"Let's Get It Started" -Black Eyed Peas
I've (sort of) started running. What I think about every time I don't want to run is when I was working with my athletes in grad school. I loved working for the athletics department, even if only as a part time gig while in grad school--athletes are an incredible group of individuals, especially college athletes.
I don't think about them running or exercising...(their practice times are INSANE, by the way). I don't think "if they can do it, so can I" (because that's not really true...). But what I think about is when I would challenge them in the study room to do well in academics. We expect them to perform well in both academics and athletics. Academics comes fairly easy to me. It's not fair for me to push them in academics if I won't push myself in the area of athletics.
When I start to just get tired, I think about the late night study sessions when they wanted to just close the books and leave early and I had to use some motivational techniques to get them to stay and keep going. When I think, "This isn't worth it", I think about them studying for a big test or preparing to write a big paper. And they would do it. They stayed, they studied, they performed in the classroom and in their sport. When I start to get busy, I remind myself of their ridiculous travel schedules with the expectation that they would still go to pretty much every class and again, nonsense practice times and schedules.
They didn't inspire me because of how they performed in their sport. That's not what I think about. It's about if I expect them to do well academically and athletics, I gotta say, "me too".
So shout out to college athletes. They're the real MVPs.