Motivation seems to come in many different forms and can even catch you off guard at times. Recently, I have been thinking more about the factors that motivate people and how sometimes we choose to be motivated and others times we are prodded into action. This came after a recent visit to the doctor’s office for my annual wellness exam. I am a relatively young male who exercises five to six days a week. I regularly run 5-10ks with ease and enjoy being active in the outdoors. But, if I am being honest, I am probably carrying around about 5-10 extra pounds for my height, but nothing to otherwise be concerned about.
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Last fall, during my exam, my doctor reported blood pressure on the high side but this was nothing new, as I have always been a little on the high side but always in the safe zone. The thing that caught my attention was that my cholesterol was also now on the high-side, but again the doctor said given my fitness level and the fact that my good cholesterol was high I was probably fine and should just keep an eye on it. So this year when I got the same tests run I found out that my bp had increased a little further as well as my cholesterol. This really made me worry. I mean, I am in my mid 30’s in good shape physically. So why was I struggling with this? What I had to come to terms with was that I wasn’t being totally honest with myself. Even though I work out regularly I have never been great about watching what I eat. For the past few years now I have been talking a big game about the benefits of also eating healthy and really monitoring what you put in your body. Yet I was routinely eating fatty and high sodium foods. The problem was that I was looking at my physical activity and giving myself a “pass” on eating healthier. So in effect, I was demotivated to really watch what I ate.
This news from my doctor really got me thinking. It made me think about family members before me who died early from heart problems or lived through retirement years that they were unable to enjoy because their health had deteriorated too far. I found myself reevaluating my long term goals from a different perspective. Sure, I have thought about my professional goals, but what did I want for my quality of life? I knew I wanted to be able to be an active retiree and the fact that I will be close to 40 when I have my first kid meant that I really needed to be healthy if I wanted to keep up with them as they got older! Now I find myself reading nutrition labels more closely and double thinking what I order when we go out all in the hopes of hitting my long-term life goals.
So what if we applied this sort of urgent motivation in our careers? Sometimes it can be easy to coast through assignments or put off those professional self-assessments just because we haven’t had that “yikes” moment. Imagine what we could accomplish both professionally and personally if we were able to understand our motivators and harness them. What are some things you do to motivate yourself?