January 1st is about the time of year that the motivational images start flooding the interwebz.
Your gym’s Facebook page lights up with motivational quotes, pictures of hot models doing strange yoga poses, or flexing their dehydrated muscles, and other such ‘motivational nonsense.’
Ya I said it: NONSENSE
First, research shows that so called ‘fitspiration’ doesn’t ACTUALLY work. It tends to make people more dissatisfied with themselves — although muscular images are less of a problem than ‘thin’ images at least with women.
Second, most people confuse motivation with inspiration, and even if these images didn’t make people feel worse about their own bodies, they would only provide the latter.
Inspiration is temporary and rather superficial; it doesn’t last. So you have to ride that wave when you can.
“Real” motivation comes from within, it’s deep, lasts indefinitely and there isn’t a damn motivational image, quote, tweet or facebook post that will ever give it to you.
But Darren, why are you being such a debbie downer, these images and quotes make me feel really good about myself.
Really? Do they? Do they really?
Ya unfortunately that’s kind of the point. They make you feel good in the short term, until reality sets in. Short term burst of inspiration, then most of us feel bad about not making it to the gym, not eating the way we should or not looking like that person in that image.
Then hopefully, you take that self-hate or loathing and sign up for the weight loss program, the nutrition delivery program or gym memberships you saw online; it’s called marketing.
I’m not saying it’s bad if it gets you moving and enhances your life in the long-term but you should know what’s going on right?
This is why companies post millions of them the first month of the year when everybody is trying to get their fitness ambitions back on track; they make you feel good about yourself, and they grab your attention in the Internetz, so that marketers can market fitness ads to you every where else.
Heck they probably even have Adidas, Nike, Reebok, or some other major ‘fitness’ brand right there in the image.
The bigger problem is that tomorrow, you’ll just need another hit of inspiration, or you’ll feel miserable.
Sound like something else you know? An addiction maybe?
Ever find yourself hunting down images to find a little spark? Next thing you know, you’ve wasting 30 minutes just trying to pump yourself up?
The moment you hit a rough patch and these images don’t cheer you up, what do you do?
Try this little test, look at the image at the top of this post, does it make you feel jacked up and ready to exercise?
Are you now suddenly in the mood to go to the gym and get shit done?
Good, go to the gym immediately, tell me how you feel right before you go and exercise; do you still have to talk yourself up?
It’s because your initial hit of feel good hormones you had originally from viewing the image has worn off.
It’s this externally driven, inspirational, marketing crap that leads to sayings like:
‘When you want success as badly as you want to breath, you’ll be successful.’
‘Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.’
‘If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying!’
If you don’t train like a Navy Seal, you must be lazy or soft right?
If you’re not hitting big weights, throwing kettlebells around like a badass, running hard, giving 110%, why even bother?
I’m honestly tired of watching, reading and listening to this bullshit, and it’s the same story, every January.
How about this, why don’t we just try to bully fat people into being skinny? Sound like a good idea?
Of course not!
I hate to burst everybody’s reality filter bubble, but if we were all supposed to be tough as nails Seals, we would be. If we were all built to perform like all-start athlete’s we would. If we were all physically designed to have shredded six-packs, chiseled backs and shoulders we would have them by now.
So everybody I would like your attention for just a moment, as I have some very important late breaking news…
You’re Not Lazy
You’ve never been lazy.
You’re not lazy, and I don’t think you should be spoken to as if you were, in fact I don’t think you should accept this crap as fact in the slightest.
There is a new unwritten stereotype that shows like the Biggest Loser (and other knock-offs) perpetuate that makes the general population just assume that if you struggle with your weight, you’re fat and therefore lazy.
Your perception is lazy.
In a great article on the Huffington post, a doctor recently spoke out against the Biggest Loser and it’s hate mongering ways, and I would take it a step further to say that it’s making the problem worse, not better. As we separate rather than cooperate on solutions for the obesity epidemic.
What to Do Instead
1 – Find EXPERIENCES that inspire you (see this post for suggestions) instead of ‘things’ (images, quotes, etc…)
2 – Hang out with people who inspire and motivate you (this does not include ‘Social Media Friends’ you need to be in-person)
3 – Make Inspiration Ritualistic
— Meaning: if you choose to use an image, quote or something similar, make it the same and make it a routine to refer to. Make it an ‘if-then’ proposition, if I’m looking at this image, then I should use that inspiration to go to the gym immediately.
4 – Choose ‘Ritualistic Inspiration Practices’ that play to your sense of internal motivation
— Meaning: if you want to engage in repetitive inspiration practice, choose external sources of inspiration that tie into your values, purpose, etc… (see this post)
5 – Always remember that you’re not naturally lazy
At least, not any more than anyone else is. Lazy is just a temporary feeling, you with have moments when you feel lazy and moments where you feel inspired, this is a natural cycle.
Realistically laziness is often just an excuse for having different priorities. You didn’t go to the gym because you’d rather be doing something else, not because you’re lazy.
If you didn’t cook at home, it’s because you wanted something else, not because you were lazy. Lazy is only a feeling, it doesn’t define a person.
At the end of the day, it’s really important to realize that you’re not lazy — and the people that work with you, or for you are not lazy either…
Then leave a comment whether or not you agree or disagree with me.