It sounds like an easy question, right? Unfortunately, when most of us really think about it, we have no awareness of what motivates us.
At first, I thought I wanted to be skinny. But, I realized that wasn’t it. If I really just wanted to be skinny, I wouldn’t have been eating so darn much. Let’s be real, torturing your body just to be skinny is a bit superficial. I suppose I can give myself a pat on the back for not being so shallow. To say, “ I am motivated by the desire to be skinny” sends the wrong message to yourself. It says “I am not good enough as I am, I have to be skinny.” Let us speak some truth: I really don’t want to be skinny that badly. I don’t want it bad enough to starve or take diet pills or run 30 miles a week. I just don’t.
So, what’s next? Is it fear? Am I afraid that if I don’t look a certain way that I won’t be loved, that I won’t find a mate, that I won’t be the envy of all the other women? At one point in my life, (from about 14 – 33) this was true. I was very afraid and ruled by the ginormous fear that I was not good enough unless I looked like the girl on the magazine or in the movie (which, incidentally, would never happen – EVER. Not even the girls in the magazines look like the girls in the magazines)
In the end, while we all have experienced negative motivations, they never last. For emotionally healthy and self-aware people, motivations rooted in something negative will always be short lived. Ultimately, we aren’t going to beat ourselves up forever.
How do we build motivation that lasts? (Disclaimer: some readers may find the answer extremely “cheesy and cliché”. If this is you, I wish you butterflies and rainbows and all things frilly and cute)
The foundation of motivation that lasts is love. We exercise because we love ourselves. In the same way our bodies were meant to eat, sleep and have water, our bodies were meant for movement. You don’t go AAALLLLL day without eating, do you? You don’t go AALLLLL week without sleeping, do you? Apply the same mindset to activity. You can’t go AAALLL day without exercising, can you?
Do you love yourself enough to take care of yourself? Do you love yourself enough to have functional friendships? Do you love yourself enough to rest when you’re tired? Do you love yourself enough to find a job that makes your heart sing? Do you love yourself enough?
Every act truly motivated by love is sustainable. It is healthy and productive. We recognize those actions motivated by love because they feel good to our souls. Let’s go do more of that.