When it comes to motivating ourselves to accomplish something, we can be our own biggest obstacle. Any assortment of things can get in our way, self esteem, confidence, doubt, fear… Maybe we blame outside forces like work, stress, health and family. More than likely we are just using them as excuses so we don’t have to admit the real reasons we aren’t doing what we really want or need to.
For me, getting into shape has been a struggle since high school. I loved soccer and track, I used any assortment of reasons to end up not doing them. Mostly it all boiled down to horrible self-esteem. What if I’m not good enough? What if I sit on the bench and never play? What if my teammates don’t like me?
Now, I love hiking, canoeing, kayaking. When properly motivated I could go for a hike every weekend during the summer. On our honeymoon we hiked something like 13 miles. As time has passed I’ve let things like work schedules, stress and depression take me out of this regular routine of doing what I love. Last summer was a bad summer and I’m sad to say I never took my kayak out once. You hit a point where weight and health drag on your self esteem and confidence and you stop doing what you love for fear you’re just not as good at it anymore. Like dieting, exercise has been something of a yo-yo thing, I go through great spikes of exercise only to let something bring me crashing down again.
It’s sort of like what I was talking about in Resolve to be Happy… we stay stuck in a situation out of fear, when in reality the thing we’re avoiding is likely exactly what we need to get out of our rut. Getting outside and hiking or canoeing was probably exactly what I needed to get out of my depression. Some of my best days in the last year or so were days when I got outside and hiked in search of geocaches.
So how do we get out of this rut of self deprivation and low self esteem… this funk? I think the key is to find what does motivate us in the first place. And this does NOT mean guilt or berating yourself into doing it. You’re not stupid or lazy or lacking in any way by not going to the gym, by not resisting that extra scoop of ice cream or that gooey pastry. You’re just scared or worried, or maybe a little depressed, just lacking in confidence in yourself. This goes for nearly anything in life that you wish you could accomplish but haven’t.
Maybe it will take a little soul searching. Maybe it will just be a sudden moment of inspiration. For me, it was a combination of a couple of things. I truly do love the idea of being fit. I often have dreams about running marathons and stuff, odd as that may seem. I was inspired by my sister Heather getting into shape and running in races, and by her invitation to join her for the Warrior Dash. This was my motivation. I’m not really sure why, but the Warrior Dash looked like a ton of fun and I wanted to DO it.
A dear friend of mine became motivated to lose weight because he looked at himself one day and became truly worried about something happening to him, and then what would become of his family? Maybe you dream of climbing the all the Adirondack High Peaks or hiking the Appalachian trail. Maybe you’d just like to be able to climb the stairs at work without feeling out of breath, or shop the prettier clothes in the smaller sizes section.
Motivate to paint more because you LOVE to do it, not because you think you should. Write because it brings you happiness, not because you feel like a sloth for not doing it. Remodel or clean because the idea of a fresh new space cheers you up, not because you’re guilty about the wear and tear. Find a friend who motivates you and cheer each other on.
If you give a little bit of thought to who you are and what has meaning to you, you can find your own power to accomplish your goals… the sky is the limit!