This is a Part 2 of a six-part series that began last week, when I posed the question of breaking out of Plateaus.
When I use the word Motivation at this moment, I am specifically seeking my personal reason to get off my lazy butt to do the other four elements of 1) proper rest, 2) nutrition, 3) stress management and 4) exercise.
Why even bother? The reality is that it would be easier to simply go with the flow. I could revel in short term gratification and deal with the consequences later. After all, why put too much into this, I could be dead tomorrow. Then again, I could live another 20 or 30 years. If that’s the case, it would be much nicer if I weren’t dragging this body through life, but instead find myself being propelled through life by it.
So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Psalm 90:12
I have always loved that verse from the Book of Psalms. It reminds me to savor today, for I may not have tomorrow. Then again, I should live today wisely, because I may also have many years before me. It forces me to examine both sides of the same coin.
It is far too easy to get sucked into the vortex of careers and chasing affluence. The stress of keeping a job, paying a mortgage and two cars, raising 2.5 kids and financing their activities, is enough to give you a heart attack. My first heart attack was in 1991 at 40 years old. I was ripe for another 20 years later in December 2011. I knew where I was headed if I didn’t “number my days, and apply my heart to wisdom”. I was gonna go the way my parents had a few years earlier.
Since my readership is primarily Masters athletes, I know many of us have already laid our parents to rest. I remember the frustration of my parent as their health declined and they became increasingly incapacitated. Pain brings too much sitting. Too much sitting brings weight gains. Diabetes, increased medication, side effects must be counter-acted by addition meds. Over medication brings on dementia.
I know these scenarios are familiar to many of you. My parents were of a generation who trusted government, insurance agents and doctors. They would not challenge their deity, er, I mean authority. Why would they? Mom and Dad grew up at a time when doctors practiced the conventional wisdom of the day. Over the past 20 years, however, medical science is growing at an exponential rate. If your Doc is over 50, and he hasn’t buried his face in newly published books, or studies on PubMed, he is likely working with an obsolete toolkit.
That is why I choose to practice medicine without license; on myself, and myself alone. I am defiant about my health and well-being. I refuse to abdicate responsibility for my health to any doctor. I respect my team of doctors, but I do not believe they are alway up to speed on medical research, technology, nutrition or exercise. I use them as consultants and I choose my course of action, with them, or without them. I am not being proud or boastful, I simply realize that I know my body better than they do.
So my primary motivation is to take care of this marvel, called the human body, so it has the opportunity to carry me upright and vibrant, into my nineties, if God will continue to bless me with days.
I also do not want to be a burden to my wife, my son, or my grandson. So I need to take care of myself by remaining active, yet while being active, I must refrain from being reckless. It would be a crying shame to break a healthy old body by doing something stupid.
That is the Motivation of WHY. But I also recognize the Motivation of HOW?
I realize the long term motivation can be quenched by the frustration and discouragement of daily life. At these times intrinsic motivation is weak. That makes one very aware that extrinsic motivation of like-minded people goes a long way in keeping one accountable to honoring your own goals. That is why CrossFit has been such a beneficial activity for me over the past two years.
My HOW also must be sustainable. I am not seeking short-term goals for the sake of impressing my friends, or to bolster my ego. My desire is to be in this for the long haul. I want to live to fight another day.
I believe the WHY motivations that I mentioned may be somewhat universal, but I recognize my HOW motivations may not be. My motivation is not to have Six-Pack abs and a 300 pound deadlift, but I could experience those things as a by-product of the bigger goal.
A delightful book that will open your mind to motivation is Drive by Daniel Pink. Anyone who seeks to understand motivation, whether in self, or in others, would find this a worthwhile read.
While reviewing my notes and highlights, I stumbled upon a little nugget that I found to be food for thought: “Those with a ‘fixed mindset’ believe that their talents and abilities are carved in stone. Those with a ‘growth mindset’ believe that their talents and abilities can be developed. Fixed mindsets see every encounter as a test of their worthiness. Growth mindsets see the same encounters as opportunities to improve.”
I see everyday as an opportunity to grow and improve. What motivates you to keep on eating well, staying fit and pursuing health? I’d love to hear what I may have overlooked.
Thanks for reading.
Next week – Part 3 – Rest and Recovery