19 March 2009

Motivation Part One: To thine own self be true.

*In my previous post on weightloss, Joanne and Junior both spoke about motivation. But the contrast between the two when it comes to motivation could not be any different. This post is part one of two on motivation and the weight loss journey.

Joanne is my friend. I have known her for over half my life. She figuratively lives 5 houses down from me. And since the beginning of time (or so it seems), we have tried to loose weight together. From joining Weight Watchers numerous times or joining the gym, we are queen's of the old join and ditch. That is to say, we have mastered the art of good intentions, and perfected the routine of ditching the program half way through. Recently, we both joined WW for the umpteenth time. And through no fault of her own, she broke her wrist slipping on ice while jogging *a pitful of living in Canada* .

In contrast, Junior recently blogged about his goal for 2009 to be fit and fine. And although we don't know each other except through blog, I was immediately motivated by his journey to want to improve myself too.

So this got me thinking. Why is it that with some people, you can motivate each other. And with others, it's a struggle?

Part could be because of the way we relate to weight. Although I have always considered myself big (because of bad body images), the reality is that growing up, I really wasn't. In fact, I was a scrawny sack of bones with big tits and thighs. Junior himself was skinny. So we know what it was like to be skinny. Our weight gain feels like a dissapointment about our lack of control at a time when we should know better. If we could just get our sh*t together and loose weight, we know we will keep it off because we will never want to go back to being overweight.

In contrast, Joanne was always bigger growing up and her weight loss was recent. So her emotions about weight would come from a different perspective on weight. In that she knows what it's like to be big and achieve success, but she is motviated by a fear of failure. That if she doesn't constantly try to maintain her weight loss, all it takes is one slip and because of gentics, she will gain it back like that.

So where am I going with this?

I belive in two things.
  • Not everyone can be a compatible weight loss buddies.
  • Seeking motivation from others instead of yourself will always lead to failure.

I discussed the first point; now let me expand on the second point.

If there is any thing I have learned from my numerous kicks at the can, it's that true motivation can only come within and from things that you can control.

I can't control others. They can't control me. Together we can't control the unexpected life events that interfere with our weight loss intentions.

I mean, Joanne breaks her wrist and I stop going. What is wrong with that sentance?

Is it the fault of Joanne's that I stopped going when there is a Weight Watchers 5 minutes from my office that is open daily? I can't unbreak Joanne's wrist. But like every other time in the past, when my external motivation is delayed, my internal motivation breaks down too. Yes, finding the right program goes a long way to helping. But true motivation means that you find a way to make whatever you are faced with work for you.

The fact of the matter is that when life throws you a curve, you and only you have to have some sort of anchor that keeps you in place when the world spins around you. It's awesome if you can have a friend/friends that motivates you. But if you don't find non-friend motivations, you will always be destined to fail. That doesn't mean that you never stop working out with your friends or sharing your journey. It's just that your friends cannot be the answer to your weight loss journey, nor the excuse for the setbacks you face.

Furthermore, I think that it is better to look to your friends for inspiration, not motivation.

I can never be dissapointed if I am inspired by what my friends are doing. Let the inspiration of their success be your motivation and take the pressure off of them to keep you motivated.

I will post tomorrow about what truly motivates me, and what we should be looking for when we seek motivation.


P.S. Jo and Junior: You both inspire me.


Anonymous said...

Dani, may I just say that I'm loving your blog, and again, I agree with everything. But I really wanted to tell you that you are so right about the friends as "inspiration" rather than "motivation."

See, I recently canceled on a couple of nights out with my best friend because I had to go to the gym and blog and I had no time.

Hearing that, she called me later saying "I so want to get my gym membership fixed [she stopped paying for a time and they discontinued her membership] so I can go with you!" And it was strange because she could have started paying again whenever she wanted to, but seeing me get off my booty was her inspiration.

But for motivation, I have to share this with you and then I'll stop typing. Go to http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/livingold/view/ and watch everything. It will make you want to be the healthiest fittest person ever, while you still can.

Anonymous said...

Aww, thanks Dan... nice post. (I look forward to Part II.)

And you're right: I am all-consumed by my fear of failure. Good or bad, it motivates all that I do.

As an aside, I visited with your mom for a bit yesterday, and she reaffirmed everything by saying that unless we truly are in the right frame of mind for change, it'll never work for us.

All these different weightloss plans may be great, but they won't work if we're not in the right place to allow them to work for us.

And life is ALWAYS going to throw us curves, as we both know, so you're right in suggesting that we need some type of anchor to keep us from spiralling out of control.

Having said that, if I ever manage to get out of this cast (and if my physical therapist gives me the green light), I'd like to start swimming with you guys again.

Even if we bail on the "workout" aspect of it (since we've become incompatible workout buddies, lol), we can always just sit in the wading pool and have water fights with Garry & Steve. Until the lifeguard kicks us out, that is.

Laughter cures all, right??

Dani said...

Ha ha...i'm surprised the pool doesn't have us on some type of banned list for inappropriate use of a water dolphin. *cough*.

That said, it's not that we are incompatible workout buddies. It's just that when we do have interuptions, we both just stop. And that's the part I'm trying to fix. When we do workout Jo, it's awesome right? But just having each other as motivation is not enough. We can also be each other's demotivators. Like how many times do we plan to run, but the second the temperature drops we are all "I don't wanna" (well mostly me..lol).

You and I both know if not for Steve,we would both stay home and eat a pint of ice cream. LOL.

I will post more later, but part of what I will discuss is about planning.

Dani said...

Junior, I'll look at the link when I get home!