It’s January, that time of year when you look back at the previous year and reflect. As I do this, I feel so lucky. Last year was a great year! Why, because I was happy. Why was I so happy, you ask? I’ve spent a little time to reflect on this question, and here’s the epiphanies I’ve discovered:
Exercise = Happiness.
Really, it’s that simple. At the end of every activity that I do, I’m so happy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m just like everyone else… before I exercise, it is easy to forget how happy I’ll be when I’m done. I often want to skip it. There are so many logical reasons that can justify skipping a workout: bad weather (or any weather that isn’t “perfect”), being tired, being hungry, not having time, etc. However, if I can get myself to go exercise, I’m always happier. And it isn’t that “I just think this” either. A few weeks ago my wife mentioned to me, “I think you need to exercise.” I chuckled and thought, she’s right. Then I thought, wait… why is telling me to exercise?? So I asked, and she said, “You’re happier when you exercise, it’s easy to see.” So true.
This isn’t just true for me either, I’ve yet to meet a person that wasn’t happier after exercising. It just makes you feel better about your whole life. Even the simplest of exercises can give you a sense of satisfaction. And ironically, it helps motivate you to want and exercise more often. It’s a bit contagious.
Surround yourself with motivators.
I’m so thankful for the people I have in my life. I’m surrounded by so many amazing athletes that it can be intimidating at times. But over the years I’ve learned that even if I don’t think I can keep up, try anyway. Even if the people are beyond your level of fitness, try anyway. What you find is that people aren’t upset that you’re slow… they admire your passion to try anyway. The more you spend around these people, the more inspired you are to do more yourself.
Become a motivator.
It isn’t like you make a decision to be a motivator. But if you surround yourself with people that will push you to be better… you become better. And after enough time goes by, you begin to push them too. Without even knowing it, you’ve become a motivator and you and the people you’ve surrounded yourself with will motivate each other.
Last year I was able to check off a “bucket-list item” -I became an Ironman. It was everything I expected and a lot more. I pushed myself harder than ever before. Injuries seemed to always be just around the corner and I was more in-tune with my body than any other time in my life. I learned a lot about healthy pain and unhealthy pain. When to push it and when to take rests. I finally learned how to pace myself (sort of). I learned a lot about nutrition. I learned a lot about fitting a bike, biking with aero-bars, and the importance of hydrating. I didn’t journal about my ironman experience, but luckily my friend who completed the Ironman with me did journal about the experience (so check out Pete's Ironman experience, if you’re curious).
Reflecting back on my experience makes me so thankful. Fellow teammates helped push me and motivate me, so that I had the confidence to attempt an Ironman. My family and friends supported me throughout the year and even came and cheered me on, the day of the competition.
The Ironman was a big deal for me. It truly was a “bucket list” item for me. However, the point of my post was not meant to be about the Ironman. It’s about the secret that exercise makes you happy and when you surround yourself with healthy, happy people… you’re bound to get inspired, motivated, and become even happier.
Needless to say, I’m pretty excited about 2015! I hope to meet even more active people and go for even more rides, hikes, runs and swims. It’s going to be fun…and I’m going to be happy.