Motivation (can one really motivate another?)

The year 2016 marks the completion of 25 years of my fitness journey. I like to workout and I also like to talk about it to my friends and suggest it to the ones that I really care about. One of the most common refrains that I have heard is “I know I need to exercise, but somehow I never follow through on that thought. I just never have that strong urge to get out and get moving”.

Sometimes I really think about the irony in that thought. One knows full well that not doing something is detrimental, yet never gets around doing it. Why?

I am of the opinion that there are two types of motivation in this world:

  1. Fear
  2. Passion

Fear: Since ancient times (when we were hunter/gatherers) humans have had this instinct called ‘fight or flight’ built into them. We also sometimes refer to it as fear and it can be a great motivator. For example: the fear of losing one’s job, motivates one to go to an office even though (s)he may not really love the work that it entails. The fear here, is the loss of income that would result in one not being able to meet his/her daily needs and sustain a decent living. Result? Motivation.

Passion: This is the other kind of motivation that stems from pure love for anything. I am sure no one tells Ustad Zakir Hussain every morning to practice playing the tabla. He does it because it is the love of his life. Morning, evening and night he probably thinks about the next laggi or rela.

When I look at myself, there are certain areas where I would count myself as highly motivated (physical fitness being one of them). And there are several others where I would perhaps best be describe as a complete slacker (Washing the car, for instance – I eventually found a service that does a water free cleaning twice a week – I digress a bit).

So coming to the big question – How to get motivated to exercise?

The ridiculously short answer? Figure out why.

We all know that exercise will make us fit and healthy .. yada…yada…yada. No arguments about that. But then why aren’t so many people doing it? I believe they are just not clear about their reason to exercise. And more often than not, that is the only missing piece in this big motivational jigsaw puzzle.

Once you figure that out, not only will you be able to make fitness your passion, you will be always motivated to workout, just by thinking about YOUR reason.

In the worst case, if the passion angle didn’t work for you, lets try FEAR. I think the below reasons are fairly scary.

If you don’t workout, you will eventually:

  1. Get fat, lose muscle.
  2. Your knees will buckle and you will not be able to walk even short distances.
  3. You may contract diabetes (usually also depends on heredity) and let me tell you diabetes is like termite. You don’t know it is hollowing you out until one day, its just too damn late.
  4. Assuming you’re male, you wont be able to “get it up” easily.
  5. You will be a prime candidate for heart disease
  6. You will become a grumpy and irritable person.

Well, I can go on and on, but after about 6 points, I just started feeling too bad, to be the one telling you all this.

In conclusion, all I can say about fitness motivation or any kind of motivation is that “all motivation is self motivation”. You alone can convince yourself to do or not do something.

So, move your ass off the bed/couch or whatever else you’re resting on and workout.

The only bad workout is the one that you didn’t do.


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