What you can learn from Chris Cardell, J.D. Meier, and Pink.

What Do They Have That The Rest of Us Don’t?

It is human nature to make excuses for not getting something done, or not doing it right, especially when it comes to eating right and exercising.  We don’t have enough time.  We’re too stressed or preoccupied with something else to focus.  We stayed up too late so we were tired.  We didn’t think it was that important.  We lost interest.  We just weren’t motivated.

In my occupation I hear a lot of excuses.  Once in awhile the excuse is legitimate.  But most of the excuses I hear stem from a very basic lack of motivation that is a consistent with being human.  We have freedom of choice and often times we choose the path of least resistance.

Don’t be afraid to jump.

While It is human nature to procrastinate and make excuses, it is not a characteristic that everyone possesses.  I don’t think Chalene Johnson – the creator of Powder Blue Productions , Turbo Kick and Camp Do More-  fritters her time away justifying why she can’t get things done.  Nor does Pink. Did you see her performance of Try at the AMA awards? This is not the work of someone who decided she will start practicing her performance tomorrow.

I’m guessing J.D. Meier, principal program manager on the Microsoft enterprise team – who you will hear more about below – or Tony Horton, creator of P90X aren’t suffering from a chronic lack of enthusiasm.

Going For The Gold

I read an article that Chris Cardell wrote after the 2012 Olympic games in London.   In the article he talked about the greatness of the Olympic athletes and said:

“I didn’t see any gold medal winners who got there by making a vague decision about how successful they’d like to be, putting in the same effort as the masses and not working weekends.

You get gold by getting up when everyone else is asleep and putting in the work others won’t.  Then you do it again and again through rain, sleet, and snow.  You get gold by failing and coming out of that failure with an iron resolve that nobody will shake you.  You get gold by doing the gymnastic leap of your life, with a bandaged broken toe.”

I was so struck by that analogy of what it takes to get Olympic gold that I typed it up, printed it out, and have it on the bulletin board by my desk.  On days when I’m yawning, bored, restless, unenthusiastic, and not giving at least 100% to everything I’m doing, I re-read it and it gives me the push I need to do more.

Why are some people so much more ambitious and driven than others?  That question hasn’t been answered in scientific, logical language yet.  But if it had, would it help our motivation?

A better question is what can we do to get a little bit more of what some of our icons and Olympic athletes have? How can we get fired up so that we go for the gold in our own lives every day?  And get it!

Thirteen Ways To Motivate Yourself and Others

J.D. Meier has a web site, Sources of Insight.com, that addresses all aspects of motivation.  He wrote an article awhile back called 101 Ways to Motivate Yourself and Others.  I’ve selected my thirteen favorite  tips from J.D.’s list to share with you, and have added suggestions to help you see how you can use them to  reach your fitness and weight loss goals.

1.  Act on your inspiration.  You’ve read the joke about the guy who says that whenever the urge to exercise hits him he lays down until it goes away.  There’s a lot of truth to that. Procrastinate long enough, and the urge will subside.  When you are filled with inspiration to get started on doing something good for yourself, get moving! Taking action when you feel the urge to take a walk, join a dance class or throw all of the junk food out of your cupboards will set the wheels in motion.  Tips 2 through 10 will help you keep them turning.

2.  Ask, “What would Tony Robbins do.  (Take out the words Tony Robbins and insert your icon, superstar or mentor in its place.)  I use this one a lot.  On days when I’m stuck and don’t feel motivated to work out I ask myself what would Cathe or Chalene do?  I’m certain even the brightest stars have off days when they feel like just getting by, but they don’t give into complacency and neither should you or I.

3.  Be a force of one. Workout groups and buddies are great, but in the end there is only one person you should rely to get the job done and that is you. Having an independent spirit will prevent you from being persuaded or deterred by the decisions of other.  Take charge of your actions and accept the consequences.

4.  Build your band of merry men – Just because you’re a force of one doesn’t mean you live in a bubble so it’s important to surround yourself with people that are uplifting, positive, and supportive and let the rest go.  There’s an old Indian proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go with a group.” Determine what your goal is and decide if you need to go it alone, or recruit your merry men to join you.

5.  Model the best – “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi.  Enough said.

6.  Play your favorite music – The best mood changer is music.  Never underestimate the power it has to get you and keep you moving or calm you down when you feel like you need someone to peel you of the ceiling.  Lacking motivation?  Put on an upbeat play list and you’ll instantly feel like doing more.  Stressed out? Relaxation music will lower your heart rate and blood pressure and take you back to calm so you can get focused again.

7.  Set extreme goals – I’m the one that is always promoting setting attainable goals.  But those attainable goals should be the building blocks that get you to the Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG).  I wrote an article last year on the BHAG.  You can read it here. Don’t be afraid of setting lofty goals. (see #12 below).  A Go-Big-Or-Go-Home strategy applies here.

8. Don’t be a perfectionist – Why?  Because there’s no such thing and you’ll make yourself crazy trying to get there.  If you eat too many ‘slivers’ of cheesecake, drink a few too many cocktails at the company party or miss your workouts for a week, turn the page. Spending time worrying about what you could have, should have done will get you stuck faster than anything. What you do next is more important.

Be Different. Be Amazing. Just Don’t Be Perfect.

9.  Don’t look for excuses – Excuses are what separates the Tony Horton’s from the couch potatoes. Allowing yourself to find excuses for consistently missing workouts and eating fast food or heat-and-eat stuff will stand between you and your results. Adopt a ‘No More Excuses’ strategy and enforce it.

10. Don’t play the blame game – If you’re applying tip #3 you’ll have no one to blame.  Be accountable.  Take ownership. If something isn’t working, ask why, learn from your mistakes and figure out a better way to get to your goals. When things happen that are beyond your control, accept that as part of life.

11. Create a wall of inspiration –Vision boards have long been used for various reasons, but primarily to provide visual inspiration to help people stay on track with their goals.  Some people adamantly believe that if you create a vision board filled with the things that you want to have or achieve in your life and put it in a conspicuous place where you’ll see it daily, the images on the board will begin to become realities.  Create your health and wellness vision board and hang it in a place where you will see if every day; by the bathroom mirror, near your desk at work, in front of the treadmill.  Put it in a place where you can rely on it for constant encouragement.

12. Don’t let fear stop you – Fear of failure can be terrifying.  If you find you’re afraid to try something new – like learning to hip-hop – ask yourself what’s the worst thing that can happen if you find you can’t bust a move. You’ll look silly?  You might be frustrated, but nothing life-altering will happen.  Trying a variety of workouts like the Barre, CrossFit, or Tabata will get you out of your comfort zone and challenge you both physically and mentally. Don’t be afraid to jump.

13. Just Start – According to Sir Isaac Newton, “a body in motion stays in motion”.  The key is to get started.  The first step you take towards your goal is the most crucial one. It is the one that puts the Law of Motion into play.  Nothing happens unless you make the first move.

Changing Behavior By Taking The Smallest Possible Step

Go For The Gold

In theory, there are gold medalists in every walk of life. Isn’t it time to go for the gold in yours?  A special thank you to J.D. Meier for supplying the tips.  If you would like to read all 101, click here.

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