The problem with motivation is that we think we need it. Seriously – if you’re doing what you want to be doing, where is the need for motivation?
We have a way of thinking about these things wrongly. You only need to motivate yourself to do something when it’s contrary to your nature. Why would you do such a thing?
We have this expectation that the way to get what we want is by doing what we despise.
Why we think this is a good idea is beyond me – this can only destroy ourselves by eating away at our very essence.
That’s the thing with lifestyle changes – when you base them around deprivation and restriction, and behaviours that you do not enjoy, one day you’ll wake up with a life you do not enjoy, that does not nourish you, that is in no way satisfying. And you’ll wonder why you feel so bad when you’re doing all the right things.
Obedience is the enemy of creativity, freedom, autonomy, confidence and character. It is the enemy of growth and development.
We are right to rebel.
Calling a diet a lifestyle change doesn’t magically make it not a diet.
But when you make lifestyle changes that you do enjoy, when you add things to your life that you like, one day you’ll wake up and you’ll have a life that you actually like. How is being strict, disciplined or motivated going to lead us to a life that we like? And when we’ve become so good at being disciplined and motivated, at deceiving and deluding ourselves, how do we reconnect with what we actually want?
How do we stop pandering to societal demands when we’ve given so much over to them already?
Trainers talk about motivation in terms of obedience. A client comes to us, says they want to lose weight, and our attempt to motivate them to ‘do the right things’ is nothing more than an attempt to make them do what they’re told. We take on responsibility for them, because we are both arrogant and insecure, and we too, do not want to feel like failures. Like everyone else, we are loathe to believe our teachers were frauds and charlatans, so instead we feel like we are fraudulent, and this legacy is passed down indefinitely.
We don’t want to feel like we’re failing, like we’re the one idiot who doesn’t get it. And so we buy the lie, and the more reason we are given to doubt it, the harder we cling to the dogma that exploits us. The louder we yell.
So – the question about motivating people is usually a big one at schools, because nobody knows the answer and nobody tells the truth: we are not interested in motivation, we are only really wondering how to make people complacent, compliant and obedient.
The judgement implicit in the question is so massive we can’t see it – and nobody stops to ask why? Why should we try to motivate anyone? Because the truth is so obvious:
You do not need motivation when you’re doing what you like. It is totally redundant.
The desire to train arises naturally as a response to the direct physical experience of the benefits of exercise.
What is the physical experience of the benefits of exercise? It’s joy.
It’s not some vague goal that exists in the future that you might one day achieve - there is not satisfaction in that. The true benefit of exercise is immediate.
It is the physical experience of satisfaction, of freedom, of the joy of physicality that motivates us to move. And when you’ve experienced it, it’s not called motivation any more, it’s called desire.
Here’s a fucking thought: telling people that they are not alright and that they need to be changed kills the motivation to exercise. How the hell is that helping? Unless you secretly don’t want other people to exercise, because you like feeling superior.
You only need motivation when you’re trying to make yourself do something you shouldn’t be doing in the first place – like participating in your own exploitation and debasement.
But I want to be thin, and I need motivation to stay the course.
There’s something wrong with your goal.
If it causes you distress, if it makes you feel bad, if you feel exploited, depleted, if you feel hungry all the time, if you don’t ever feel hungry at all, if you have cravings all the time – it’s not good for you.
It hasn’t been about health in a long, long time. It’s about money, politics and obedience. And I’m done with it. Never again.