Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What Bathing and Motivation Have in Common

“People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily.”- Zig Ziglar

For years, probably since I was a teenager, I’ve jotted down inspiring quotes -- in my notebook, on Post-it notes, on colorful construction paper I tacked to the wall. These words moved me to action, soothed my spirit, built my confidence, and encouraged my endeavors.

However, it never failed that, over time, the same quote that used to make me give pause in the morning and reflect, the same song that used to brighten my longer had the same effect. In some cases, there was no effect at all. This bothered me. If it did it for me then, why doesn’t it do it for me now?

I’ve since realized that, the goal itself -- no matter how worthy, wanted, or planned -- is often not enough motivation in and of itself to get you where you want to go. Therefore, not only do you have to plan the path to the goal, you have to be keenly aware of when it’s time for new motivation.

We know that Iyanla book or P90x DVD or vision board doesn’t hit the spot anymore. But we keep flipping through that book, thinking about inserting that DVD, and tracing our fingers over those magazine cutouts -- hoping to revive that loving feeling. It’s like trying to squeeze more juice out of a dried up lemon.

Those items served their purpose, and they may be able to rejoin you a little further down the road. But right now, you desperately need something fresh because you’re thisclose to falling off the wagon.

We understand this when it comes to church. No matter how moving, soul-stirring, and emotional the message is on a particular Sunday, after a week of ups and downs and frustration, your cup needs to be refilled the following Sunday, with a different sermon.  

The same goes for losing weight, saving money, keeping your relationship together, excelling in your business or career, or whatever else you’re trying to do. The goal stays the same, but we need to be conscious of when the motivation is waning and actively search for more -- and hopefully before the well dries up.

You don’t expect what you ate on Monday to energize you on Thursday. To be at your top energy level, you have to keep eating. The same goes for motivation. You have to keep feeding it, and you have to feed it a variety of foods.

Prepare for this. Indulge it.

When I had my elliptical, I’d jump on and grab whatever fashion or fitness magazine I’d picked up recently. That magazine -- and imagining myself in the different outfits -- worked for, ehh… maybe three more workouts. After that, I needed a new magazine with new outfits. Or I watched video vixen-laced videos on YouTube. Or downloaded some more music. Or bought more workout gear and cute sneakers. Whatever it took.

Now, notice all that stuff I just mentioned. None of it technically has anything to do with a fitness plan. A fitness plan calls for 45 minutes of cardio, four times a week. Stay away from carbs, sweets, and fats. Drink plenty of water. What messes a lot of us up is we run off with our plan...with no plan to stay motivated. We assume the fantasy of a six pack, or being fly by our birthdays, or being debt free is all we need to pull through those weak moments. Or worse, we don't anticipate the weak moments at all.

Starting your own business? A copy of Entrepreneur magazine delivered to your house every month might do the trick. Get the subscription. And if three months down the line  those glossy pages make your eyes glaze over, don’t beat yourself up. Get a different subscription. Go to a conference. Take in a seminar.

Motivation is a series of actions that you ride to the wheels fall off. I no longer say what I’m going to do from now on. I’m doing whatever...until I need to do something else.

Everything’s going digital, and so has my inspiration. While I still post quotes on my walls occasionally, like the average smartphone user, I check my phone several times a day. So what better place to rotate some wisdom?

Here’s the latest. The day I look down at this quote, say these words under my breath, and don’t feel the jolt I need to resist a nap and keep handlin'’s on to the next.

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