When it comes to making change of any sort the two words thrown around most are discipline and motivation. We repeatedly hear things like “I have no motivation”, “I have no discipline”, “I know what to do, but I just can’t motivate myself to do it”. If we could harness the energy spent stressing over these two concepts we would completely solve any energy concerns the world might have.
In both coaching and personal training studies we are taught there are actually five stages of change or motivation.
In the first two stages an individual is not engaged at all in the desired activities. In stage three we are performing the desired task, but not to the degree we know or think we should. Stage four is one of regular performance, but where it has not yet become second nature and without proper diligence and review of your original goals you could easily slip back into one of the earlier stages. The final stage is where you have performed the activity for 6 months or more and it has become a consistent and non-negotiable part of your routine.
Unfortunately, mine is the type of business where you literally can not give away your services. If people are not in at least three which in my case is actively attempting to change something about their lives, there is no way you are going to get them to book an appointment. There are many reasons for this, but the biggest is fear. Fear of what they might learn, fear of how difficult it might be, and of course fear of the very change itself. We love our comfort zones no matter how miserable they make us.
If you think about all the talk we hear every day not just from the random masses but also from all the so called experts about how people are lazy and “just do it” you begin to realize that this whole motivation mindset is a terrible disease rampant in our society. It is so much easier to put one big giant label on a problem than it is to actually find the real cause. If we making a sweeping pronouncement that one group is lazy and therefore inferior and the rest of everyone is motivated and therefore superior not only does it simplify it such that we don’t have to truly examine the problem, but it also sets up what in the world of weight loss alone is a $68 billion a year industry.
But what if motivation is not a matter of beating yourself into submission? What if there is a deeper underlying and unconscious experience that so profoundly effects our ability to get up and get started? The truth is motivation or lack thereof comes from a variety of places, but it is not something we can just power through and force upon ourselves. And the more we try and tell ourselves we are weak for being unable to, the worse the situation becomes. It then builds into a self deprecating and fulfilling prophecy that only serves the interests of those making themselves feel better at our expense or looking to make money off our misery.
Rather than chastise and berate ourselves for doing something we are not yet ready for, the first step might be to examine why we aren’t ready and what else is going on in our lives that is adversely affecting our situation. The journey might start with a single step, but that step might be more introspective than physical.