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Motivation - Part 1

This post is about motivation - what has motivated me in the last few years to conquer my most dreaded activity, running, and keep pushing myself as I train for my first half-marathon. I hope that perhaps my story will help you discover what motivates you to accomplish your own wellness goals.

By Dasha Nesterova
AMSA Wellness and Student Life Action Committee


In the winter of 2010, on Christmas Day, I was away with my family on vacation when my father got into a skiing accident. After hitting a snow bank way too fast and catapulting himself in the air, he had landed awkwardly, crushing his femur into his tibia, compressing close to 10 centimeters of the tibia. Subsequently, such an injury required surgery and months of recovery time with physical therapists, much of which I witnessed firsthand.

It was jarring to me, to see how my own dad, the strongest man I knew, barely make it around on crutches, let alone attempt to walk. During the first physical therapy session after the surgery, he started out on a stationary bike to warm up. It was incredibly difficult for me to watch him grimace from the pain he endured during those hour long sessions. Watching him and others at the clinic struggle with even the most seemingly “normal” movements was at times unsettling. It was in that clinic that I learned an appreciation for what the human body accomplishes every single day. I began to notice the beauty of movement, from daily actions to the extraordinary feats of athletes and dancers. I had decided then, that very first morning my father winced through his physical therapy appointment, that I would no longer take such things for granted. I had become determined that I would have a more active lifestyle.

One of my goals was to become a runner, the type of person that sports brightly colored tennis shoes and couldn’t wait to do her daily run. Never mind that I actually hated running and only pursued sports in high school that minimized your need to run (volleyball!). Until then, I couldn’t even continuously jog an entire mile without having to stop and almost pass out on the track. “Don’t mind me; I’ll just be hyperventilating by these bushes.” Yet, I had set that goal and I was just stubborn enough to try to accomplish it.

And nothing about that decision was easy. It has been almost 3 years since that day and through an almost exhausting series of trial and error, I have learned some things that have worked for me and some that don’t. Thinking about my father’s recovery only did so much. I had to figure out weekly routines and rewards systems that could keep me going every single day.

If you have a wellness goal that you hope to accomplish, take time to really think about what types of things motivate you! Understanding why you do the things you do can help you integrate new habits in your life, slowly but surely. By incorporating even just one minor motivating factor into your routines could help prime you to have a healthier life.

3 years ago I couldn’t run a single mile. Last week I ran seven. By November, I plan on running my first half marathon and a full marathon by next summer. I am thrilled by what I can already do but acknowledge that there are many more miles and days of training to go.

In my next post, I will be going into more details about what I use each day to motivate me and hopefully help give you some new ideas on what you can do.

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