I wanted to call this post “Inertia,” but decided that will have to be a subheading instead – and I figured more people want to hear about motivation rather than a physics term that I find interesting.
Ah yes… motivation – that somewhat elusive state I hear so many talk about.
I’ve heard fitness and life coaches talk about it – A LOT.
I hear my friends tell me how they struggle to do the things they want to – like come to the gym or start their new YouTube channel.
Hell, even in my line of work in mental health, we employ Motivational Interviewing to help guide people towards taking self-directed healthy action.
And yes, even yours truly comes up against the wall of feeling unmotivated sometimes.
So, apparently motivation is a thing many of us think about.
We all want to do something, or we want to want to, but shit keeps holding us back.
“What is this shit he speaks of?” you may be asking yourself….
And more importantly, how can we overcome what holds us back so we can accomplish what we want or need to do?
Maybe, if you’re feeling motivated, you’ll read on and find some answers?
Sometimes I like to use Latin words to make myself feel cool. But I also love finding out the roots of words and reading definitions out of the dictionary.
You’d be surprised where words come from, what they really mean, and how frequently we use them incorrectly…
Although it’s pretty hard to screw up the meaning of the word motivation, I’ve taken the liberty of including some definitions:
“Motivation – forces acting either on or within a person to initiate behaviour. The word is derived from the Latin term motivus (“a moving cause”), which suggests the activating properties of the processes involved in psychological motivation” (https://www.britannica.com/topic/motivation).
“Motivation is the process that initiates, guides, and maintains goal-oriented behaviors. It is what causes you to act, whether it is getting a glass of water to reduce thirst or reading a book to gain knowledge. Motivation involves the biological, emotional, social, and cognitive forces that activate behavior” (https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-motivation-2795378).
So in other words – it’s something internal and/or external that moves us to take action.
It’s a process.
I had blindly accepted that motivation involved a “why” we do stuff, but I never considered before now that it is a process as well.
So the reason people do things, i.e. are motivated, is because they feel moved to satisfy some sort of need that involves their body, mind, feelings, or relationships.
And, it’s not just a magic fucking state of, “Oh, I feel so motivated.” The above-referenced needs play a part in why we even do things.
I don’t know about you, but I do things to feel better.
I know that if I eat, sleep, drink water, exercise, and play well with others life is pretty good.
And, if I pursue my purpose to be of service, again, I feel better.
But is motivation always associated with feeling better?
Maybe it’s also to avoid pain (like the cyclist avoiding Mr. Bear)?
I’m sure the pleasure center in our minds guides us toward “initiating behavior.”
But what about the choice to endure pain for a potential future payoff?
That doesn’t always feel good.
And therein lies the rub…
So often we feel unmotivated because we imagine the suffering involved with taking action.
Our imaginations stop us in our tracks – or better yet – keep us from even getting off our asses to begin with…
Some call it “analysis paralysis.”
I don’t know why the phrase, “hurry up and wait’ comes to mind because it doesn’t accurately define inertia…
Maybe it’s the free-association writing style I employ due to a history of past psychedelic usage?
What were we talking about?
Oh yeah… rainbows.
I like rainbows, too, though. 😉
Nonetheless, inertia, at least at it’s paused state, does kind of feel like a hurry up and wait…
Okay, before I drag you kicking and screaming down my personal philosophical path, let’s define the word, “Inertia.”
- a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged.
- PHYSICS – a property of matter by which it continues in its existing state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, unless that state is changed by an external force.
So, for the layperson (like myself), if you ain’t doin’ shit, you ain’t gonna do shit…
If you doin’ shit, you will probably keep doin’ shit…
Now remember, I am merely a writer trying make his way in this world and have a good time doing it… I’m not a physicist…
Okay, back to this inertia business and what the hell it has to do with motivation.
Again, I am not a physicist, and will likely mix up the difference between inertia and momentum, but I cheerfully present my poetic license to bend the word meanings to my desire…
This week, I feel like inertia described my state of action.
I told you the other day that I got a tattoo – a big fucker on my back.
I followed my tattooer’s advice and have avoided exercise since Sunday morning.
Because my back has been healing (and feeling tender), I’ve been sleeping on my sides.
Yesterday, I woke up and my left shoulder was fucking killing me. Like sharp pains running through my rotator cuff and down my arm when I tried to lift it, grab something out of the cabinet, close my car door, or even roll over in bed.
You may also remember that I’ve been doing a daily burpee challenge, and I put that on pause, too, in consideration of my tattoo.
Ceasing my daily exercise regimen has taken its toll.
Not only did my routine of daily action get interrupted (by my choice), I think it also caused me to feel the shadow of depression lurking behind me.
I decided on Sunday that today (Thursday) I would resume exercising.
I woke up this morning to shoulder-pain-induced broken sleep and the negative whispers of self doubt and depression.
I haven’t exercised in four days.
My shoulder hurts…
My tattoo feels like a tight piece of beef jerky on my back…
Can I do 76 burpees, let alone one?
The person I was doing the burpee challenge with backed out…
Why am I even doing these?
What difference does it make?
Maybe I should just rest a couple more days…
I feel tired.
I think I’m going back to bed…
No one cares any way…
Maybe I’m just going to live with chronic pain and gain the weight back…
A body at rest tends to stay at rest…
A body in motion tends to stay in motion…
So how the fuck do I get back in motion?
Don’t Just Stand There…
I wish I had the magic answer to motivate you…
I can only tell you what happens to me and what I’ve observed.
If anything is apparent, motivation is closely connected to your “why.”
When I know (feel) my why, I will move to action…
Much like the singer in video, when you know your why, you become empowered to take action.
Motivation is also a choice…
And that choice usually comes down to commitment.
Motivation comes and goes, but commitment is constant.
If you honor your commitments, your motivation will return.
I sat there on my bed this morning weighing my options as the demons of doubt danced around me.
No one would know if I went back to bed.
No one would probably even care…
But I would know, and I fucking care!
My why is that I want to be a man of integrity who thrives beyond trauma! I want to escape my victim-belief lifestyle and inspire others to do the same. If I don’t push myself to grow, I have nothing to offer the people I seek to serve.
That is my Sacred Calling….
I realize I just shared a Christian video and an astrology reference… Welcome to my world!
Nonetheless, my calling is in the stars.
Whether you believe it or not doesn’t matter.
And it’s a significant WHY for me.
And that “why” got me off my ass today to do 76 fucking burpees!
I let go of the fears and self-defeating thoughts.
Pulled out my time-lapsed video recorder on my phone and went to it!
I made a commitment to myself to do this burpee challenge.
And it’s not just about the fucking burpees…
The burpees are a symbol…
They represent to me all of the life challenges I am facing in order to achieve my dreams!
They represent the demons I dance with daily to thrive beyond trauma.
They represent my resiliency and drive to escape the effects of self-pity, excuse making, and codependency.
They represent my will to live!
Find your fucking why!
Make and keep your commitments!
Get an accountability mirror (as seen in the background of the below video)!
And make your own motivation!
If inertia is the tendency to stay stopped or keep moving, momentum is the amount of movement you are making.
I’m sure, like most people, I mistake momentum and inertia. But the point here is that once we start moving, we need to notice it and keep going.
Be intentional about your effort and progress.
Once I started my burpees today and broke free from the stalled out, what-if game, I changed my inertia. I started moving and therefore could keep moving.
Usually at about 15 or 16 burpees in, I start to feel tired.
It’s like moving muscles through water.
Then again at 30.
I’ll pause, pant, and step into my head game of why am I doing this…
My body and mind say quit.
A voice inside me says, “Go!”
“Just keep going!”
Somewhere around 40-50 burpees in, I find my second wind and my pace.
My pace quickens and becomes regular.
It’s kind of like when I’m trail running or doing an AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) in CrossFit.
Somewhere at the midpoint I find my stride and an untapped extra bit of energy.
I find endurance.
I find momentum.
I know that I’ve already accomplished a lot (in the workout).
There is no quitting or turning back at this point.
My body begins to work on it’s own…
And that’s where I begin to excel.
In order to find your momentum you have to endure the pain of starting.
You have to keep with the struggle of fatigue and the quitters’ mind to find the promise land of momentum.
And when you find the momentum – you are in flow.
And flow will carry you for a very, very long time.
Once you’ve figured out your “why” and started on your activity, push past the quitters mind to find your inner reserve of energy and motivation you didn’t know you have.
It’s in there…
Just keep moving…
You’ll find it.
I hope this post motivated you to discover what moves you.
Without a sufficient why or commitment, you will stay stuck.
Take some time to write out what’s important to you.
Write out your goals.
Write out what really fires you up.
Write out what absolutely fucking bothers you about yourself.
And do something about it.
What ever IT is..
Surround yourself with people who share and encourage your goals.
Motivation comes and goes…
But the whys and commitments do not.
It’s like Harry Potter and his Patronus. He wasn’t able to cast that spell until he had a powerful enough why behind it.
Okay, pop culture references aside, find your fucking why!
Make a commitment to it!
I guarantee there will be times you feel unmotivated to do the thing you want or need to do.
I always feel better after I do those damn burpees.
Do I look forward to them?
Are they hard.
And – I value what they represent to me.
By honoring my commitment to do those damn burpees, I am building the momentum of self-efficacy and confidence.
Doing the things I feel unmotivated to do makes feel better about myself.
If you feel stuck, get unstuck!
Decided you’re not going to take any of your own shit anymore and stop co-signing your excuses.
Find the why!
Make the committment.
[drum roll for my most-used meme…]
Be well! 🙂
Thank you for reading today’s post! I hope it motivated you to get off your ass and do the damn thing you want to do! I offer Life Coaching services. If you are feeling sick and tired of feeling sick and tired and are ready to do the work, reach out and we’ll get you on track!
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