In February of this year, I began a new habit of working out on the bike trainer, which is down in our sun room. It was late afternoon on a Sunday and I was in the midst of my second workout on the bike. It was brutal. I felt sluggish. I decided that I might not be able to maintain the speed and cadence that I wanted, but I was going to finish the hour, as I’d planned.
Because I was feeling sluggish, I was a little down. Maybe I hadn’t really re-gained my inner athlete; the athlete that I knew myself to be but still felt like I had somewhat lost because of the illness. As I pedaled, my iTunes playlist cued up Eye of the Tiger. I began to pedal a little harder. Images of lying in bed for months flashed in my mind. The playlist clicked to Gonna Fly Now, the theme song to Rocky. A new image replaced the old ones: the image of me pedaling my way up the final stretch of Vail Pass. My eyes began to blur with the emotion I felt.
I kept pedaling. Hard. The next song started, Daughtry’s, What About Now? As I listened to the lyrics, “What about now? What about today? What if you are making me all that I was meant to be?” I had a clear flash of what was immensely important to me: reclaiming that inner athlete, the athlete that I know myself to be. Becoming stronger than I’ve ever been. Becoming my best self. It was more important than all of the little distractions and the petty worries that I had. The next song was Kelly Clarkson’s, Stronger, and then, as I realized I was past my hour and had worked harder than I had in years, it was Beyonce’s, Halo, that ended my ride. I sat on my bike slumped over the handlebars, spent but energized, and cried. I looked up and saw the sun setting behind the mountains, dazzling in its beauty, and I felt like I was truly alive, fully awake.
I knew that something important had shifted for me. The days following that ride, my energy continued to build and things started happening. My workouts were strong. I saw more beauty in my surroundings. I felt more connected. And . . . happy.
That day on the bike, when I had such a clear vision of what was immensely important to me, I tapped into a core value that became an intrinsic motivator, which is a building block of change.