Motivation can be a slippery thing to hold onto. It keeps shifting and altering its nature. Sure, the foundations of it stay the same; health, vitality, energy level, and the granddaddy of them all, if we're to be honest with ourselves, vanity.
All right, I know that word holds some negative connotations for most people. I once even got into a flame war on an online fitness board because I dared to say that “We don't work out to impress other people in the gym; we work out to impress people outside the gym.” Some people took a great deal of offense to me suggesting that most of us are in the gym because we want to look good. Personally, I don't see anything wrong with a touch of vanity, at least not in this context.
Hey, if you don't want to admit it publicly, that's fine, but if admiring your progress in the mirror, sucking in your gut to see what you'll look like a few pounds lighter, or God forbid, flexing a little bit in the privacy of your own home, helps you keep going back to the gym and making better dining choices, then I say embrace the phrase that as helped me keep moving when all I wanted to do was sit down & crack open a beer: Vanity is my Sanity.
On top of the foundation motivations, there is usually other factors that help keep a sense of urgency to our goals. It can be seasonal things like swimsuit weather and party season, or can be more event-based, like weddings, reunions, or vacations.
Just about every year, I attend a festival back east with a whole lot of my old friends. In June I step out of the still cool Seattle weather, and enter the usually summary temperatures of rural Maryland in the company of several hundred people, including dozens of friends whom I generally see only once a year. So that means from late winter through spring I have the knowledge that I'm going to be suddenly plunged into a week of swimming and being scantily clad around people who haven't had the benefit (let's call it benefit for the sake of my “vanity”) of seeing any shifts in my physique happening gradually. That means just a few pounds, one way or the other, are very noticeable to all of them. At least that's the way my self-conscious self sees it. That's a big hearty slice of motivation that fills up a full quarter of my year.
This year however, I'm not going to the festival. I have an opportunity take my vacation in Japan, and I couldn't pass that up. So there's been no concern about my friends seeing my belly a little softer, or my arms to little thinner this season.
What do you do when a huge motivating factor is suddenly removed? How do you keep the KFC & video games at bay then?
I suppose I should have some answer for you right here. It would be nice if I can lay out some sage advice, but all I've been able to do is dig deep, and push myself forward on determination alone. It hasn't been easy, and I haven't been perfect, but I keep pushing. It's the best thing come up with right now.