I can guess that everyone I have ever met can relate to not wanting to do something, even when they know that doing it wouldn't take much effort at all and it would quickly improve their life. All gain and we don’t want to do it! Seems nutty but then I think this must be a part of the human condition, because I’ve never met anyone that welcomes all healthy, positive, fun or good opportunities right away. There’s some element of reluctance in all of us on certain things. Exercise is a perfect example of my point. Over the years I have heard countless people say countless times, “I know it would be really good for me but it’s just too hard to get started,” and go on to say “I know I’ll have more energy and more motivation to do things but I just don’t have enough time,” and go on to say “I know I’ll be so much more productive so I probably will have more time once I start, but I just can’t seem to get started,” and go on and on and on. I’ve said all these things myself without any intention of actually exercising! It's crazy really but everyone does it.
I have a couple theories on why we have this strange unwillingness to do the ‘win wins’. One I wrote about last week. Fear of change. Self centered fear that facilities us metaphorically shooting ourselves in the foot over and over and over again. Fears like: I might not be able to follow through; it might be uncomfortable to change my routine; it might keep me from handling all the things I usually do in the same manner I usually handle them; I might not like it; people might look at me differently; etc. The logical error is easy to identify. Admit it. These fears are ridiculous in light of the benefits we receive in overcoming them. Don’t want to hang out with friends tonight because you’re too depressed and people won’t want to be around you? Get over yourself. They don’t care how you come. They probably don’t even care if you come. You will care. Overcome the fear that you won’t enjoy yourself and that you will regret time missed reflecting on all the horrible crap in your life and the one that says you’ll feel stupid and uncomfortable the whole time because you won’t be able to entertain or relate to everyone like usual. Just get off your butt and go!!! Seriously, there’s nothing to lose but a few hours of self imposed misery.
And that brings me to my second theory on this issue. People are lazy and we just don’t wanna. Pure and simple. I’m not an exception to this at all. When I’m in a lazy zone, it doesn’t matter how little the effort; if it takes effort, I’m out. It’s sad but true. Imagine if when considering whether to do or not do, I counted to three and went on go. I would get to reap so many benefits that I’d simply let pass me by otherwise. Now, I realize the lazy factor is something that is hard to really find one real fix for but try everything and then try everything again. Maybe not one, two, three, go but something! What works for me at one time will not at others and vice versa. Here are some of my efforts:
1. When mornings are rough, I give myself a few minutes to stay in bed from the time I last looked at the clock. I pick an exact time that I must be up by and as that time nears, I begin my own countdown. It’s weird but as competitive as I am, I am almost always up before the clock reads the time I first chose.
2. When I don’t want to exercise at all, I come up with the smallest amount of time I can possibly allow for a workout while still believing I will benefit. I did some yoga this morning but really needed to try some cardio even with my aches and pains. I ran for 2 minutes. Yes 2. I walked for 8 minutes afterward. It’s a start!
3. When I don’t want to go somewhere, I try to judge what an acceptable attendance time is for the event. I usually decide that all I have to do is show up and I’ll be able to leave whenever I want to. If it’s a family deal or an event in honor of something, I usually set an obligatory hour for myself. That’s a really short time frame and I outstay my allotted hour nearly every time. I get there and voila I have a social experience!
4. When I don’t want to go to work, eesh every work day (I’m kidding! It’s not that bad!), I use a laundry list of tricks. One is to just to get there by blocking out all the thoughts projecting how the day will go until I actually arrive at work. Another is trying to place something on the other side of the work day or week that I really want to do. It makes getting through the work day way more appealing and cathartic. Tons of things come to mind but these two are keepers!
5. When I don’t want to try something new, I consider what I have to lose by trying it. Usually the answer is either nothing or a couple moments of my time. It seems silly to give up an opportunity that I might really enjoy when all I’m looking at sacrificing is not much of anything.
You feeling motivated yet?