Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Power of Motivation

Photo Credit: Universidad Polit├ęcnica de Madrid via Compfight cc
Mornings like this happen to me every once in a while. Normally, I get out of bed and head straight to the blog, full of fire and creative energy.

Today, I sat and stared at the screen, read through a couple other blogs, played some Hearthstone (new release happened yesterday), and just generally dicked around.

What, you may ask, does this have to do with gastric surgery/obesity/health/etc?

On the face of it, not much. But what happens if the thing I am supposed to be doing is not writing, but exercising? Or prepping a meal for the household? Or facing yet another day post-surgery, when it seems like every single person around me gets to do what they want, and eat what they want, while I am so restricted?

How, in short, do I stay motivated?

For a lot of people, photos work. When they are down about what they are having to do to stay healthy, they take a look at a pre-surgical photo and decide they never want to look (and feel) like that again. An example:

Please forgive my low-rent side-by-side. A Graphics Artist I am not.

Later in life I can use BOTH of these as motivators, I suppose. Even at 24 pounds down, I still look like I have a loooong way to go. Maybe I can post this on the fridge wherever I live to remind me to make better food choices. And on my phone, to remind me to buy better stuff at the store. And on my computer, so I won't get lazy.

Emotional motivators work too - many of my fellow bariatric patients tend to use their families as motivators: "I have to stay healthy so I can provide for my family...so I can see my kids grow up...so I can play with my grandkids."  You get the picture. While many of us tend to be a little lazy when it comes to self-care, very few of us can deal with the idea of letting our loved ones down.

Not enough? How about some goal-based motivation? A bunch of people on the message boards and blogs I follow set themselves an athletic event in the future as a life goal demonstrating their success at weight loss - usually a 5K run. Others choose a specific outfit that they want to be able to fit into at the end of their weight loss - a dress, a swimsuit, maybe a tailored suit. (Mine is a pair of 38-inch waistline button-down 501s.) A tangible, measurable thing that can be focused on as the goal. Reach that goal? Awesome - create a new one. You can keep that going indefinitely.

Writers are frequently given the same piece of advice on how to deal with "writer's block": Sit down and write something. When you are lacking motivation, do the same thing - take that first step into whatever it is you are struggling with. The second step will be easier. Same for the third. Eventually, you will have gotten through the very thing that initially seemed like an impassable obstacle. Remind yourself that you are doing this for your own good, focus on your motivation, then move forward. It is as simple (and as difficult) as that.

Now Trying To Find Motivation To Wash The Dishes,

- Hawkwind


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