It’s ironic that I’ve been meaning to write a blog post about motivation, but could not bring myself to do it until now. To be more committed to my blog this year was one of my New Years Resolutions. I started off writing pretty consistently, but then sure enough I began to lose my motivation. Motivation is a very fickle thing, and it is something that companies, human resources departments, life coaches, personal trainers, and so on are all trying to master and figure out. The thing is, it is very difficult to keep someone motivated, even if it is purely for their own benefit.
As a personal trainer, it has often been assumed by some of my clients, that somehow I will make them want to workout. This however, is far from the truth. In reality, I will be of most use to someone who is already motivated to workout. As the saying goes, you can bring a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. There is a reason why this cliche is used so often! If someone is already motivated to workout, the job of the personal trainer is to teach, and perfect that person’s training techniques. Teach them new routines, and help them reach the goals that they were already motivated to reach on their own! The key to any professional who’s job is to help improve the lives of others, like a personal trainer, a dietition, a therapist, and so on, is that they are only of use if that person is already motivated to go through the difficult task of changing their lives! No one can make someone WANT to do anything! Especially if it’s going to be unpleasant! Personal growth of any kind is unpleasant sometimes. It’s hard. It’s uncomfortable. These are what I like to call growing pains. The benefits of growing as a person are tremendous! We are living things, and we are meant to continue to learn and grow! People are the happiest when they feel as if they are living up to their potential, when they feel as though they are living their lives fully. However, this is not the case for a lot of people. Instead a lot of people live a life of complacency, where things are just “fine.” Where they are living on autopilot, going about their daily routines, and nothing really changes. It’s comfortable, but it gets boring, and therefore it gets sad.
This may sound dramatic to you, but it’s really not. If we all took the time to reflect on our lives, there will be something that has always been on your “to-do list” but you can never seem to get around to doing it. This could be finding a new job, loosing some weight, working out on a regular basis, getting out of a unhealthy relationship, going on that dream vacation, the list can go on forever. A lot of times, people live their lives on autopilot for so long, not really taking control over the things that don’t make them happy until their unhappiness is unavoidable. For some reason, a lot of us convince ourselves that we’re “fine,” that maybe having the body you’ve always wanted is not meant for you. That you’re fine with the body you have, or that maybe you can live with the job you have, it’s paying the bills, so you’ll just stay. There is nothing wrong with being okay with your body, whatever it may look like, or for staying in the same position for years, if it makes you happy. But happy, proud, and content, are not the same as “fine.” A lot of times when we avoid the things we know we should change, we lead ourselves to our own “rock bottom.” This is different for everyone, rock bottom for one person could be loosing their job, declaring bankruptcy, having a major heart attack or health scare, divorce, whatever! It may not even be that drastic for someone to realize that something has got to give.
In fact, that is what I’m trying to get us all to realize! When we were children, it was the responsibility of our parents, guardians, and teachers to parent us. Whether or not they were successful at this is another story. Generally speaking, when we were children the goal of our parents and guardians was to nurture us and to force us to do the things we didn’t want to do, so that we could grow into responsible adults. Now, it is our job to be the responsible adults our parents intended us to be, and to take care of ourselves! To make ourselves do the “uncomfortable things” like eat our vegetables, have at least three square meals a day, go to bed on time and to wake up on time (basically set yourself a regular sleeping routine) do your homework aka get your work projects done on time, and the list goes on. In fact, it is quite obvious that now as an adult, your responsibilities have grown. There is more that you are expected to do on a regular basis, but in order to do all of these things successfully, you have to force yourself to do them! No one is going to make you go to bed at a decent hour so that you had enough sleep to tackle your work day, make yourself healthy meals, and to have enough energy to workout, read, or do anything else that contributes to your overall well being, happiness, and growth.
When I was a kid, I lived a very good life. My parents cared a lot about me and my sisters. They put a lot of work into parenting us, because they cared and still care so, so much. I definitely find them to be a little overbearing sometimes, but at the end of the day I know I am very blessed to have them as my parents, because they taught me a lot about being a responsible adult. They would take me to my after school activities like swimming lessons, and dance lessons. They would make me do learning books in the summer, practice my cursive writing, and play educational games like “Jumpstart Grade 3,” all in the hopes that it would help me grow into a better person. Whether or not I always lived up to these standards as I became an adult is a different story. I will say though, that I am the most happy when I feel as though I am being productive. When I feel like I am living up to my potential, chasing my dreams, and kicking butt! When I am going to bed and waking up at the same time everyday, working out everyday, eating well (food that I have made myself too), being fiscally responsible, working hard at my job, reading, writing my blog, and making time for my friends. This is when I feel like superwoman! Like I can do anything, and everything is possible. This is when I am the most happy, the most positive, and the most energetic. However, this is a lot of work. It is a lot of self-parenting, and sometimes I fall off the wagon. For whatever reason, one or two of these items start to slip away, and eventually if I let it go on too long, some other things start to dwindle, and I start to not feel like myself. I start to loose my energy, and my happiness. I start to feel stuck. I’m sure a lot of us know what this feeling is. We have all felt this way when we have stopped parenting ourselves. When we have lost our motivation, and we are no longer forcing ourselves to get uncomfortable anymore. When we stop forcing ourselves to get uncomfortable, we stop growing. Our lives become complacent, and we start to get bored. Your parents aren’t around to sign you up for that yoga class that you’ve been meaning to try, or to talk to your boss about your performance and to ask them for a raise. That is all up to you now. It sucks, but it’s true. If you want something in your life, if you want to be better, or to have more, you have to force yourself out of bed, and to do the uncomfortable work that is takes to get those things.
Believe it or not, eventually the things that you thought we hard or “uncomfortable” will become second nature, maybe even enjoyable? It really is a mindset. Eating well, working out, learning outside of work, these can all be very fulfilling. The only thing is, you have to get yourself to do them. You will never benefit from these things unless you force yourself to do them on a regular basis. Give yourself all of the gifts that your parents (hopefully) gave you growing up. Teach yourself to eat well, sleep well, go to work and be your best, and then participate in extracurricular activities that keep you active, and engaged. This is how your parents tried to make you a successful and responsible adult, someone that they could be proud of. Now it is up to you to do all of those things to make yourself someone that YOU could be proud of!