Motivation is Tricky Business

We think we know how to motivate other people, but when it comes to getting ourselves out of the chair, away from the ice cream and into the gym we aren’t all that great.

I thought if you find something you love to do, the joy of doing it will keep you motivated. That works, but in a conversation with a friend in Alaska I stumbled on a trick that works much better for me.

Climbing MatSu Peak Photo by Jim Stocker
Climbing in Alaska
Photo by Jim Stocker

I enjoy dancing several nights a week:  I stay in shape and it’s fun and easier than walking in the hot desert air.  The key word is “stay. I kept my weight and tone the same, but couldn’t break through the metabolism barrier to lose any weight.

My friend runs up Lazy Mountain every morning before work. This is no easy feat and I marveled at his discipline. I said, “Wow, you must love the view or love climbing mountains!”

His comment permanently changed how I motivate myself. Jason said,

“I don’t do it because I love climbing the mountain. I climb the mountain because I love the results.” 

“I don’t do it because I love climbing the mountain.

I climb the mountain because I love the results.”  

Looking at the results he achieved in 3 short months was impressive. He helped me realize I could find my own “mountain” to climb that would give me the results I wanted.

I bought a portable stepper and set it up in my living room. I got out my hand weights and decided I would do this for three weeks (the time it takes to change a habit.) I started slow: five mornings a week I stepped for 15 minutes. I took quick breaks and did a few curls with the weights. Every time I grumbled about it, I’d mutter to myself, “I don’t need to love doing this, I need to love the results.”

Amazingly, that 15 minutes five days a week did the trick! It switched my metabolism and I lost 10 pounds in only 2 months.  Now I can eat whatever I want. But I notice I don’t want to eat what I used to. So there is a shift in my thought process as well. I also got back into stretching each morning for 5 minutes before getting out of bed.  I have doubled my time on the stepper.

This isn’t about losing weight, nor is it about me. It’s about you.

What is your mountain? What results do you want to love? What are you willing to do for an hour or even 15 minutes a day that will deliver those results?

It doesn’t have to be hard. Think about the result you want and work backwards to find the one small change you can make that will take you there.

My college psych professor used to say, “We only have two motivations in life: Benefits and Consequences. We do something to gain the benefits or to avoid the consequences. Understand that and you’ll go far.”

Armed with these ideas, you can get where you want to go.

Good luck!


© 2013 Beth Terry, CSP • All Rights Reserved • May be quoted with attribution

About Beth Terry

Beth Terry, CSP, is a speaker, coach, writer and cowgirl. Her audiences are from around the world: she has spoken to almost half a million people in 6 countries. Her passion is watching the "popcorn popper" go off in people's heads when they 'get it.'

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