Sometimes people ask me how I get motivated. How did you get motivated to lose weight? How do you motivate yourself to exercise? What motivates you to keep eating healthy? And doesn’t the word “motivate” start to sound really weird after you keep saying it over and over again? Motivate, motivate, motivate.
The only answer I can come up with is, “Screw motivation.” If I waited until I was motivated to do my dishes, I’d have plates stacked up on my counter so high that I couldn’t open the microwave. Which I currently do. I’m never motivated to do my dishes. Yet I turn on the faucet and break out the dish soap anyway. It’s not because I want to have fun with bubbles, it’s because I have to. How am I supposed to make my morning oatmeal if the microwave has more restricted access than the Mexican border? My only other option would be to go to Goodwill every week and buy more plates, which I’d have to wash anyway. That store is dirty, y’all. I’m never motivated to do my laundry either, but I separate my whites from my darks and run to the bank early on Saturday morning to get a roll of quarters anyway. It’s cheaper than buying new underwear every week.
Maybe the reason so many people wait so long to eat better or exercise is because they are waiting to get motivated. When you hear about people’s weight loss stories you expect to hear about the time they had a huge revelation that kicked them in the fat pants. You want to hear about the time they couldn’t fit in the roller coaster or the time their uncle died from heart disease. But why wait until you’ve wasted $40 bucks on an amusement park ticket or you’re buying huge black pants for a funeral? You know what you need to do, so do it. We often wait for motivation to find us, but we need to go out and find motivation. It’s doubtful that you will get to the bottom of that pint of ice cream and find the message “You need to lose weight” written on the bottom.
Of course, like so many things it’s a lot easier to type about that concept than to actually apply it to life. I use a to-do list program online and there are several items on there that have literally been on it for years. I swear, I’m going to go to Europe before I’m 30 even if I have to sneak into a cargo hold and live in a shipping box for three weeks to get there. I’ve even added the item “Clean up to-do lists” to my to-do list in some circular, self-fulfilling list-making need. It’s hard to get unstuck. But it takes even longer to pull your feet out of life’s sticky gum on the sidewalk if you wait for someone else to come along with some Goo-Gone.
I get so excited when I read on other people’s journals that they are starting new jobs or moving to new cities or taking trips because I know how scary it can be to even think about taking such big steps. But it makes me happy to see people getting unstuck. I might even say it motivates me.