When I’m struggling to keep my exercise program going—like now—of my best strategies is finding inspiration. This week that is coming from my own family.

My mom is an amazing woman, and I won’t talk about the many ways she inspires me, just the way she takes her health seriously. I was talking to her this weekend, when she surprised me by saying that she’s planning to take part in a half marathon this summer. That’s 13 miles.

She said she had always had the idea that she has to be “in shape” before she tried something like that, but she watched my brother in a run, and saw people from all walks of life, ages, and fitness levels crossing the finish line. She decided that if they could do it, so can she.

I’ve always had a similar idea: That I need to be “in shape,” defined as some far future state of affairs, of course, before trying something like that. I broke through that mentality enough to participate in the Torrance County 50+ Games last year, but the notion lingers.

Putting off action until some hypothetical fitness level has been reached is a real progress killer, because that day is always off in the future. It’s better to take action, any kind of action, than to wait.

My mom then went one further, and told me that she’ll take part with me in the track and field events in Torrance County, which will be happening on her 72nd birthday, and while she is here for a visit. She’s never run in a race, never thrown a javelin, discus or shot put—but she knows how to have fun. Now I’m just hoping she doesn’t show me up!

My brothers and my sister inspire me, too.

My youngest brother likes to run marathons; he’s also competed on a rowing team, and trust me when I tell you this guy never stops exercising, or eating. He takes part in what I like to call the run-marathons-eat-any-damn-thing-you-want diet plan.

My second-to-the-youngest brother was a Marine, and when I heard that last year he had his great-nephew (my grandson) marching up the side of a glacier in Alaska on a hike, it inspired me greatly. To know he’s still in great shape even though he drives a truck for a living gives me hope.

My third brother also runs, and he coaches his son’s soccer team. For years he scraped all of his money together, bought bikes that were easily worth more than any car I owned, and then raced in France every year. Talk about inspiration! Not just for getting exercise, but for making his dreams to race come true.

My sister has worked on health issues for the past 30+ years we’ve been adults. She loves rock climbing so much that she and her husband got married at Hueco Tanks—in a location we guests had to climb to get to. She’s always had good advice and solid information, especially about nutrition.

It’s a no-brainer to say that everything will not go as planned all the time, and lots of times all of those plans just go straight out the window. Inspiration gives me a doorway back in to my health and fitness goals.

One more source of inspiration is a little more complex—and that’s taking a compliment. I’ve noticed recently as things have gotten hectic for me that when people pay me a compliment, my first reaction is to dismiss it. As though the past two years of hard work have been nothing.

A friend greeted me this morning by saying, “Look at you, skinny!”

I thought, “Skinny? Ha!”

But the fact remains that I have dropped four pant sizes and my weight loss continues even as my exercise program has lost ground. Objectively, I know that I wear a smaller size than I used to, but my mind still wants to discount all that progress. It’s silly.

I hear from people a lot that this column inspires you—for that I’m grateful to any of you who look at my efforts and think, “If she can do that, I can too!”

Where do you find inspiration? Contact me at 505-286-1212 or leota@lobo.net, or join my Facebook group, “I’m Losing It!” I’d love to hear from you.