The “Triple Barreled Motivator”

Jul 27, 2022

Picture yourself, bobbing around in a sailboat, in the middle of the ocean…the wind has died down to nothing, and…you live in a world before back up motors.  

Sun beating down on you, pulled by currents, feeling powerless…it’s awful, right?  

Desperate sailors invented the kedge to solve this problem. 

The kedge was an anchor they rowed out in the direction they wanted to go, which they used to pull themselves forward until they found the wind in their sails again. 

I first learned of the kedge strategy for fitness in Younger Next Year, the book my mom gave me on my 40th birthday, a time which found me circling in an eddy of small children.

Fitness kedges act as anchors, pulling us forward into a compelling future.  They can be as simple as signing up for something adventurous, such as a:

  • Charity 5K fun run (or longer) race, 

  • Bike ride, 

  • Duathlon (bike, run/walk) or 

  • Sprint triathlon (swim, bike, run/walk)

  • Powerlifting meet

Maybe you decide you want to:

  • Hike all trails in a 50 mile radius.  

  • Go on an adventurous group biking trip 

  • Book a ski vacation 

  • Rafting trip   

  • Leisure trip where you want to look and feel lean and healthy

  • Get your first pull up

  • Squat your bodyweight    

For me, the ideal kedge feels exciting, and even a little bit edgy, because it’s asking me to grow into a stronger, more accomplished, future version of myself. 

I will need to commit, be consistent, and keep training in that direction until I get there, facing all my demons along the way.  

Some of my most memorable lifetime kedges include:

  • Biking across the country the summer after college.

  • 2 homebirths

  • Multi-year journey to attaining black belt rank in Aikido (a martial art) in my 40’s.   

  • Summiting 14,450 foot Mount Shasta at age 50

  • Bodybuilding show in 2021

  • And, lately, Powerlifting!

What inspires you?  What might help pull you in the direction of a strong future that excites you?

Middle age can feel like the doldrums without motivating kedges.  It’s just too easy to start feeling old unless we intervene!

Sure, goaded by fear of a frail, unhealthy old age, we might exercise and eat well some of the time.  That works as a “moving away from” strategy, but it’s not much fun!  

The kedge serves as a “moving toward” strategy, what Younger Next Year describes as a “triple barreled motivator”.  

Best of all, YOU get to choose the direction of your kedge!  Where do you want to be in 6 months?  A year?  Several years?  What would you like to be able to do?    

In the process of lining up to your kedge, you will learn new skills, gain strength, move through resistance, meet new people, and show up for experiences that will change you in positive ways.   

Kedges help us feel young, inspired and motivated.  

I would love to hear about the kedges in your future!   


Younger Next Year for Women-Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy until you’re 80 and beyond by Chris Crowley and Henry S Lodge, MD. Reading this book is a triple barreled motivator, and it’s even pretty entertaining!