Buzzword: Motivation

In just the past week or so, I’ve come across two recommendations for the same book that, inopportunely, is out of print: The Blackmail Diet, by John Bear. This book is actually a wildly enlightening story of motivation. The Blackmail Diet starts with Bear, a PhD graduate in psychology, taking on his long-time struggle with obesity and dieting in a completely new and unusual way, by altering his motivation: he puts $5,000 into an escrow account (which makes it under the control of a lawyer, and completely out of his own) with the strict stipulation that, if he fails to lose 70 lbs over the course of a year, the money will be donated to…wait for it….The American Nazi Party.

Yikes! Talk about motivation.

As one can imagine, this was a completely unacceptable outcome for Bear and he – yay! – lost that 70 lbs and kept his money. This experiment certainly makes a solid point about how to drop 70 lbs, but the greater idea here is about your goals, and what kind of motivation it takes to achieve them. Those goals may be weight related, or not. John Bear helps us wonder, if motivation is or has been a goal-block in the past, then what kind of commitment are you willing to make that will be there even if the motivation wanes?

Well. That’s something to ponder for a moment during your busy day, and to feel free to share with your personal trainer who is always willing to help you make those commitments (….within the limits of reason, of course. This is definitely not an invitation to rope your trainer into some legally binding contract involving unsavory political parties and garbage bags of cash. Just so we’re clear.) Whether your goal is to lose weight, to eat more vegetables, to look like the Spartan soldiers from the film 300, or to start and maintain a healthy routine, then start by checking the motivation barometer: is it high? Low? In need of an unpleasant threat? Take a look and find out.

For those of you who feel more comfortable finding your motivation in a more personal and less alarming manner, I’ll leave you with a quote from leadership expert and coach John C. Maxwell from his book, Failing Forward:

“Motivation is not going to strike you like lightning… Forget motivation. Just DO IT. Exercise, lose weight, change your diet, whatever – do it without motivation and then, guess what? After you start doing the thing, that’s when the motivation comes and makes it easy for you to keep doing it.”

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