Motivation and Commitment

January is more than halfway gone. The month that often begins brimming with plans, goals, and enthusiasm often ends with the same-old-same-old. Excitement wanes and we fall back into old routines. People who want to pursue a healthy life often bemoan a lack of motivation. Speaking for myself, it’s amazing how jazzed I can be to workout while I’m sitting at my desk at work only to have to have that feeling vanish as soon as I leave the office. An internet search for “Workout motivation” returns scores of results. Why is so hard to keep?

Motivation ebbs and flows – kind of like the loving feelings you have for someone you’ve been with a long time. When you’re excited to tackle your fitness goals, life has a way of leaving the toilet seat up*. I think motivation is an important thing to have and it certainly makes the journey more pleasant, but it is not sufficient in itself. The question you need to ask yourself is, “Am I committed?”

I don’t know if there’s a person alive who doesn’t want a healthy, fit body. So why doesn’t everyone have one? Our society certainly makes it easy not to. High calorie junk food is cheap and abundant. Modern conveniences have made it so very little physical effort is required. Jobs and family require our attention, and rightly so. Appealing distractions are everywhere. Many people just go with the flow because it takes such a concentrated effort to swim upstream. Progress is often slow. Just like your thumb can block out the sun, immediate wants can seem much bigger than far-off goals.

The lifelong commitment involved is a deep and personal thing. What will being fit ultimately bring to you and your life? Then ask, “Am I going to forgo short term pleasure to get what I really want in the long run?” Passing up food you love is hard. Getting up early to work out is hard. Working out after a long day when you’d rather just flop on the couch is hard. Know it, own it, and do it anyway, then while it may never become easy, it will become part of your life. And that great feeling that comes afterward? I find that… motivating.

*My husband does not leave the seat up.

No, this isn't me :)

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