A Question Of Motivation

I started this post a while ago and never went anywhere with it.  I thought it was a good time to retry after hitting my Phase I goal on Sunday.  Also, serendipitously,  I realized I had nothing else prepped for this week’s post-a-week challenge.

Reading a variety of weight loss blogs (hey – yours probably), I see a lot of people talking about rewards for hitting certain targets as a motivational tool.  Spa days, clothing, shows, etc, etc.  GWWF has a great phrase I see her use periodically about not using food rewards because she’s not a dog (like here in the first bullet point).  So you may be wondering what my reward is for the first target.  And the answer is …

Nada.  Zip.  Zilch.

For me, the weight loss itself has always seemed to be it’s own reward, it’s own snowball of virtuousness.  The more I lost, the more I wanted to see the scale get closer to the goal, the easier it got.  There has not been any particular point where I have felt like I struggled with motivation the weight loss front for more than a short period of time.  (Then again, I didn’t plateau weight wise either.)

It got me thinking about why that is.  I get why people do it intellectually, and I’m not judging you if you do it (hey if it works more power to you!).  But emotionally there isn’t a lot that’s going to get me on the arc trainer if I don’t want to get on it.

It could just be personality.  I’m very results driven, and find work is satisfying for the accomplishment of things for me, not for the process or other things.  See my hobbies.  They generally don’t involve relaxing or navel-gazing.

It could be a matter of age.  I’m middle-aged, I’ve been through some of life’s ups and downs now, both emotionally and physically and I just understand how much better off I am without the weight.  The light bulk went off so to speak.

It could be fatherhood, wanting to be there for the teen years (err..maybe), graduations, wedding, grand-kids.  But then it took nearly 4 years to kick in.  No recent traumas or wake-up calls to kick-start the process either.  Hardly a rapid fire survival instinct there if that’s what it was.

Or it could be materialism and money.  I’m no monk or anything, but my tastes are simple.

  • Favorite restaurant – Taco Bell.  Not going to be dropping more than $15 there on the family.
  • Favorite clothing brand – on sale, simple and worn until the wife throws it away (she’s commented that my black denim jeans are … dated).
  • Favorite activity – reading a book, magazine, or playing a game.
  • Favorite social activity – being by myself (I’m more of a few but deep friendships kind of guy).

My hobbies tend to involve some one-off expenses, but that last a long while (and always bought on sale which makes timing with weight loss difficult).  Reading is not very expensive in the grand scheme of things.

Spas – not my kind of thing.  Sporting events – yawn.  Movies – generally too crap to be worth $24 for a couple.  Heck, I won’t even PPV for movies.  My car is not new, but it’s paid for and in good condition, and I toy with the idea of  replacing it, but until it dies, I won’t.

In summary – I’m materialistic, but I’m also really cheap.  I simply don’t want anything out of the ordinary hum-drum of life that I can’t have and that could motivate me to do a gym session if I really don’t want to do it already.

About the closest I’ve come is that I’m going to get personal trainer sessions when I finally am done with weight loss and want to go to strength training as a primary focus.  And that’s Phase IV or V.  And honestly, it’s because with free weights I want someone to make sure I’m doing proper form and not about to injure myself.  More of an enabler to a future goal than a reward.

So how does motivation work for you?  For me there’s just this:


About J.

40 year old IT guy on a health and fitness kick.

Posted on November 9, 2011, in Personal, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. My motivation has always come from within; my reward has always been the satisfaction of accomplishing the goal. Regarding “stuff”, I buy quality as needed, and I use until it’s worn out; my taste in clothes can be seen in my photos…jeans, t=shirts and boots..again worn until worn out 😉


  2. I’m totally cracking up about not using food as a reward because I’m not a dog.

    Thought-provoking post. I’m going to have to roll this around. I’ve definitely been rewarding myself for milestones, which is not something I’ve done before while losing weight. Hmmm….

  3. Great post J, I really enjoyed it and thinking! thanks!

  4. I am one that has a reward “system” or “plan” set up as I achieve various weight loss goals. However, I will admit that my last two rewards were never actualized (because of money constraints). I am a single mother of two little girls, so money is not always something I can spare. I would like to reward myself with a little goodie here and there more so because I rarely (if ever) spend money on myself. Right now I am thinking instead of rewards I need to be thinking *clothes* because I have given away almost all of my pants/shorts (all but two pair of jeans and one pair of shorts – outside my two pair of workout pants/shorts). The shirts I am hanging on to because I do not mind baggy shirts, but the pants/shorts I just cannot cope with. Besides, who wants to see me with my pants falling down outside, right? LOL

    I agree that weight loss in itself is a reward and motivating factor. Even without those materialistic rewards I continue to press forward. I am anxious to see what the scale has to say each weekend, and I am excited to see where I will be next month (and the next month, and next year, etc.). If I can never afford another material reward, that will be just fine by me…but if I can swing it, I will.

    Personal training is fun. I, of course, see Denise not with the goal of strength training so much as the weight loss, but I love it. Denise shows me things I would never have thought to do on my own…and, as you mentioned, she prevents me from doing movements that will cause excess strain or injury.


  5. I think there’s a difference between motivation and encouragement. I seem to need a lot of that, and opening a “red envelope” helped me in the past. Going to the gym with a friend is way more fun than going alone!
    At one point I wrote down things that I would do if I got to a certain point, but I never did them. What really motivates me, when all is said and done, is the drop in sizes, and the changes in the numbers on the scale.

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