Two Main Desires
The other day I was reading an article with an interview from a pretty well known trainer (John Romaniello) and he said something that really resonated with me. He said, we mainly do things, especially in the realm of fitness for two main reasons, Sex or Self-Actualization. Now, obviously these may not be the thoughts that you have in your head when you walk into the gym for the first time and decide to work out, but in the end, everyone I’ve seen that continues on an exercise plan does it for those two reasons, albeit in different shades.
Think about it. Why do you want to lose weight? To look good? Sure. To fit into those “skinny” jeans? Absolutely. But what are those reasons for; to “feel better about myself.” Again, sure, but the bottom line is that an increase in confidence leads to better sex with your spouse, mate, and/or hook-up buddy OR it at least helps you have more potential opportunities to have sex with someone who could one day be your spouse.
Sex is such an under-rated motivation for action, especially with exercise. The bottom line is that everyone in their adult lives want to be considered “Sexy.” And as such, you can often find that extra motivation to either get to the gym or push yourself a bit harder when you’re there, because of either “eye candy” (yes, it’s linked to sex, even if you don’t want to do anything) or because you can imagine your partner enjoying your body that much more. It doesn’t have to be the central tenet to your motivation, but it can play a part in giving you that extra “umph,” that extra motivation when you need it most.
The other reason is self-actualization. Who are you? What are you capable of doing, of accomplishing? We may not all be Bill Gates or Oprah, but we can still take direct control over our lives and build something that can be called uniquely ours. We don’t have to be controlled by our genetics, but can take control. We don’t have to be controlled by our past events, but can shape, literally shape the body that we have. We don’t have to be controlled by our current situation, but can change it by changing our bodies into something which, when we look in the mirror, we realize is of our doing and our doing alone. Of course, you may read books or received inspiration from other people, but in the end, no one else did the movements that created your body. No one else didn’t dive into the carton of ice cream, but instead resisted the urge to not buy it in the first place.
Too often, we shade these deep desires with weaker versions of themselves and they lose the tenacity, the rawness and visceral touch that moves us to not only take action, but to reach further, go harder and give our best each and every time. It’s these desires that reach to the core of who you are and help you “see” what you can become. These desires help us to hope more, to desire more, to reach into yourself and achieve what you want, more so than allowing yourself to stagnate.
You know, if you read self-help books, they are always telling you to “visualize” what you want, but they always say to do it before you take action. I think they’ve always gotten that part backwards. You don’t visualize what you want without taking some action beforehand. If you can combine that small action to your inherent hope and desire for what you want, then you’ll automatically start to see what is capable. When that occurs, you start to “see” or “visualize” what you are capable of doing and becoming. It is then, that you’ve got momentum on your side and the only thing that can derail you at that point is your previous limiting beliefs. The more you do and the more results you see, the more you are allowed to hope and the more you hope, the more you can “visualize” what you want. This can all occur without negating the work that you’ll actually have to put in in order to get your desires (because you’re taking the actions necessary).
So then, how do you allow yourself to be free enough to actually start towards self-actualization? Keep it simple. Why do you want to start to exercise? Write down at least 10 reasons. What is holding you back? Write down everything you think. Now go back and count how many reasons that you want to start exercising. If you have less than 10 reasons over what you think is holding you back (aka, you have 15 reasons to exercise and 10 not to), you better come up with more and stronger desires. If you don’t research has shown that you will most likely stop exercising as soon as an obstacle or two comes up.
With that said, I would also say to start a journal of those reasons to exercise and combine it other small wants and action plans. List every reason to a specific action you can take now in terms of exercise. I want to lose 50 pounds. Behavioral goal – to workout 5 days per week. Just one behavioral goal. Get started on that one behavioral goal and typically you start to build momentum towards that larger goal. If you want better relationships, then confidence typically helps. To garner more Confidence take a Behavioral Goal of, Working out 5 days per week (and don’t forget to brush your teeth). The bottom line is that almost everything you want can be positively linked to exercise. Want to become rich, be healthy? Those that are healthiest in this country are also the wealthiest (probably a reverse causation with that example, but whatever). Want more self-confidence? Lose weight and feel great that you’ve taken control over your body. That increases your self-efficacy, or the trust you have in yourself, which directly increases your self-confidence. Want to have better sex? Workout. Want to see what you are physically capable of doing? Working out will help get you there. Want to shop for nicer clothes? Workout and those clothes will look even better on you. Want to raise a good family? Workout and show your kids that you care about being a positive influence on them by sticking to something that increases not only your lifespan, but the quality of your life.
Anything you can possibly want, can be started or improved with an exercise routine. The power you gain over yourself has the ability to spill over to EVERY single other aspect of your life. So take 30 minutes or even a whole hour and do the exercise above. Use those two main desires, Sex and Self-Actualization, to give you that extra motivation to stick to your exercise program and get closer to achieving both of those desires. Be honest, be open and be ready to get momentum on your side.