Let me ask everyone a question. Aren’t all of us in fitness looking for that special something that will give us an advantage, a leg up or the edge over our competition? Maybe even just in our own life.
Many times when I speak with groups about Wellness, I like to find out why they are there or what they are looking for. I believe it is my job to serve the audience by presenting information that they can put to use immediately, either by causing them to think or by convincing them to make some kind of decision. What this does for me is remind me that I need to be on purpose. I need to add value to whatever group that I’m presenting to. A common theme when it comes to wellness or fitness is that we need to set goals. Others may stress that you need a dream. A really Big DREAM. If given the opportunity, when speaking to someone or a group, I will attempt to get each person to dig a little and determine their purpose for being involved in some program or activity. Many times I discover that it can be traced to wanting to experience some pleasure (positive emotion), or avoid pain (negative emotion).
PAIN OR PLEASURE
Most of us are motivated by either avoiding “pain” or seeking “pleasure”. In wellness that normally means you just went to your doctor and the report wasn’t good. Your doctor then sternly recommends some type of wellness program. Hopefully you are guided to work with a program that can help navigate you towards the goal of improving your health. This then allows you to avoid the pain of listening to your doctor or worse, the fear of having a serious medical situation. You can see from the example that “pain” does work as a motivator. Another example, but with a different twist to it, would be when a “Beyond Boomer” (post 65) begins to experience difficulty getting out of a chair. Seems pretty simple to us. But what if the person doesn’t know what to do and is too embarrassed to ask for help? Remember, we are talking about getting out of a chair! This can be a very painful psychological as well as physical situation. So it’s somewhat easy to see how pain can be an extremely effective motivator.
Let’s now look at pleasure. If I have a chance to work with someone, and they give me the opportunity to dig down a little, through the pain, I will most likely find some emotion that is positive. The individual may just want to be happy. This is also why it can be beneficial to have a good coach or trainer who has an understanding of human behavior. Because although pain is a great motivator, pleasure is an outstanding motivator. Whether someone is 85 or 25, they are involved in fitness because it makes them “happy” and as long as they are in an appropriate program or activity, they will begin to experience all the benefits of being involved, such as increased strength, increased flexibility, improved balance, improved endurance and a general feeling of well-being. So how does all this relate to you? Remember, we talked about those goals and dreams. Those are great, but at this point those represent what I call conversations. What I mean is that those are things we talk about wanting to do. We may even share our desires with some close friends and family. But it means nothing unless you make a decision.
CHANGING YOUR LIFE
Conversations can’t really do anything. But when you make a decision, you can change your life. If you decide that the goal or dream you have, whether to avoid pain or seek pleasure, is worth it and the pain or pleasure is so intense that you “decide” to make a change. You now have a great opportunity to achieve not only your goal but you are on your way to your DREAM.
Let me share a great example of how you can position yourself to succeed. I love to talk about the “wedge.” I originally thought of this when I saw the movie “300”. Being a student of history, I was impressed by how 300 Spartans were able to save the world. They were able to do this by using a simple, incredibly efficient tool, the position they assumed as a group, which I call the “wedge”. As an athlete I had always thought of the wedge as something to attack with, as in football. It was even expressed to me that as warriors it could be the tip of our spear. But that wasn’t how I observed the “wedge”. I saw it as a tool that we could create in our life to help us achieve our Dream.
Let me explain. Inside the wedge is where you would have people on your team that you trusted, added value to you, had the same vision as you and would allow you to always focus on your Dream. Because, if you were to take your eyes or thoughts off the goal, it could all fall apart. It’s important to note that you may only have yourself inside your wedge, when you begin your journey, so you must be keenly aware that anything negative can pull your focus away from the goal. Now picture yourself moving steadily towards your goal. Remember all the negatives in your life are all around you and not with you. As you learn, build more confidence and begin to add trusted people to your “wedge” you will move more efficiently towards the goal. Remember it’s not the speed; it’s getting to the dream.
This tool now could be used by clients as they begin developing their team. They decide what exercises or activities to do. What foods to eat. What journals or websites or other resources to connect with. They might even join various groups or clubs or even have a coach or trainer. As their wedge becomes filled with positive tools and experiences that allow the client to stay focused, achieving the goal is now made easier.
Regardless of what you’ve done in the past, it just doesn’t matter. Starting today, create your “wedge”. Find your purpose and then point yourself in the direction of your dream. All you have to do is focus on what you want. It works every time it’s tried. Start today. Do it now!