I've been thinking a lot about why we get involved. Whether it is in a community, on a nonprofit board, for a volunteer project - those of us who, as professionals, are challenged with engaging people in our work know how difficult it is to get people to say yes. From the time when I got pregnant with my oldest child until about a year ago, my first instinct (which I often followed) was to say no to every opportunity. Many of my friends are the same way. There just doesn't seem to be space in our lives to squeeze anything else in.
Recently I started running. When I think about why, there are three reasons:
Time. In two ways. First of all, this is now a time in my life when I feel like I have a crack of space for new things. I no longer have anyone in diapers at home, or napping, and most nights we all sleep through the night and wake up relatively rested.
Time, part 2: Time of day. I am a morning person and have almost always been one. Running is a good early morning activity. I was already often execising in the early morning so I didn't have to find another time slot.
Personal motivation. I recently lost some weight. And I would like to keep it off. But I like food, and I have no interest in "dieting". I know that exercise is important to good health in the long run. So this one is partly about health and partly about vanity, but totally about something inside me wanting something like this in my life.
Peer pressure. My friend who I used to walk with in the mornings announced that she was training for a triathalon. (Which she was convinced to do by some peer pressure at my super bowl party, but that's another blog post). I knew that she was going to want to run in the morning instead of walk. Frankly, I was embarrassed that I wouldn't be able to keep up. So I snuck out one morning by myself for my first run and continued to run a little on my own until I thought we could go together.
Right timing. Some personal motivation. A little peer pressure. That's why I lace on my running shoes most mornings. My hunch is that some combination of those factors is why most people say yes to all sorts of volunteer and leisure activities. Is it true for you?