Friday, July 15, 2016

Motivation is for Losers

Total click-bait title, I know. I'm not calling anyone who misses a workout a "loser". Most runners - and athletes in general - already beat themselves up plenty without having insults heaped on them. I know I feel that I suck if I only run 13 miles when I was planning 20, ninety degree weather notwithstanding.

For purposes of this post, I'll call a loser someone who gives up on their goals, or doesn't even try to accomplish them in the first place. A very common excuse for this is lack of motivation. They "lose" their motivation, and don't know how to "get it back."

Here's a secret: I have no motivation.

I have a huge heap of little projects I've started on in the past few months, and I'm not working on any of them right now. They're all there, waiting for me to get back in to them, mocking me. But I'm just too tired. It's a million degrees in my bedroom, so I don't get any sleep at all. I exercise every single day and am perpetually fried. And if I run in the heat or don't eat enough, I have to deal with dehydration and/or low energy.

So yeah, my Pokemon Go ripoff called Cthulhu Go is a total nonstarter.

Gotta catch 'em all!

So you might be thinking, "ok, you're not doing those things because you lack the motivation." No. I'm not doing those things because they don't matter.

At least, they don't matter enough. Because if something is important, you'll do it. Period.

For those who complain that they don't have the motivation to exercise, I have to ask: How do you go to work? I definitely don't want to get up in the morning, brush my stupid teeth, feed my pudgy cat, put on my dumb clothes, drive through obnoxious traffic, and then sit at a desk and pretend to do whatever I'm supposed to be doing. If you're super excited about work, then that's awesome, but I'm guessing most folks aren't.

And what about all the other stupid crap you have to do? How do you do your laundry? I did my laundry yesterday. My clothes aren't organized. I have to take all the clean clothes out of the hamper from last time I did my laundry. Then I have to hunt down every errant sock, buried under piles of work pants (totally not put away in drawers) and old receipts. Then I have to drag all that junk down two stories and... anyway, you know how to do laundry. It takes more than zero seconds.

How do you get your car fixed? Do you just say, "oh well, guess I'm walking from now on." No, you climb into your busted a$$ vehicle, chug along at 10mph to the car-fixing-place, give them a bunch of money from the job you're totally not motivated to go to every day, and then come back two days later, get your car, and buy it ice cream. Except cars don't eat ice cream, so you eat it. How tricky of you.

Of course if you do walk, you might catch some critters!

You do those things because they're important, not because you're motivated to do them. I exercise every day because it's important to me. I sure as heck don't want to exercise. I also don't want to write this post, but I'm doing it anyway.

I get up every day, brush my stupid teeth, feed my pudgy cat, work out, and then do all the rest of the stuff I totally don't want to do. Then after work I exercise again. I go running even before I eat dinner. Because it's more important to me than eating (and I wonder why I struggle to get enough calories). And I do all that every weekday.

I didn't always. I used to only exercise sporadically, whenever I felt "motivated" to do so. I also used to be chubby. Back then it wasn't important. I knew, vaguely, that exercise was good for me. Most people "know" that they should exercise. But it's not a priority for them, and it wasn't a priority for me. Which meant I didn't do it much.

So whenever someone says they're not feeling motivated to exercise, what they're really saying is that it's not important to them. And I realize I sound like a dick right now. Most of those folks will say, "it is important.... I just can't get myself to do it!" Recycling is also important, but nothing bad will happen to you if you just throw your cans in the trash.

You have to feel that importance down to the bones. Missing a workout should give you the same feeling of panic that waking up half an hour after you're supposed to be at work does. So how do you do that?
This old pic of me is also panic-worthy

For some people it's something huge. They have a heart attack, and really really really don't want to get another one. Nothing like that happened to me. I just decided one day that I wanted to get fit, and to stay fit forever. I guess you can say vanity is what did it for me. And I refuse to go back to the fat me. But I can't say what it would take to make it super important to you. Crushing self-loathing maybe? Just kidding.

You do have to be somewhat insane. I definitely am. But then, going to work every day is kind of insane too. There are plenty of people who don't work at all, and they get by just fine. They have a nice trailer. They even have a TV so they can watch Maury Povich with their five kids. I'm stereotyping a bit, but you get my gist. You work because you enjoy the lifestyle it affords you.

Cheesy pic to represent freedom? Success!

I exercise because I enjoy the lifestyle I gain from it. I like being strong and fit. I like being part of a community and having like-minded (crazy) friends. I like knowing that I can push myself every day and conquer challenges other folks wouldn't even try. I enjoy the sense of power and control I get from striving forward no matter what. Partying and drinking booze never gave me the sense of freedom that I have now. Freedom of body, and freedom of spirit.

I'm not willing to give those things up. I don't need motivation to exercise. Because not exercising is scary to me. What would I do if my sense of power suddenly dropped away? The world is a scary place. Really scary. There's been some stuff in the news recently that's downright terrifying. I'm sure you've seen it. Going out and hitting the pavement is a shield. It protects me.

I don't mean that I'm oblivious to the world's ills. I'm quite aware of them. I'm just not afraid of them. I drive myself past the point of pain every day. I can handle pain. Pain doesn't scare me. And I don't want to live in fear. I don't want to go back to living in fear. I want to be able to do things every day that are so hard that I feel like I can handle anything by comparison.

The anger and hatred you see out there, it comes from fear. I don't want to be angry, and I don't want to be hateful. I want to be open-minded. I want to understand and appreciate people without judgment. I want to look at a situation without bias. It's hard to make yourself do that. If you live in fear, it will taint everything. You can try to be thoughtful all day long, but if you're not used to facing stress, pain, and brutal challenge every day, your caveman brain will take over. It's fight or flight, plain and simple.

I totally burn out that fight or flight instinct every day. All that's left is calm. I'm too tired to be scared. I just let life wash over me. That's what we're here for, to experience life, good and bad.

So far it's been pretty awesome for me.

Do you dare clicketh?

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