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Motivation

March 26, 2009

I think when it comes to working out the issue isn’t that we don’t want better bodies, better health, or better mental health. We do want those things. At least I do. I just don’t always want to have to work for them. I blame someone else ;). No really, it’s my fault. It is. I’m a lazy person and I’m betting most of the people reading this are lazy people at heart as well.

I think pretty much the whole world is lazy. Even those who do a ton of stuff every day are really lazy people who just have really good motivating factors. Like, if my doctor said I’d die immediately if I didn’t do 5 hours of cardio a day, I’d do the damn cardio no matter what. People work not because they have some desire to get out of bed and put in 6-12 hours in somewhere doing something they’d rather not be doing but because they have bills. Bills are a huge motivating factor to getting to work.

There isn’t that same thing to working out. If I miss a workout, my bills still get paid. The strength I gained isn’t immediately lost and I don’t immediately gain weight. Besides those negative consequences of weight gain and decrease in strength are not always apparent right away even when they do happen. Those things take time and often are seen as not a huge deal. Same with eating right. The benefits of eating well are apparent if you eat well for some length of time. Going off a clean diet has some minor consequences (no they’re not really minor, but hey, they seem that way). Eating poorly increases risks of diseases, length of life, and quality of life. But these things aren’t immediately apparent. They take time and we get used to that lethargic feeling as something normal and expected.

No matter how awful something is, if it’s expected and considered normal, we deal with it well. That’s why it’s so easy to eat crappy foods and bask in the glory of poor health. As a society we see poor health as normal. I don’t know when or how this came about, but that’s just how it is now. It’s not normal though. We were not meant to be sedentary creatures with shortened life spans and poor life quailty in our aging years. We were meant to walk until our deaths not be waited on by nursing assistants who barely identify us as human.

Anyway, lack of motivation is a huge issue that everyone struggles with. Even those people who get out there every day, they have motivation issues. Just somehow they managed to conquer the motivation dragon. There is something they see as immensely beneficial to exercise or nutrition that helps them lace up the running shoes and get out the door. As a person who loves immediate consequences or benefits, I do struggle with getting into my basement daily. I’ve made it as easy as possible on myself by having the home gym. Yet I struggle.

Making exercise or nutrition a habit rather than an extra benefit will help. Scheduling it like you’d schedule going to work or to the dentist (but much much more frequently) might help. Having an immediate reward (and consequence) might help. Maybe putting five dollars per missed workout toward something you don’t particularly care for (or giving it to any charity if you’d rather just keep your hard earned dollars) is enough of a consequence. And if you make the workout, putting five dollars in a jar for fun money might help. I’m sure taking that 25 dollars per week out of the immediate fund will be hard for lots of people (it’d be hard for me) but I don’t want to have to give it to someone else so that would help me.

Share your ideas.
What helps you stay on track? Please comment below!

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. Dick Korby permalink
    March 26, 2009 5:11 PM

    Hi , I’ve been more motivated by the workout than by watching what I eat. I figure if I like the workouts and the recent routine I used at the gym was a circuit, the circuit being a combination of cardio, weights , jumps and stretching, then afterwards I could eat whatever?

  2. March 26, 2009 8:24 PM

    Hi Dick, I think lots of people feel they can eat whatever they want after working out. I know I used to feel that way. I think now though that what you eat is more important than the workout when trying to loose weight. If the goal isn’t weight loss, then the workout is more important. Most fitness professionals agree that the nutrition is 80-90% of the solution and fitness and everything else is the other 10-20%.

    In part it depends on how much you’re doing as well. I’ve you’re burning 1000 cals at the gym, you can probably get away with a lot more than I can when I burn only about 300 cals and then call it quits.

  3. ladlam permalink
    March 26, 2009 8:29 PM

    Great post! I agree, the absolute best thing you can do for exercise is to make it a regular habit so that you don’t even have to think about it, just go home, get changed, go to the gym. Diet is a bit tricker though, at least for me. I eat regularly regardless of whether it’s good or bad, so in that respect I really need some goal to work towards…

    • March 26, 2009 8:37 PM

      Making exercise a habit is something I try to do. My best time is 7pm so that’s when I schedule it. I don’t always make it though, but for me, that’s the time I’m most likely to be best at it. I could do it in the mornings but they say not to lift in the am’s. I hate mornings, but if I made it a habit, I could do it. I used to do bodyweight circuts in the morning about two years ago and loved that. Fell out of that habit though and even when I tried to get back into it this year, it just didn’t work well for me. I think I need to revisit that habit!

      Nutrition for me is a bit tough lately as well. I think with the increased stress from work and college I’ve had more difficulty fighting off cravings. That willpower needs a boost about now :(.

      I think your paleo diet is great, but I think the all at once is HARD!!! Maybe if you broke down the diet into smaller steps, taking away one thing at a time till you get paleo might help. I’m hoping to be “clean” by the end of the year. Until then, I’m not showering 😉 hehe.

      • ladlam permalink
        March 26, 2009 10:16 PM

        Yeah I’m not a fan of weights first thing in the morning either. Mostly because if I do that, I have to get up at 5am, which is too early for me 😛
        You’re right, its hard work going paleo all in one hit, but I’d rather get it all over with at once personally. Like ripping off a bandaid quickly 😀

  4. judie611 permalink
    March 27, 2009 7:02 AM

    I go through periods where I am super active and love working out. Then, something happens, ie, I get sick or one of my kids get sick, we go away, etc.. and then it’s challenging to get back into the workout routine. I have to force myself to work out. But, then I remember how good it makes me feel.

    • March 27, 2009 5:58 PM

      It’s hard once the routine is broken for me too. I haven’t been very good at forcing myself to get in the basement and I’ve been noticing my excuses (like I’m going out dancing again so…).

  5. jleeger permalink
    March 27, 2009 8:54 AM

    Hi Michelle,

    I really think you’re onto something here! I started to write a response, then realized that I’d basically written an entire blog entry…hahaha. I posted that on my blog, so I’ll keep it simple here and just say that there are a few things that motivate me:

    1. I’ve seen the negative effects of lack of physical exercise/good diet, and I don’t want that to happen to me
    2. I love the feeling of exercise, and the taste of good food
    3. I love getting stronger, and the aesthetic side-effects of hard work…

    Keep up the good blogging!

    Josh

    • March 27, 2009 6:00 PM

      I see those negative effects as well. It’s just it takes time to get there! I should recall how easily I gained 22 lbs before and it can happen again. I’ll head over to your blog tomorrow when I have a bit more time and catch your full reply/blog post :).

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  1. Motivation
  2. Motivation, and the causes of activity « The L.I.F.T. Weblog

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