If there’s been any sort of theme to my posts this month – and I’m not really saying that there has been – it’s been the subject of “trying to stay motivated”. Because, you know, December. Dreary and dark early and generally blah. (Although not cold, oddly enough. I’ve been able to wander about in a t-shirt for most of the month.)
But I digress. And I’m not here to whine and kvetch again, because that gets old fast. No, I’m here to remind myself about why I do this. Why I’m working on improving my diet and exercising more. Hopefully, you’ll find it useful as well.
Back when I started, my weight loss efforts were driven by fear. I didn’t want to be diabetic. I didn’t want to go blind, the way my mother is. I didn’t want to have a heart attack, and leave my wife and son. But… that’s not what is still driving me. Oh, I still think about it. I still worry about it, once in a while. But it’s not the driving force in my life.
Once the fear faded, my wife and son became more of a motivation. I was doing it for them. I wanted to be able to be a more active father. I wanted to be someone who could be there for him as he got older, and someone who could grow old with my wife, and someone who would be there to help spoil my grandchildren someday. Fear was replaced by that desire.
But, you know what? That’s not what’s driving me, either. Don’t get me wrong, though. I do want these things, still. They’re just not the core reason, any more. (Does that sound terrible? I hope it doesn’t.)
I’ve begun to notice that my core reason for continuing to improve my diet and exercise is me. I feel better. I’m happier with myself than I’ve been in a long time. I have more energy than I’ve had in a long time. I’ve started to like myself again, because I’m taking care of myself. And I’ve discovered something that I never expected.
I enjoy this.
Oh, I complain from time to time. My legs are still sore, once in a while. When I’m halfway through my exercises, I hate them and wish I could stop. And sometimes I really resent my 2,300 calorie daily budget. But, on the whole, I enjoy what I do. I look forward to getting up from my desk and going for a walk on my break. I enjoy thinking about what I’m eating, and looking for new and creative recopies (and, sometimes, finding out that favorite old recipies aren’t as bad for me as I thought they were). I enjoy the fact that I can still eat what I like, as long as I do so in moderation.
I think all of this is the secret, if there is one, to staying motivated. Getting to love your goals, not simply looking at them as that thing you have to do. Goals aren’t a chore, and the steps you take to achieve them aren’t punishment. They’re self-discipline, things you’ve chosen to do in order to achieve a thing you want. Sure, they can be difficult. But what thing worth having isn’t difficult to obtain?
Now, if I can just convince myself that I want to go walking in the evening when it’s cold and dark out…