It’s been said that human beings are motivated to play any game they believe they can win. The inevitable inverse of this behavioral truism probably reveals much about why many people stop short of making their body improvement dreams a reality. They’re simply not convinced they possess the fortitude or know-how to bring to fruition what they’d consider to be “winning” at this game. Thus, they opt to carry on the seemingly painless status quo of remaining out of shape’ rather than risk what they’d consider as “losing”; another failed diet or unfinished get-in-shape’ resolution. This is often the deep-seated cause of procrastination.
Many times, this mental phenomenon is at the root of what has us put off taking action toward any life-improving yet challenging desire. The need to avoid what we perceive to be possible future pain can create an internal representation that’s infinitely more real than the picture we see of possible future benefit from taking action. It is for this reason that a powerful catalyst is often needed to get us from a “stuck state” into a state of movement toward a goal. And the best catalyst for doing just that has always been and always will be the power of Reasons’.
We need strong and compelling reasons to start anything worthwhile. We need reasons that excite us and override the downward pull of intrinsic human complacency. Sometimes we need reasons that include the benefits to be bestowed upon people close to us. But regardless of the subjective structure or reach of our reasons, we need them to be personally powerful enough to light the fuse of our powder keg of passion that blasts us into movement from a dead standstill. In short, we need reasons that spawn action.
Before beginning the steps toward any challenging goal, you will increase your odds of following through until its accomplishment if you consciously and exhaustively list the reasons you wish to achieve that goal. This can be done in your head or on paper. However, putting it down on paper will ensure the exhaustiveness that allows the weight of your reasons to override any tendency toward quitting prior to accomplishment of what you’ve set out to do. So a goal written at the top of your paper and a long list of the benefits of achieving it written underneath can both ignite and sustain motivational fire.
But what if you take that a step further? What if you write down every reason in the form of positive benefits that will come to you on one side of the paper and everything you’ll miss out on if you don’t accomplish the goal on the other side? In addition, you could write down indirect effects of each of these scenarios. So if your goal is getting your body into lean, hard, and muscular shape, your list of benefits could be like this:
1. More energy
2. More attractiveness
3. Better health
4. Higher self-esteem
5. Improved hormone ratios
However, your list of secondary beneficial reasons that are offshoots of the primary one’s could go on and on:
1. Increased career productivity = more promotions = higher income = better lifestyle
2. Able to attract a mate or re-kindle a flagging relationship = more affection = security.
3. Increased energy/vitality = more enjoyable life = positive demeanor = better relationships.
4. Better performance at everything = more positive impact = more fulfilling life.
5. Better sex = .. Improved sex life.
After writing out as many positive reasons as possible, you can create a lot of “moving-away-from motivation” by writing down the inverse of these benefits. You can make a list of all the great things you might never experience if you don’t get your body in to better shape. While some would argue that we should only use positive “moving-toward reasons”, many of us need the perception of future pain to jar ourselves out of a stuck state of no movement. So let’s just take the first two benefits above and use them as examples:
1. If I never get in shape, I could miss out on all the benefits of higher energy levels. I might lose countless hours of productivity that having more energy could produce. This lost productivity could equate to lost income, lifestyle, health and self-esteem.
2. If I get further out of shape, I could lose the opportunity to attract a special person in to my life, or (if “spoken for”) I might lose attractiveness in the eyes of my spouse or significant other.
I’m sure you get the idea. Whenever you have trouble mustering motivation to accomplish a challenging goal, start accumulating your reasons. Gather and internalize both the positive gains you’ll acquire when you’ve achieved the goal and everything you could lose if you don’t. Doing this can both shoot you out of the starting gate into action and give you seemingly unstoppable momentum once you’re moving.