I’m a member on a few weight loss and health forums and I’ve noticed a couple of common themes that come up with people starting (or trying to start) their fitness journey. One BIG one I hear/see is, “I just can’t get motivated.” Or even, “I need someone to get me motivated.” No one but you can be your motivation. Other people can be motivational, but they cannot be your motivation.
From personal experience I can say that there were many, many times I tried to get in shape and failed. I would see people say that you’ll only succeed when you were motivated enough to make it happen. I used to get so angry at this, I felt like I was motivated, I know I really wanted to get in shape. But over time I found out there’s a difference in really wanting something and having the motivation to make it happen. My breaking point was around the holidays last year. I’d gone through a divorce a couple years prior and it really depressed me, I stopped going out with friends and just really quit giving a damn about much of anything. I didn’t feel good about me at all but rather than making the moves to change it I allowed my mental state to give me an excuse to slide even further. By the end of 2011 I felt the absolute worst I’d ever felt in my life – physically, mentally and spiritually. I hit my rock bottom, and that was my motivation. I couldn’t do the things I used to love doing. Even going to a museum or the aquarium made me cringe as walking was so difficult that I didn’t know if I’d make it through, I was very close to needing one of those ride-on carts just to go about my daily activity – and I was not going to let that happen. Getting started was hard and I had some ups and downs, I made some mistakes and still had a few excuses left over. But now I am 100% motivated to make my life better in every aspect, for me.
When I first made an effort I was so discouraged at the results. I would get on an exercise bike and would be totally worn out within 3 minutes, that is not an exaggeration. I would walk around the block and almost hyperventilate walking up the slight incline on my street then I would have to endure horrible leg cramps, muscle aches and general pain all over my body. I couldn’t sleep because I hurt so much… but I pressed on. Today I’m proud to say I’ll hike on the weekends and I love it. I can walk around the block with no issue at all and my 3 minute bike rides went to 5 minutes, then 10, and now I’m riding at 30 minute intervals sometimes twice a day. About a month back I challenged a friend to do 100 miles on our stationary bikes in one week, I rode 101.7 miles that week. I still find new muscles that I haven’t used before and have to suffer through them hurting over a few workouts until they get a bit used to being used. I have to be careful what hikes I take as I still have a ways to go before I can tackle big hills, but I’m steadily on my way.
Wanting to enjoy every day of my life more than I did the day before is what motivates me. I want to run, climb, jump and go, go, go! I can do this. I will do this. I have the desire and I have the motivation. I am motivated to change me and I hope others find my journey motivational. But I cannot be your motivation. Don’t allow yourself to hit bottom before finding your motivation. Find something now to be motivated about. Grab hold of it and do not let go. Tell yourself every day that you can do it and make sure to believe in yourself. Never compare your results to someone else, only challenge yourself to be better than you were the day before. Albert Einstein said, “Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it’s stupid.” If you’re just starting out and you compare your fitness level to an athlete you will feel like a failure, but if you work harder every day and compare what you did last week to what you are doing now you will see what an amazing success you actually are.