How many times have you made a New Year ... only to give up weeks later? And then you’ll blame lack of time… lack of ... ... or so on. Yet there is no one alive who lacks motivati
How many times have you made a New Year Resolution only to give up weeks later?
And then you’ll blame lack of time… lack of motivation… willpower or so on. Yet there is no one alive who lacks motivation, time or willpower.
Take for example the millions of people who every year declare that this time they are going to lose some weight. Just weeks later they start beating themselves up for lacking motivation and willpower… for not being good enough and anything else they feel bad about themselves.
Yet being overweight is not due to lack of motivation… but too much motivation. The reason anyone is overweight (apart from a few extremely rare cases) is because they have too much motivation… for cheese, crisps, cakes, chocolate or whatever their particular vice is.
People can’t stick to an exercise routine… because they are more motivated to do anything other than exercise.
Motivation is never the problem. The problem is what fuels your motivation.
In general, we gravitate towards the things that we think will bring us most pleasure and least pain. It may vary depending on our personalities. For example, Introverts will tend to be more concerned with avoiding pain, whereas Extroverts will be most interested in gaining pleasure. Some people will delay gratification for a bigger pay-off… while others want it now. But overall we want the best deal we think we can get for the cards we’ve been dealt.
Since one of the most universal complaints is lacking motivation for exercise, let’s trace the steps a three-month exerciser goes through to create their motivation and its downfall.
Most people, who start and stop exercising, begin with a very specific fear. So while they will generally say they just want to shape up, it goes far beyond that. Here’s the real truth.
They have probably been thinking about exercising for months. But they were never motivated enough to get started. Certain times of year, such as January are natural times to make changes.
But other than that there is a reason. Deep, deep down many people who start exercising do so for basically two reasons.
One is that a Doctor has sufficiently frightened them into it.
The more common is that they want to look more attractive. Now everyone wants to look more attractive. So in itself that isn’t motivating enough. But when the individual’s relationship is in trouble, when they’ve just got divorced or split up, when they think their Partner is having an affair. That is when they suddenly get motivated to act.
They look in the mirror more critically. They start thinking about competing for their partner… or generally being on the dating market. It bothers them. They catch themselves as they walk past shop windows. They imagine meeting new people. Being seen naked by a new lover. And then they look down at the cellulite or the paunch.
Now they’re motivated. They have something that hurts and so they are motivated to heal that pain.
After two or three months though, the relationship has recovered. They found that their Partner isn’t having an affair. The Divorcee has met someone else. Whatever the problem was… its no longer so painful. So their motivation for exercise has waned.
But going to the Gym and torturing yourself for 45 minutes is still as dull as ever. “Look at all the more relevant and interesting things I could be doing. Of course I’d like to be in great shape, but it’ll take so long. I could get instant pleasure by doing this other stuff – right now”. So the motivation drops off with the exercise routine.
The problem is never motivation… it is how you fuel your motivation. How are you fuelling your motivation?