Motivation Even When Denied

It’s funny, sometimes, how the smallest of things can be a form of motivation, and then, when that small thing is taken away, well, it’s tough to get the motivation back.

The funnier thing was that there was no guarantee, at the beginning, that this small thing would even be a possibility yet I let it motivate me, and then somehow I let it being taken away motivate me more.

Let’s get to it….

The Challenge?

I was told about a possible exercise challenge. The gist was that if you hit some exercise goals you could earn up to three dollars a day.

How could I ever get F.I.T.?

One goal was fairly easy, $1 for walking 3,000 steps in 30 minutes. That’s not too bad as all it really came down to was a brisk walk for about 20 to 30 minutes.

A second dollar could be earned if you walked 10,000 steps in a day. I thought to myself, “Self, that shouldn’t be too bad, especially if you are getting those 3,000 steps in.”

Lastly you could earn a third dollar if, I suppose, you had no job because you had to figure out a way to walk 500 steps in under seven minutes, during six different hours. Even I can’t come up with that many breaks during a day.

So, two dollars a day for five to six days a week over the course of a year, that was my goal. Yup, $500ish bucks for getting healthy, or at least being an awesome power-walker!

And so, without the confirmation of being able to actually be a part of this exercise challenge, I started.

Search “InspireMyAwesom” on Peloton

Search for InspireMyAwesom on Peloton. Don't deny my motivation!

The good thing was that I already was slowly getting back to exercising. We had a treadmill so that was a start, and there weren’t any coats hanging on it. I decided to join Peloton Digital. Yea, you know those people with the exercise bikes? Turns out they also have a treadmill, or, for people who don’t want to re-invest in a new treadmill, you can at least participate in their classes via their digital platform.

I signed up with the username “InspireMyAwesom” a month or so before the thoughts of this exercise challenge even arrived, but now I was really stoked that this could actually help pay for my monthly subscription. All I had to do was get on that treadmill, let Selena Samuela, Becs Gentry, or Matty Maggiacomo keep me motivated, and Bamm!, here would come a dollar, and I would be well on my way towards two buckaroos a day!

For almost two and a half weeks I busted my ass, clocking in about 178,000 steps and 83.5 miles. I would drive my wife crazy walking through the house to get 500 more steps until she did the smart thing, as she does, and suggested I go walk on the treadmill instead of freak out the dog by walking around the kitchen island. I suggested longer walks on non-treadmill days, parked a little further away from entrances, but then the day came….

No Dough for You!

“Sorry, you don’t qualify for the challenge.”

Yup, my hopes of easy money vanished into thin air, and crap, I already would have earned $26.00.

I can't believe I did 178,000 steps! How's that for motivation?

My dollar motivation was taken away.

As dumb as it sounds, I was bummed. Thoughts of just stopping exercising quickly came to my head, let alone walking around for an extra ten minutes just to get 10,000 steps. I mean, what was the point? The tiny bit of money motivation factor to go those extra few steps was gone.

The next day, however, those thoughts began to change. Maybe this exercise thing was actually starting to become a habit. I mean sure, I wasn’t getting to 10,000 steps each day before the possible exercise challenge anyway, but I was really enjoying the Peloton classes. I always looked forward to the live classes at 5AM especially when I would get a shout-out, and even when there wasn’t a live class, I mean, who doesn’t like a 30 minute Broadway Fun Run with Matty or a 30 minute interval run with Selena. Heck, I even liked the Yoga Flow classes with Anna Greenberg and hoped to put more of them into my schedule.

Suddenly the thought of seeing how much real money I wouldn’t make had turned into motivation. When my wife and I would go for a walk, and I made the 3,000 step goal, I would say to her, “I didn’t make a dollar!” The other day I had already not earned a dollar by walking over 10,000 steps, but I looked at my Apple watch as I got into bed and it read “Total Steps: 10,999.” Yes, I got out of bed and walked so I would get over 11,000!

Did I Really Want to be a Power Walker?

The other thing is that the loss of that financial motivation might now be a proverbial blessing in disguise. Why? That exercise challenge limited the benefit to steps. I could bust my ass benching 300 pounds for 30 minutes and guess what? No money that’s what! I might find myself doing yoga for an hour and what do I get for my effort? No dollar! Without the dollar or two my exercise possibilities have grown. Why be limited to walking around, I mean, how am I going to get abs of steel and giant guns for biceps by just walking, right?

How long will this exercise thing last? I’m shooting for the rest of my life, but who knows? What I have discovered with this is that sometimes we get motivated by what we might obtain while sometimes the motivation comes along from something we are denied.

Would I like the money? Sure, but somewhere along the way feeling better has become worth more than a couple of bucks.

Thanks for stopping by! Keep being awesome and inspired!

Don’t Be Sad

Don't be sad, the weekend will get here soon enough!

Don’t be sad! The weekend will be here soon enough!

Yup, it might be Monday, but it’s Thanksgiving week! For most of you that means the weekend starts early, and for those of you responsible for selling the rest of us our Christmas goodies on Black Friday, my thanks!

Thanks for stopping by! Keep being awesome and inspired!

(Picture is of Milo, our Coton de Tulear.)

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Ready for Sale!

Inspire My Awesome App

This app development road wasn’t supposed to be this long, I mean, it started in late 2018. Finally, though, Inspire My Awesome is ready for everyone with an iPhone or iPad, and it’s even updated for iOS 13 with dark mode!

The journey began with my desire to get one of my older apps, Make Me Smile, updated. To do it I would have to learn the Swift programming language and convert the app over from Objective-C.

A Lot of Learnin’ to Do

Right off the bat I realized there was a lot of learnin’ I was going to have to do in order to get my little ol’ app updated.

To get there I hunted for a variety of places to learn Swift. The good news is there are a ton of resources out there if you want to learn on your own. The bad news is there are a ton of resources out there if you want to learn on your own.

I settled on a combination of printed material and some online courses.

My starting point was this big ol’ book called “Beginning iPhone Development with Swift: Exploring the iOS SDK.” I had the book lying around for years and knew some of it was outdated, but the concepts would be the core knowledge I would need so I finally cracked the binding. Apple had their “Everyone Can Code” series which I downloaded, I studied some of the Stanford classes on iTunes U, and even went the Udemy route with a course “iOS 11 & Swift 4 – The Complete iOS App Development Bootcamp.”

While the various “courses” took me through the learnin’, in the back of my mind was another thought, “Why don’t you make a new app and update Make Me Smile down the road?”

At the time I had no great inspiration for a new app, but the thought of creating something new sounded exciting!

Inspiration From a Lousy Inspiration List

Who knew a lousy system for inspiration would actually be part of the inspiration for a new app?

You see, for years I had kept this document simply called “Inspire Me.” I would add things to it that were supposed to help nudge me along in this life, but the list was just kind of “there.” I rarely looked at it except to add more tidbits of inspiration. It was kind of sad, really, as I would see the list and realize most of the things on it had been forgotten as inspirations.

What could I ever do with this list to remind me of the things in it to stay inspired?

Jar of Awesome?

Along with my crappy inspiration list was something not so crappy. During a couple episodes of The Tim Ferriss Show, I heard Tim talk about this thing called a “Jar of Awesome.” The jar of awesome was well, a jar. He was told by his ex-girlfriend to “write down the things that were awesome that happened that day, however small they might be, fold it up, put it in the jar of awesome.” Why? As Tim says, “When you get into a funk, when you’re feeling down, when you’re feeling uncreative, whatever it might be, go through and read these pieces of paper, these little self made fortune cookies of goodness from this jar.”

I found the concept kind of fun. I also thought it might be more fun being digital instead of a big ol’ jar on the counter, because, well, I do like clean counters even if I do let clutter occasionally creep in.

Better Inspiration Through Morning Pages

While my nighttime had become a time for studying and learning, part of my morning routine has been doing this thing called Morning Pages which I read about while reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. The easiest way for me to describe Morning Pages, if you haven’t heard of it before, is that it is basically a brain dump before the day gets going. Part of it is kind of journaling, part of it might be getting things out of your head that are bothering you, and for me, sometimes new ideas or resolutions to problems present themself while I’m just writing down the thoughts in my head.

As it was, during a session, I went back to the idea of creating a new app instead of updating my old one, and a thought came to me, “Why don’t you combine your ‘Inspire Me’ list with a digital ‘Jar of Awesome’ and make an app that will remind you, during the day, of your awesomeness as well as things that inspire you?”

Who Doesn’t Like a Leprechaun?

I thought about it, liked the idea, and “Inspire ‘Me’ Awesome” was born. Something didn’t seem quite right about the name, so I ran things past my nephew. He liked the idea for the app but thought the name sounded kind of like a Leprechaun talking. So, I asked, “What about ‘Inspire My Awesome’?”

He thought that sounded better.

He’s a smart dude.

With much of the online classroom work completed, sketches were made of the flow of the app, initial concepts came and went, and things kept getting tweaked for a better user experience. With the learning taking place in late 2018, the coding finally started in early 2019. I had to add learning about Apple CloudKit so the app would share the things between devices, found a way to handle subscriptions for users who wanted to add unlimited entries (thanks RevenueCat!), and went through the sometimes nerve-racking submittals of the Apple app store.

Ready for Sale, Eventually!

Inspire My Awesome Ready for Sale

My first submission was rejected, as I write about in App Rejection Doesn’t Mean I’m a Failure, but then it came, “Ready for sale.” It was just as exciting for me as when I launched that first app, Make Me Smile, some nine and a half years ago.

I had a new app on the App Store!

There were a couple of tweaks needed to tighten up the app experience, a few updates to make sure it would run on iOS 13 and be ready for dark mode, but I’m finally at a place where I can see Inspire My Awesome grow.

There are a lot of updates planned down the road, I will be revisiting my other app, Make Me Smile, and writing a lot of blog posts, but finally I can take a quick breath and be reminded of things that inspire me and of my awesomeness. My inspiration list is no longer just “there,” nor is it sad, in fact, it’s kind of awesome!

Don’t be like I was and put your inspirations and awesomeness in a list you will never revisit! Let Inspire My Awesome help you check in on them from time to time! Head to the Apple App Store. Inspire My Awesome is free for up to fourteen entries, and for the price of a couple of cups a coffee a year, or a few giant sodas, or a beer and a half at a ballpark, unlimited entries and the ability to add inspirational photos can also be yours.

Thanks for reading! Keep being awesome and inspired!