MOTIVATION. 1 a : the act or process of motivating b : the condition of being motivated. 2 : a motivating force, stimulus, or influence (as a drive or incentive)
What I have discovered about myself is that with the proper motivation, I can do so much more than I would normally believe I can. But I've also learned that my energy tends to fade and dissipate as my motivation for doing becomes less evident. This leads to inconsistency in effort and subsequently in results. And as badly as I might want it mentally, without some external form of stimulus it becomes a desire absent of the necessary action.
So I considered what things I'd done when I seemed to be fully inspired to action even in spite of any hindrances or excuses available to me. This pondering brought me back to something I have used before and somehow for unknown reasons had stopped. I am referring to the power of vision. Seeing what it is that you desire, does something to your thought process. It relays something to that part of us that needs to believe it is possible. In my experience repeatedly looking at, listening to your objective feeds an internal drive and passion. It will not allow you to forget what you are working towards.
For me on this journey to completely transform my physique I began to look at images of men who have the look I'm after. I watched fitness videos of others working out and even transformation videos of men similar to me in age and/or physique who've accomplished their fitness goals. At times this even led to feelings of frustration, that I was not doing as well or better than some of these people or just better in general. But even this became a source of motivating fuel. Because I got angry and resolved to work harder and keep pushing forward.
Another way I continue to reenergize myself is to read, watch or listen to words of motivation. I mean we know these things already that we hear, but we need them to be top of mind to have any inspirational benefit. You see fitness is about everyday, every week...doing things right. It's about eating properly, drinking sufficient amounts of water, getting enough sleep and exercising intensely. Each of these factors must be done continuously, consistently over and over, day in and day out to get optimum results. Any let down in one for too long a period and results suffer. I believe motivation works much the same way. You need it daily, weekly over and over again. Like food it only last until you have used up what it had to offer you. Sometimes a particular motivation gets you through a week, sometimes only a day or an hour.
My conclusion then is this. To stay motivated I need to find it again anytime I find myself lacking motivation, looking for it wherever It might be found. I must pursue it like a necessary nutrient for life. What we need for motivation can be different daily or weekly but that doesn't matter, the fact is we need it. This is the mental aspect of any endeavor. Can you stay inspired? Can you find a way, any way to keep yourself stimulated, worked up and motivated to get it done. You can do it if you find your motivation. I can do it if I stay motivated. Let's do it! Maybe we can be part of each other's motivation. If I've managed to inspire you leave a comment, you may never know how much it will motivate me.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Friday, October 17, 2014
Flashback to the winter of nineteen eighty, Fort Leonard-Wood Missouri commonly known as "Ft. lost in the woods." it's Four a.m. and I find myself in front of our barracks in nothing but combat boots, boxer shorts and a T-shirt,
along with the fifty or so other members of my basic training platoon.
All of us lined up in rows of ten in what might be known these days as a plank position but referred to then as the "front leaning rest." The starting position for pushups that we'd been ordered into by our Drill Sergeant with the command, "front leaning rest position, move!"
There we were in the still dark of the early morning hours stretched out on our toes and hands in our skivvies. The wind cutting through our skin in short order bringing on involuntary shivers. My mind wandering and I recall thinking, "how long would this go on today?" While Drill Sgt. "Bruno" (as we called him) took a stance on a wood platform that stood directly in front of our platoon. The platform was about four feet high and Bruno stood about six foot six. I had to fully extend my neck looking up to see his face as he began to count off cadence for us to do pushups.
One, two...three, four. he counted as we in unison pushed up and down again to the tempo of his counting. On and on, up and down. I looked up at him trying to make eye contact, hoping he'd see in my eyes something that would cause him to pity us and stop this madness. Until finally he counted "two, three, four, rest!" But still not permitting us to stand up we trembled, shivered and grunting in pain on the ground in the starting position, our arms threatening to give way as Bruno paced back n forth on the platform looking intently at us, as if to dare anyone to relieve their arms by collapsing to the ground.
He then started what had become an all too familiar period of question and answers. "Charlie team!" He bellowed. "Yes drill sergeant!" In unison we yelled in response, our voices echoing off the building walls in the quiet morning air. "Are you motivated?" He asked at the top of his lungs, leaning back as if to suck in as much air as possible, before coming forward and bellowing out his question. "Are you motivated?" "Yes drill sergeant!" We screamed as loud as we could. Understanding from previous days enduring the same experience, if our reprise was lacking in enthusiasm the torturous exercise would continue. "I don't think your motivated, Charlie team!" "Ready, exercise! One, two..." As in submission we were again doing pushups. This would continue until Sgt. Bruno was convinced he'd inflicted enough pain on us or maybe he'd been sufficiently amused by our struggle. Sometimes after I could make out a slight grin on what otherwise was a stoic and chiseled face that seemed to don a permanent scowl.
This came to my memory this past week as I struggled with finding the motivation to go on with my workouts and diet. After six months of this it has really gotten a bit old. I skipped a workout this week and just couldn't get myself to put in the same effort I'd previously been giving. I needed to find my motivation. The fact is anything intensely challenging requires a motivation that is equal to or greater than the challenge.
What would keep me pressing towards my objective? Why did I start this journey in the first place? Why, I ask myself? As I search for the spark to propel me, I realize again if I am not sufficiently motivated I will never push myself beyond what is comfortable. Do I really want this? Is the prize great enough to move me to press through the pain? I ask myself in the words of Sgt. Bruno, "Are you motivated?"
Thursday, October 9, 2014
Ignoring the critics
One thing that continues to cause a considerable amount of frustration on this journey of mine to weight loss and fitness, is the critics. The voice of critics that I hear regularly from within myself as well as from outside constantly work against any progress.
You see, once you set out to accomplish anything significant (in this case a body transformation) all kinds of critical voices seem to appear. You hear it from the well meaning person, whom as soon as they discover what your doing wants to tell you, how you "should be" doing it. Then there are the people who verbal encourage you but their body language says, "right, good luck with that." And even the person who is already fit and brags, flaunting their success to boost their own ego while unwittingly (I assume and hope) deflating yours.
It is strange how I was able to exist in a blissful ignorance concerning my weight before I decided to make a change. But now the mirror, my clothes, everything seems to shout derogatory criticism at every turn. The doggone size label on my shirt seems to be reminding me, "yeah your still fat 2x man!" It doesn't celebrate with me that I'm down from a 4x. The mirror shows no mercy and quietly ignores the over sixty pounds I've shed to date, it just stares back at me displaying every flaw and ounce of unwanted fat, silently mocking me.
In all this I have had to learn how to ignore these critics without silencing them, or embracing the feelings of self pity and despair. I cannot afford to not be conscious of them, doing so will put me right back into the delusional state of mind that allowed me to become too big in the first place. Denial, denial...no, it is not just a river in Africa (forgive the cliche'). So I must remain conscious and listen to what the critics are telling me.
These critics real or imagined, animate or inanimate are going to be the fuel for the fire of my passion. I will silence the critics each one before this race is over. These good words, determination, consistency and diligence are the tools I will use. I'll press on until the only voice I hear from critics big or small, real or imaginary are simple, profound and consistent in their refrain, WOW! Look at you!
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
“…The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong…” Ecclesiastes 9:11
After nearly seven months of exercising regularly (at least three days a week) and managing my diet, I find myself struggling with the all too familiar feelings of frustration and discouragement. You see, I saw myself being further along by now. I thought this would be a point where I could lift my hands in exultation and celebrate what I had accomplished. Instead, I find I still have a lot of work to do and I am not nearly finished.
Underestimating what it will take to accomplish any goal or finish any journey will result in these feelings of being let down and disappointed. At first I could not understand, with all the weight I had lost and all the inches gone why I didn't look the way I'd expected myself to. After pondering this a while, I came to a new understanding of how things had spiraled so far out of control in the first place.
I am not sure why or how it works, from a strictly scientific point of view but I know it happened to me, or maybe it's better to say in me. It is clear to me now that I was in much worse shape than I had initially been willing to accept. My conscious mind had somehow been lying to me all along. Maybe it was the avoidance of looking with a critical eye in the mirror, or the loose fitting clothes that (at least in my mind) hid much of the bulging areas of fat. Whatever contributed to it, my self-image that I projected clearly did not communicate to me an accurate portrayal of my physical condition and health. As a result, now after over six long months of work I am coming to a realization that the distance to my goal is much further away than I'd previously thought.
Maybe it's a survival mechanism to not be so self critical when it comes to our weight or physical conditioning. Certainly it helps with our self-esteem and ego. But has no value in aiding our actual survival but is actually contrary to it. So facing, embracing, well (at the least) accepting this newly found reality has me struggling with setting and getting my mind around a new long-term perspective. What was, at least what I thought was a year long journey has turned into what will be a three-year adventure. At least as it stands now, I believe it will take at least three years to experience the physical transformation I've envisioned for myself.
Wow, three years! This could be enough to take the starch right out of me and for a minute it seemed it might do just that. But I've come such a long way in-spite of the fact it's not where I want to be or thought I would be. So instead of quitting, crying or remaining frustrated I have decided to celebrate what I have already accomplished. To reset my goals, reestablish my resolve and determine to do it all again. I have set out to repeat over the next six months what I did over the past six. Having established a long-range mindset to do it again and again, until I finish this course.
There are some powerful and empowering words that I will keep with me to help on this path. Words like faithfulness, consistency, diligence and patience will be my companions and my cheerleaders. So I am starting here. Right here, where I am. You see it doesn't matter that I have not reached my goal. What matters is that I am still reaching, determined, focused and alive in every moment!
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
BROKENNESS: Defined it means having been forcibly separated in pieces, fractured.
Broken things must be held together with an outside substance or force to maintain any usefulness. Things like glue, tape hold them into shape and allow them to continue to be used for their intended purpose. In this same way, God’s children experience brokenness that puts them in the position of needing God to hold them together in order to be useful in His kingdom. In this age of prosperity teaching and feel good preaching this kind of message is not very well received. But nonetheless it has been and is the common experience of any who will be used in the kingdom of God.
First in order to truly become instruments useful to the father we must learn to be dependent upon him. Our natural bent towards independence and self reliance must be corrected. It is only when we have come to a place where we have an absolute necessity for God that we are able to walk in absolute submission to Him. There is no room for two heads or two wills in the life of the believer, and we will not allow God to lead unless we are certain and clear of our vulnerability and need. The fact is only people who have experienced brokenness will be used mightily in the kingdom.
Secondly, in the crucifixion of brokenness is the character of a person refined. Things such as selfishness, envy, self-pity, pride and others narcissistic character traits are only purged in the crucible of the fires of brokenness. This leads me into the next aspect and benefit of brokenness.
Finally, it is only after experiencing brokenness that a man is baptized sufficiently in humility to cause him to come before the living God in an appropriate mental and spiritual posture. Falling prostate without any ability to lift oneself, wholeheartedly seeking The Lord is the benefit of being subject to the examination of brokenness. It is only then we become spiritually mature enough to be useful in the kingdom.
We are only as useful to God as we are obedient to Him. Whether He allows difficulties to arise in our family, finances, or health, He does so out of love. The ultimate purpose is that we become spiritually mature and effective for His kingdom.
It is only when a horse is broken and separated from its independence will it allow you to ride it, and only then it becomes useful for it’s master.
“For you do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; you are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” Psalm 51:16-17