Self-Motivation

Duke of O has an interesting comment that bears some expansion.  How to get self-motivated.

I think it’s fair to say that I’m an outlier when it comes to motivation.  My wife thinks it’s borderline OCD, though in fairness it has more to do with anxiety & stress management.  At work, I take spontaneous decisions multiple times per day.  Each one is based on the available facts, my memory, expert advice, and finally the analysis of the long-view.  Most people can understand everything but the long-view.

Sure, a decision today has an immediate impact, but what about a few weeks from now, or a few years?  How does it impact me, the people close to me, and the people outside my circle?  How does it impact other decisions?  These are all items that go through my head and are incredibly hard to shake.  I’ll give an example, home renos.

For a long while we wanted to knock down a wall and open up the kitchen.  Sounds simple enough.  After I looked at all the details it actually turned into a whole floor reno.  I needed to re-arrange the kitchen cabinets, get a new counter, open up another wall to run pipes & electricity, move some switches, re-enforce an adjoining wall, change the flooring in the kitchen and remainder of the floor to match, which also joined into a bathroom…it was never ending.  What seemed like a simple job turned into a 6 week reno.  None of it was surprising, as I had thought it all out, but it took time.

How does this link to self-motivation?  I think long term and I think in terms of return on investment.  I worked for about 4 months on a particular work project from my basement. I spent a few weeks at the cottage too, working at odd hours to get it done.  I knew that if I crammed as much work as possible into the right time space, I could get double that in free time later in the day.  I made sure that the environment was conducive to that as well, so I eliminated any distractions.  I basically set up the perfect environment for me to succeed, removing any excuses.

Same goes for exercise.  I just don’t have time to physically travel to and from the gym.  The closest one is about 5 minutes away.  Including the driving, changing, and shower, I lose at least 30 minutes of my day.  And that’s not counting the waiting for a machine/weight to free up.  What would take me 60-90 minutes in a gym, I can get done in 45 at home.  That’s massively motivating.  The equipment I have, and the setup I have, make it extremely easy to get going, listen to music or a movie, and get the workout done.   I’ve removed all excuses from the equation, with the exception of “I’m too tired”.

And that’s the hardest one because it’s often true.  So I use various applications to keep me honest.  My wife uses social groups.  Getting a notification on the phone/tablet that it’s time to workout is motivating.  Seeing the progress between workouts is even more motivating.

Self-motivation is like a chemical reaction.  You need the right conditions and the right ingredients to get it going.  And once it starts, it’s usually quite hard to stop.

2 thoughts on “Self-Motivation

  1. I gave up on the home gym idea and renewed my gym membership two days ago.

    Since then I’ve trained everyday, and seem to have found my mojo once again.

    I think my mind associates home with rest and relaxation, and I’ll never be able to get myself to train hard in my own house. By contrast when I go to the gym I can focus my mind on working out and just get it done with a minimum of fuss. I lose a bit of time due to the commute, but it seems to be the only way I can maintain a regular strength and conditioning program.

    Like

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