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Jan Talks Motivation

Posted on Thursday, May 11, 2017 by Jan Guenther
Jan Guenther's thoughts on
from the perspective of a 50-something woman athlete with tender knees.
What to do? How do I train for next year’s skiing when most of THIS PAST winter did not happen?
And of course, I add to my mish-mash of thoughts concerning every emotion that surrounds training, “Why even bother trying to improve skill or fitness level at all? Every piece of me is just becoming creaky! “
Answers to questions like these are all personal. My motivation and ways in which I will train this year reflect how and what thinking I feed into my mind. As we all know, positive, supportive thoughts make for a happier, more energetic person. Yet perpetuating forward-thinking thoughts need to be habit forming and is a little like maintaining fitness. Looking at the proverbial glass half full takes desire supported by discipline!
At risk of sounding like a yogi (which I am not) – my reasons to train are based on gratitude and appreciation for what I know training does for me. Gratitude that I still can train; my mind and my body can move well enough to experience a mix of pole hiking, trail running, cycling, swimming, strength training, xc skiing and paddling activities within a year. The appreciation is that I find happiness and a simple way to release my anxieties and work ‘up-tightness’ (a word?) thru exercise. How lucky am I to have such a low cost and healthy solution to fun at my fingertips? (As compared to therapy, retail or otherwise)
Of course, most of us are familiar with this basic message, right? Healthy thoughts + healthy food = healthy mindset. Nothing unique. But my personal ‘carry way’  which might illicit interesting feedback from you readers, is the need to add desire + discipline into the left side of the equation. Without those double D’s, thoughts flit in and out of our minds (or at least MY mind, like cottonwood seeds.  
As I observe and absorb the training my military son faces to get onto the Special Forces, the focus is all about controlling the mind. Most everyone in his military class continues to meet the minimum physical standards, so how these students THINK will determine whether they will succeed. Their training rewards those who reject thoughts of fear and discouragement and welcomes the mind which motivates, disciplines and focuses energy on The Goal.  In our civilian Birke training quest, it is ‘Story’ that each of us mentally designs, which will either invite a fulfilling outcome or create mind obstacles waste precious energy. If we hold a negative ‘Story’ with beliefs about being too fat, with legs too jiggly for Lycra, with work that makes us too exhausted, kids who guilt us…how can WE possibly succeed?  But if you identify the desire within you to succeed. If work --hourly, daily, weekly-- on turning the mind around and disciplining it to foster only encouraging, inquisitive, positive thoughts requires constant diligence! (Just like plucking those errant chin hairs that pop up with age)  
There is nothing so important as the years go by, I think, then working on a positive mindset- every day and every hour and every minute. This does not mean throwing a plastic smile on our faces and commenting how we can see the good in rain during the months of December, January and February, but it does mean mentally selecting another thought that will elicit some positive change. In my case, I can and often focus on the difficulties of retail in an Amazon world and a ski business in a Warmer than Average Winter World. But what good does that do me? If I can see opportunity within all that challenges me such as an opportunity to stretch my mind to create a more effective sales avenue for business, or a more enjoyable way to train for the Birke, I WILL be happier and more successful in reaching my goals. Your thoughts on all this are always welcome. Just email me at


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