Motivation

Motivation is usually not a tough thing for most people, including me. At least not at first. We all get fired up to make changes, to change EVERYTHING all at once and we try to attack the 19-headed beast that is our life. And right there is the problem. Most people simply do not have the attention span bandwidth or multi-tasking abilities to do it this way. In addition, when we aren’t taking care of ourselves, depression and illness can make it that much harder for us to get motivated and even sometimes to care in the first place. And that’s exactly what I use to keep me motivated.

When I am not motivated, it’s a big red flag for me that I need to get off my rearend and work out or go for a walk or build something.  In short, when I feel the worst I can possibly feel, that’s what motivates me to move and to eat right – because I can’t bear another moment of feeling so crappy that I can’t move. Everybody falls off the wagon now and again. It’s human nature to fall short of the lofty goals and aspirations we set for ourselves. What separates success from failure is what one does after a setback. If you examine most successful people and how they managed to succeed, it’s not that none of them never failed at anything. Quite the contrary, in fact. You will find in almost every single case that very few people ever succeeded at something the very first time they tried it. That’s not to knock natural talent or to say it never happens, but for most people, it’s about the process and the work they put into it. The difference then, is NOT not falling off the wagon, but just standing up, dusting yourself off and regaining your composure, figuring out what caused the fall, and then getting back on the wagon for the ride toward your goal.

For me, this happens somewhat more frequently than perhaps I’d like to admit. I love crappy food, just like everybody else, probably more than most.  But it destroys my mind. My body tends to be a bit more resilient to junk food’s effects, but my mind is pretty fragile when it comes to “Garbage Cuisine,” as I like to call it. It starts when I feel good and have been eating well and working out. Then I will have a couple light beers with dinner, then the next day have a couple more and add a frozen pizza to the mix. Then I will stop at some greasy drive-thru the following day, and before I know it, my body is achy, my mind is cloudy, I don’t want to move, haven’t gone to the gym because I feel too lousy to get out of bed at 5 am, and I’m sick because I’m feasting on Garbage Cuisine. Never fails – this is the pattern pretty much every single time.

Regaining my composure then is just forcing myself to do one thing differently when I’m in that rut. Sometimes it’s just making myself strap on my skates or build something. Sometimes it’s going out to the garage and changing the oil or rotating the tires on one of our cars. Sometimes it’s actually dragging myself to the gym, although I rarely start there. But whatever it is, it creates enough of an improvement in how I’m thinking that my body follows suit and feels better too. And with my mind and body clear once again, it becomes very simple for me to get back on track. I usually try to grocery shop at these on-track times too. When I do, my cart is full of fresh fruits and veggies, nuts and lean meats, and very little else. When I go at other times, it’s frozen pizza, ice cream and other crap that I shouldn’t eat. And that’s just a waste of money.

Your brain and body are like a Ferrari. Would you fuel it with high-octane gas like the manufacturer recommends? Or would you dump used motor oil and sugar in the tank and expect it to run right? The latter sounds absolutely ridiculous to pretty much anybody who knows anything at all about fine autos, and yet this is exactly what most of us do to ourselves. We dump crap into our fuel tanks and then wonder why we aren’t running right. And sometimes, that “not running right” feeling is just the motivation we need to refuel and exercise with what we know works best – sticking to the “Bag/Box/Wrapper Rule and throwing Garbage Cuisine in the can where it belongs rather than down the hatch.

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