is amazing and I’m thrilled you’re interested in getting more of it into your life. Many days, it’s like my yoga.

You might also want to take Alisha’s advice, which she left on Hit The Pavement: “Speaking of running, I just read Haruki Murakami’s book What I Talk About When I Talk About Running and it really got me in the mood for a nice long run. I absorb all the inspiration I can get.”

Thank you for your comments, questions and pearls of wisdom -  we may feature your thoughts next in our TCM Q & A’s!

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