Thursday, August 11, 2011


I've mentioned before how I love surrounding myself with positive, encouraging folks -- losing 175 lbs. is too hard without a support system. Well, I met a guy about six months ago at the gym who totally inspires and encourages me. I've come to admire and adore him. I've written about him before "Do What You Can" fella.

Yesterday, I received a beautiful, insightful email from him on the topic of motivation. I would like to share it with you as it piggybacks off of yesterday's post, "Don't give up on yourself."

So here it is: from Stephen Nelson aka "Do What You Can" fella

I have been told by many that we can not motivate others – and I agree.  But, we can discuss what tools we use to keep ourselves where we want to be, and hope others find something that works.

And so, this is a random meander through my thoughts on motivation as I stretched this morning.

OK then, let’s start with motivation for stretching:  I feel better when I get done.

Really short term.  And effective.

When I was in college I made a rule – I didn’t have to study evenings on days that I took a test.  OK – made it pretty important to get homework done ahead of time, but being able to go visit my lady friend (who was at another university some 35 miles away) was a strong motivator.  And, with time, I came to look forward to taking tests.  See – “test” equaled “quality time with my lady friend”.  Coming to view tests as a positive thing has served me extremely well – it is amazing how much better one does when one is not nervous about a test – is in fact excited about the test.

 So, while my first example reflects being honest with oneself (you really will feel better if you start your day with stretches) my second involves a bit of prevarication – overall it was sometimes a real challenge to make my test night off rule work – but it made me look forward to taking tests.  And resulted in better grades.

I call this my lying to myself rule.  Or maybe just misleading myself.  It leads to my next example – I told myself, when I was doing the 8 to 5 routine (30 years as an engineer) that working out was what I did everyday for me.  Every day.  For me – not for someone else.  And, whilst true, the corollary was the import thing – No one was going to take it away from me.  Everyday I worked out at lunch.  Which meant I missed a lot of the noon group sessions with people who’s waist lines grew every year.  Don’t get me wrong, I was not a body builder or anything like that – I was just a skinny engineer who was reasonably fit.  And who had a reputation for not “doing lunch”.  Hurt my career – likely.  Hurt my fitness – like NO!

And today – when I retired 3 years ago, I gave myself a couple of presents.  One was the right to work out 2 hours each day (OK – I take the weekends off to recover) and the other was getting to play the hammered dulcimer.  If one looks at such things as a right – as something we entitle ourselves to do – an entitlement – and then we treat them as rights or entitlements (as in not letting silly things get in their way) – at least for me, I have a better chance of keeping them going.  

And, hey, if one does in fact keep them going, one can actually do a really great job of improving ones strength and physique, as well as making beautiful music.

Funny that, when I feel frustrated by something, I often find myself reflecting on how much I have improved my bod, or how much I love the music I now play, and feel pretty darned good about myself.  These two “entitlements” have become two significant sources of satisfaction in my life.  People need to realize – satisfaction, happiness, they come from doing – not from sitting on ones backside.  I suspect satisfaction is going to be a recurring theme in my writing – I suspect you have heard the expression “curiosity killed the cat”.  Interestingly this in only the first part of an important truism – the second part is “satisfaction brought he/she/it (politically correct equivalent of “him) back”.

Lying to oneself – hmmm – if it means convincing oneself that working out and practicing a musical instrument are what we are going to do – I’m all for it.


There you have it folks. I hope you enjoyed his words and perhaps even feel motivated.  He's contemplating starting his own blog. He so gets my vote to go for it!

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Obesity Epidemic is REAL!

The evidence of an epidemic is everywhere.

· Two-thirds, more than 190 million Americans are
overweight or obese.

· Obesity-related diseases are a $147 billion dollar
medical burden every year.

· Childhood obesity has tripled in the last thirty years

Source: CBS News