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Motivation is a Matter of Perception, or Maybe Perspective


September 2012

Motivation is always a big topic when it comes to getting fit or losing weight.  For many It’s fleeting, elusive, or worse – seemingly impossible.  Whether it’s finding the motivation to get started on a diet or exercise regimen or even finding the motivation to simply get out the door, many find it difficult to overcome which is often followed by a crash – a relapse if you will – back to the old lifestyle that made them miserable in the first place.  There is no doubt, this is a tough place to be, the proverbial rock and a hard place.  There is hope, because motivation is all about perception or maybe better, perspective.

If I had ever waited for someone to inspire me or to motivate me to walk out the door with a pair of running shoes on, it would have been a long wait.  I got my motivation from looking at a gut and the start of a double chin and literally saying (out loud), “well, I guess you’re gonna get fat”.  An hour or so later, on the way into work, I thought back on that moment and my response was something to the effect of, “Are you freaking kidding me?”  Technically, it was quite a bit more towards NC-17 than that.  You get the picture.  The point is, once I realized I’d given up to the dark side I had all of the motivation I needed.  I’m not going back to that place again.

The trick is, it’s all about “being done”.  Be done with the excuses (that not even you buy).  Be done with the notion that some mystical power will swoop down and save you from…you – because when nobody’s around, you’re all you’ve got.  This isn’t to say that friends can’t help, that they can’t give you a little boost of motivation to beat the dreaded “I don’t want to”, because they can and do, but if you constantly go back to that well, sooner or later you’re done for.

So, what do I mean that motivation is a matter of perception or perspective?  It’s very simple but extremely difficult to grasp:  There isn’t a lick of difference between someone who has no motivation and someone that’s brimming with it, with one important exception.  The person that has the motivation refuses to give in to that voice that says, “go ahead, you’re tired, sit back down on the couch and veg for the next three weeks”.  Most everyone else says, “OK”.  I don’t always have stellar motivation either, but I’ve run and ridden enough that I don’t need to hit the road – I want to.  Back in the day, I’ve had more than one friend talk me into going for a run, and I’ve done the same for each of them.  We’re not perfect (well, maybe one guy – Grateful Jim I’m looking at you), but what we do have is the ability to recognize that the lack of motivation is all in our head, and most importantly that the melon committee member that proposes the sit in can be beaten.  This is why it’s darn near impossible to help someone else, because there is no way one person can beat the conversation in another’s head.  That’s why motivation appears to be so simple for one person but so difficult for another.

One fella knows how to say, Oh yeah?  Screw you, take this…  While the other barely puts up a fight and plops back on the couch.  There’s your perception and perspective in a nicely wrapped package.  You want motivation?  Learn to beat your melon at its own game, otherwise go ahead and blame it on someone else.  After all, it’s gotta be someone else’s fault that you don’t want to go for a bike ride or a jog.  Good luck with that, and please, tell me about it – after I’m done with my ride (says to self;  Screw you, take this…).

So here’s the experiment:  If you’re lacking the motivation to exercise, put on your running shoes.  Velcro your mountain biking shoes.  Torque down your cycling shoes or head over to the gym and put in ten minutes.  If still don’t feel like it, put in another ten minutes.  If you’re still not feeling it, turn around and go home (or wind down for 20 minutes if you’re in the gym – after all, why only put in 20 minutes when you did all of that just to get over there?).  I’ll bet you feel better when you’re done – you just went for a 40 minute run and your endorphins are tearing about your body as fast as your blood will carry them – and you won.  There’s your motivation.



  1. Kimberly / says:

    Great post! I linked to this on my Power of Run FB page. I really love this part, “This is why it’s darn near impossible to help someone else, because there is no way one person can beat the conversation in another’s head. That’s why motivation appears to be so simple for one person but so difficult for another.”

  2. Great post man. I totally agree with Kimberley, that line sums it up.

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