Change Your Thoughts: Renew Your Motivation
It’s been over a month since I last published a piece on here, and every time a hiatus like this occurs, I am compelled to explain myself as if anyone even cares. We tend to feel responsible to explain to people what’s going on in our lives when we have decided to make it public. Social media influencers complain that they shouldn’t have to tell their followers about a recent break-up, fight, etc. that happened – but when you choose to tell your audience about your private life, they wanna know everything, duh? And *especially* the juicy stuff – #WeWantTheDrama.
Yet, I am no celebrity (shocking, I know), and I unfortunately have no juicy news to disperse. It is the most common answer that many of us refrain from stating since giving a legit excuse seems more acceptable. I just didn’t feel like writing. I read a great book (highly recommend), “The War of Art,” which states the most relatable problem humans have: starting is the hardest part. Whether it’s quitting smoking, going to the gym, writing, reading, etc., the first step (which would seem the easiest) is the hardest. You would think that just getting dressed for the gym would be easier than finishing sprints on the treadmill, right? Nah, cause once you are there, the rest is taken care of – the motivation kicks in, adrenaline is pumping, and your body is taking care of the rest once you surpassed the mental battle. Sometimes, you are just in “that mood” of not wanting to do anything, not wanting to put in effort to something else when you are already feeling exhausted from your regular day-to-day responsibilities. “I already worked for 9 hours, stood into a sardine-packaged subway train drenched in sweat and B.O., and now you’re telling me to go lift 150 lbs of weight on my back?!” Yeah, I’ll pass. The more you think of it, the more it sucks.
People ask me all the time how I have the motivation to workout, how I have the motivation to read, etc. I think a lot of people who struggle with “getting started” look at bodybuilders and freelance writers and think, “I can’t believe they look forward to doing that every day.” No no no no. Gosh, we hate doing it, just like you! Okay so I don’t hate writing or dislike reading, but I have the same “ugh, I just don’t wanna” feelings as you do. I honestly can’t even remember the last time I genuinely wanted to go workout. I would love to just go home and lay in bed and binge watch Dexter every day, but this contributes 0% to the goals I want to accomplish in life. I’ve learned that looking at these certain behaviors as part of your lifestyle rather than end-goals has been extremely helpful in diffusing that “ugh, I don’t wanna do it,” feeling.
For example, most people hate working out. Working out takes effort, sweat, money, etc. It’s easier to just go home and watch Netflix all evening. Who would choose to pant for breath and pick up 100s of weights than lay down in their cozy comforter? People who dread working out typically have an end-goal that they want to accomplish; lose 30 lbs, get rid of their love-handles, tone their arms, etc. When you look at it this way, it just creates a superficial coating around exercise. I workout to look good, yes – which is normal. However, when I look at working out as a lifestyle that will benefit my future health, it’s easier to accomplish. God knows, everyone knows I cannot wait to have kids. In order to have kids and be around for them as long as possible, I need to be healthy. I need to have a healthy heart, healthy blood sugar levels, healthy blood pressure, etc. Now this doesn’t mean I have to workout 5-6 days a week at 5 a.m., this just means that I should try to get to the gym 3-4 days a week and get in an hour of exercise. That’s it. Nothing extreme, nothing too painful. When you look at it this way, 1 hour 3-4 days a week to benefit your future health doesn’t seem as intimidating. You see America now, and everyday there is a new headline of how ‘The US is the fattest country’ and ‘More People Diagnosed with Diabetes.’ Like Jesus Christ, if this isn’t a wake up call, what is? Does anyone want Diabetes? High Blood Pressure? A stroke? I would assume no. So what do you do? You put in the work NOW. You start taking care of yourself NOW so you don’t have to be on 10 medications later. It is never too late to start, but it can be too late to start caring.
Let’s look at another example: reading. I posted an Instagram photo of all the books that I have read over the past year. I got one comment that said, “How do you have the motivation to read, I can never get started and I buy so many books!” Listen, I love reading. I love getting so wrapped up into a good book that you genuinely feel upset when it ends, or you have tears rolling down your face as your flip through the pages. But there are some days when I rather just sleep on the train rather than read. There are some days where I rather watch Netflix than read a book. Yet, when I tell myself, “Just read 15 pages, then you can go back to doing whatever you want to do.” And almost every time, I end up reading more than those 15 pages. Starting is the hardest part. Opening the book is the first step. Also, every time I end up reading or working out, I have a surge of endorphins. I feel good. It’s not that I feel better than if I didn’t read or workout, but I feel happy that I did it – I feel positive and satisfied. In the end, you will feel like it was worth it.
So whether it is working out, reading, writing, yoga, meditating, etc., remember that the hardest part is just the first step. The hardest part is all in your head. I am obsessed with psychology, and I’m constantly reading books about people’s thought processes and behaviors, so it’s biased for me to say that every mental battle in life will be harder than the physical battle. However, when you think of the worst moments in your life, were they physical happenings or emotions/feelings? The worst moment in my life was when I was in the hospital to see my dad as he was battling leukemia. Physically, I was fine, but that was the absolute worst day of my life. Seeing him so weak and fragile shattered my heart. I was feeling sad, depressed, and hopeless. It was the feelings, the emotions, the thoughts in my head that were so damaging – so hard to recover from. When you learn how to deal with your thoughts – how to combat certain emotions and negative sayings in your head – you can overcome nearly any challenge in life.
It’s all about the mind. There is a quote I saw on a Nike poster once, “Everything you need is already inside.” All you need to get started is to train your thoughts to look at things differently. Once you start viewing these “things you should be doing” as “things to help better your health/career/life,” it will most definitely increase the frequency of you accomplishing them.