Facebook and other social media platforms excel at making us feel lazy and inadequate when it comes to improving our health and taking steps to improve our fitness.
We are bombarded with memes that call into question our motivation or try and guilt us into miraculously stoking up an internal motivational fire that will see us move from couch potato to super athlete overnight.
The “perfect life” pictures appear in our newsfeeds of our friends posting stories and pictures from their own fitness/weight loss/sporting success journeys and we sigh and admonish ourselves for lacking motivation and for still being stuck in the same place we were this time last month, last year or perhaps even for the best part of our lifetime.
However, just as it is an illusion that the “perfect life” exists out there, it is also an illusion that it is motivation (or lack thereof) that is holding us back.
Sure feeling motivated can be helpful, but the truth is that no-one is motivated all of the time. Motivation is a fickle beast that cannot be tamed. You can’t just magically conjure up motivation and so if you waste time (days, months, years) waiting for the motivation to change your life, change your eating habits, change your exercise routine, then it’s likely that you will never make those changes.
But if it’s not motivation we are missing then what is it?
Action is the one thing that can reliably help us down the path of making change. Action is THE thing that will get us fit. And interestingly, it is action that will often, as a by-product, summons up motivation. But the action step needs to come first.
How often do you feel motivated to clean your house, wash the dishes, study for an exam? Likely not often, but if you take action (ie start doing one of the tasks) then a) the task gets done, and b) often we can feel a bit of motivation creep in once we have started doing the task such that we do it faster, or perhaps more thoroughly than we thought we might have done at the outset.
So stop blaming yourself for lacking motivation and wasting time (has it been weeks, months, years already?) waiting for motivation to appear. Its likely that it won’t appear on its own or when you need it, and if it does you can rest assured it cannot be relied upon to always be there when you need it. Action however is always there when you need it. Action is not based in emotion or how we feel. Action is taking the necessary steps to get the task done and you can apply the concept to many areas of life.
Those people you see in your newsfeed with the “perfect life”, with the fitness stories that make you envious, the ones you think are just so motivated and dedicated. They are every bit as human as you and no more motivated than you, they’ve just taken action.