Updated: Sep 22
...and how your personal demons can make you better.
Hopefully, everyone is motivated to exercise or go to the gym because it’s a rewarding, life-extending, life-expanding experience that makes them as happy as a unicorn on a rainbow.
But if we really look at the behaviors and habits of successful people, we often find something very different:
They’re motivated because of some very negative thoughts.
What really drives people to succeed?
Some of them may be trying to live up to the expectations of a domineering parent, even if that parent died years ago. Some may have been bullied in school, and their desire to succeed may be rooted in sticking it to those jerks from 8th grade. Others may be driven by a sense of guilt or even fear.
And when it comes to success in fitness? Well, maybe all those people with great bodies and impressive PRs are driven by negatives as well. That guy who hates the fact that he’s short may have decided that he’ll just be wider and stronger than every bellend who ever teased him about his height.
That woman who thinks she’s unattractive? Well, she can’t change her face much but she can damn sure change her body. That drives her. And her ex can suck it.
That guy who never misses cardio? Maybe he loves it. Or maybe he hates it, but he watched a parent or sibling die too young of heart disease, and he doesn’t want his kids to experience that.
And for those who’ve been fat in the past, there’s no greater motivator than not wanting to get fat again. They’ve experienced the effects of being overweight: feeling bad, being socially invisible, being chosen last in sports, being humiliated while taking off their shirts at the pool… And by God, they’re NOT going back there!
These unpleasant feelings motivate us. They drive us. And quite often these negative motivators sure do work. They are the screeching internal alarm clocks that get us out of bed in the morning.
THERE’S A BETTER WAY
With hope, eventually getting your workout in becomes an act of love, a reward rather than the temporary tamping down of a fear or a punishment.
Because, despite those inner demons, there's nothing wrong with you.
You are not broken.
We talk about people starting on a fitness journey because they think there's something that needs fixing, they're overweight, they're unhealthy, they're unfit, they feel tired all the time.
As fitness coaches, we’re guided to delve into people’s pain points, to use guilt and shame to have clients commit to something and focus on all the negative aspects of what's going on with potential clients physically, emotionally, and mentally.
It’s wrong. You are not broken.
There's nothing wrong with you.
When you start your fitness journey you’re starting point is just a result of decisions and choices you've made in the past.
Now that you've recognised some of those things have led you to where you are, the decision to change is not about fixing anything or because there's anything wrong with you.
It's more about changing and being better than you were before.
When you are “trying to fix something” we start to look at fitness as a punishment. Something to make up for all those bad decisions.
Diets are always seen as restrictive.
There always seems to be a lot of effort and hard work involved.
It's all very negatively focused, it's time to turn that around.
Time to focus on fitness and health for the positive and the benefits you'll get from it - not the restrictions or the things you might miss.
Consider the different way of life you'll have
an improved way of life,
the more energy,
the more confidence,
the healthier you'll be
Start being motivated by the positive rather than being put off by the negatives - there aren't any negatives about being fit and healthy.
FITNESS IS NOT A PUNISHMENT
Fitness is not something that you're doing because you've done something wrong.
Fitness is doing something because you love yourself,
you care about yourself
you care about your body,
Think about how we treat our pets, our homes, or our cars, we look after them because we like them.
We love our pets, therefore we wash them, groom them. We feed them good quality food, we take them for walks - because we love them, not because there's anything wrong. Yes, you'll scold them if they make a mistake, but then it’s back to cuddles on the couch.
Look at our homes. We're proud of our homes so we'll decorate them. We'll put extensions if we need to improve something, we'll make alterations to suit our lifestyles to make living in them more enjoyable. We’ll have gardens, and show them off. But if there's anything wrong, we’ll fix it because we want our homes to be better.
Think about your car….If you’re a bit of a car guy, you look after that car. You polish it, you'll maintain it well, you'll keep it fixed, because you want it to last a long time. Our car is often seen as out status - again, we like to show it off.
Why don't we do this for our own health?
Because we're looking at health and fitness as a negative.
When in reality, it should be seen as a positive and something that is good for us, and that we enjoy, and we're going to reap the benefits from it.
PUT YOUR DEMONS TO WORK
Ideally, these ugly motivators are transitional – you use them for a while until the positive stuff becomes the primary reinforcement, until the good habits solidify, until you do it for joy. If there are demons riding around on your back and whispering things in your ear, go squat those bastards!
Being motivated to get fit and be healthy should not be built on guilt or pain or negatives.
It’s time to stop seeing fitness as a punishment.
It’s time to stop thinking diets are just about restrictions
It’s time to stop thinking that it’s all too much like hard work
Time to start thinking about all the positive things and about the benefits you'll get;
the healthier lifestyle;
the happier persona;
the greater confidence
the more energy,
more productivity at work.
That's the stuff you should be focusing on, not trying to fix something that's broken.
You're not broken.
There's nothing wrong with you.
Start appreciating that and then start looking after yourself for the RIGHT reasons.