So, on this post, this happened:
I can vouch for this. Motivation as we know it isn’t motivation at all.
I write and I run. Writers spend more time bemoaning their lack of motivation to write than actually writing. It’s far easier to whinge into the ether than to pick up a pen and just *write*.
Runners spend far more time bemoaning their lack of motivation to run than actually running. It’s far easier… you see where I’m going with this.
If we wait around for this magical ‘motivation’, we’d be waiting a hell of a long time. Back in 2008, I became a massive gym bunny because I was ‘motivated’ by heartbreak. And when I was happy again, I stopped going to the gym. My last big ‘motivation’ was training for a half marathon early this year with a team of people, and raising money. And when that was done, I struggled with my running.
Truth was, I wanted to lose weight anyway, but decided to row/run/lift my feelings away instead of eating them. In the second case, I needed to be prepared for a race, and to get people to see I was serious so they’d give my team money. So I agree that ‘motivation’ as we know it is a myth. That wasn’t motivation; it was context.
You have to find a constant source of inspiration in yourself, and that can’t be found in one circumstance or feeling. Those things have a nasty habit of changing.
When you want to sit on the couch and eat Skittles for dinner, or wait for inspiration to strike, chances are you’re thinking about how you could be actually DOING THE DAMN THING instead of talking yourself out of it. And you probably feel a bit guilty too, but that’s still not enough to make you stop and do the right thing.
I’d say that if you’re thinking about doing it, then you’re already in a state of being motivated. Awareness of a need or want to change, and desire to make it happen.*That* is motivation. Hoooowwwwever…
If you’re waiting for the rocket-powered insatiable urge to do it – that thing we wrongly call ‘motivation’ instead, which gets us off the couch – it’s not gonna happen. I think what people really want to know is ‘OK, I have that desire; how do I turn it up to 11′? I’d suggest that you don’t. You can’t operate on full throttle all the time, but you do have to step (or vault) over the hurdle marked ‘I Don’t Wanna’ consistently and often enough to make your action-to-change a habit.
Stop thinking in terms of motivation, and think in terms of DOING. And, like my fellow writers and runners, your best bet is to stop thinking so much and just take action. You don’t need anyone else to affirm your reasons why!
I have to thank Ruby – clearly both a writer and a runner – for sharing this because she said, rather succinctly, what I’ve been scribbling in my journal for almost a month, trying to figure out how to say it.
Think of how much I love yoga. I mean, I love it. Think of how much you love your favorite thing, then double that love. That’s how much I love yoga. I sleep at night cradling my yoga mat.
Not really… well, maybe… whatever. Let’s not talk about that.
But even still, if I stop to think about whether or not I should roll out my mat and get to work, chances are… I won’t. I already knew I should’ve – that’s why I had the inclination to roll it out and strike a pose in the first place. Stopping to think about whether or not I should was simply the set up for me to talk myself out of it. I suspect a lot of people face this exact same situation, and it plays out this exact same way.
I’m also mindful of the “I exercised my feelings, not ate them” mentality too, but – again, just like Ruby said – what happens when you’re no longer feeling those feelings that compelled you to work out? You still need to be active for your health, no? You still need to be able to just get up, roll out your yoga mat, grab your weights, put on your kicks, grab your blades, whatever it may be today and head out the door. Not because you’re motivated to “show your ex that he shouldn’t’ve dropped this fine piece of chocolate,” and not because you need to workout your feelings instead of eat them. Can it be a better coping mechanism for pain than eating? Absolutely. You just also have to have a backup plan for how you’re going to get up off of your tail and go after everything is said and done, and you’re no longer hurting.
THIS, I believe, is why so many of us say “just do it” or “it’s in you.” Because, quite frankly, at the end of all the drama, the emotions, the whining and the excuse-making… it is, in fact, in YOU. It’s about YOU getting up off the couch. It’s about YOU getting dressed and heading out. It’s about YOU still doing what you need to do to get the body you want and to maintain it. After everything is said and done, it’s about you making that decision.
Like I said before, “motivation” is a completely made up concept. It’s what we use to explain why there are people in this world who willingly run 15-20 miles for fun, while we hang out at home. It’s just not as big a deal as we try to make it. And, even if it were, no one should be waiting around for it. Just don’t think about it… just get up and go. I promise you’ll be happier for it.