My husband recently bought me a GPS watch that allows you to calculate your mileage, pace, calories burned, etc. As a pretty faithful runner, I thought it would be great motivation. With this new gizmo I’d be inspired to run harder, faster and more often.  I love the watch and it’s actually really fun to use. Funny thing is, I can never remember to hit the “start” button.

The other day, I set my sites on 3 miles. I turned on the watch, located my satellites (very high-tech), cleared the timer and began running as my mind began wandering. After what I thought to be about a mile or so, I looked down to see the watch timer just sitting there, staring at me. 00:00:00. Crap! My initial reaction was to start over. That time (and mileage) felt as though it didn’t count. I continued on, but just couldn’t get over my frustration. Where was my proof – my validation – that I ran that mile? Feeling deflated, I continued plodding along, now having no idea how far I’d actually gone, the time on the watch taunting me with an inadequately low number.

As I approached the house, I saw two little bodies standing at the top of the driveway, arms flailing and cheering. “Mommy, mommy! You did it! Yeah, Mom!” I couldn’t help but feel like I just completed the Boston Marathon, my fans eagerly waiting at the finish line. I laughed, thanked them for the standing ovation and headed inside, spirits high.

I realized then that my kids didn’t care how far I ran, how fast my pace was or even how many calories I burned. They cared that I accomplished my goal and ran my hardest. (I can make it look very hard). It made me wonder why we put so much emphasis on scores and numbers, on grades and achievements. When we were kids, didn’t our parents tell us it didn’t matter if we won or lost? What mattered was that we tried our best?

I guess somewhere along the way society tells us otherwise. Scores do matter. Points are important. After all, we still need a decent SAT score to get into college. And no one ever won a Super Bowl without putting points on the board. While numbers do matter, I think we should all reevaluate what motivates us.

I’m starting to believe that my motivation comes from something much bigger than my GPS watch. Or the scale. Or the dollar figure on a paycheck. My motivation comes from my kids. Seeing their faces beaming when they watch me doing something great – no matter the significance – is really all the motivation I need.   

If I think about it, I exercise because I want to live a long time – and be a cool grandma to their kids. I work at my marriage because I want to set a good example that they may one day follow. I volunteer – not only to give back to the community, but to teach my kids about the gift of giving back.

Maybe our parents were actually right about something after all. (yes, mom, I admit it) It doesn’t matter if you win or lose. It matters that you tried your best. Today, I will try to be the best wife/mother/chauffeur/chef/party planner that I can be.

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