Don’t Get Motivated – Just Show Up

Yesterday I implored you to just show up. Make a schedule and stick to it. Don’t wait for inspiration, don’t wait for motivation, get out of bed, get up from your chair, get off the couch and show up.

Now, I didn’t say, “Get to the gym.” I said, “Show up.” Does showing up mean you have to go to the gym? No.

I have friends who absolutely hate the gym and a membership would be wasted on them. They wouldn’t show up, but they own spin bikes, so instead of going to the gym after work they go to the basement. They show up.

I worked with a guy who was always the first one in so he could shower before work(yes, we had a shower at the office). You see, he lived 20 miles away and not only did he not have a car, he didn’t even have a driver’s license. He biked to work every day, all year, rain, snow or shine. He showed up.

Today I work with yet another guy who does 30 minutes on the elliptical, every morning. He . Shows. Up.

That right there is most of it. 90% of success in life is just showing up. The rest, well…

A funny thing happened last spring; I found myself burning out. I’d put a lot of years into my yoga practice, and for the first time I just wasn’t feeling it. Going to the club had become a chore, and when I was there, it was no fun. I needed a break, so I took the summer off yoga.

Wait, wut?

After all this time singing the praises of regular exercise. After beseeching you all to show up, I’m confessing to quitting? To not showing up?

Oh hell no.

When I wrote about destressing, one of the stress relieving activities I did not mention was hobbies. Taking a break from life to pursue an otherwise meaningless activity is a great way to decompress. One of my hobbies is fishing, and every summer I try to get away for an afternoon to rent a kayak and float down the river. It’s peaceful and quiet, and you get to spots inaccessible on foot.

So, last summer I took my yoga burnout, my love of fishing, solitude and kayaking, and blended them. I bought a kayak, and three or four days a week, instead of yoga, I went paddling. Even on the days I took a fishing stick I made sure to get in a good hard paddle. In short, yes, I showed up. Even without my yoga or Pilates classes, I showed up.

I say that motivation is overrated, and waiting for inspiration is a fool’s game. I stand by that. When yoga was a chore, I still went, until I had something to replace it. I also say you won’t stick to an exercise you don’t enjoy. Well, it turns out that there can even be a limit to how much you can do of an activity you love.

Yoga has given me so much; pysically, mentally, spiritually, that I can’t imagine giving it up so finding myself burning out I pushed myself into a new area. I took the summer off and when summer was over, I put the kayak in storage, stoked to get back into my yoga practice. Now here I am, jabbering on about it to all and sundry.

Funny thing? Here it is, March 11. The ground is covered in ice and snow. It’s freezing out. It’s snowing outside my window right now. But spring is around the corner and I find myself already daydreaming about getting out for a paddle. Taking the summer off yoga didn’t just reinvigorate my desire to do yoga, it gave me a new exercise to explore and enjoy.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. It’s less about what you do, and more about that you do it. Find yourself tiring of one form of exercise? Find another. Mix it up. Don’t burn out.

And. Just. Show. Up.

Cross posted at