So how do I leverage those motivational forces? Below is a list of some of the things I do to stay motivated:
The Bet - The first and biggest motivation for me is the bet I have with a very good friend. It started last year at the start of the year. At the time I weighed 314 pounds and he weighed 300 so we were pretty close in weight. The bet is very simple; the first person to 250 pounds wins! The prize is $2 for every pound difference in weight at the end of the competition. So if I win (and I will) and my friend weighs in at 280 when I reach the goal, then he pays me (280 – 250) x $2 = $60. He offered to give me a handicap because I weighed more, but I refused as it only made the challenge even greater! The money adds a little “greed” motivation, but I really don't care about the money. The need to win the bet is what really keeps me going. By the way, for the record, I am currently winning the bet handily (If you are reading this DJ you better get your ass moving).
The Blog – I started writing this blog because 1) I wanted to add accountability, 2) I wanted to share what I know with others who want to lose weight, and 3) Because I’ve never done it before. As I said I enjoy a good challenge. A few years ago, I started to consider writing about losing weight and being healthy. I kept telling myself that I would do after I lost the weight. Then at the end of last year I started to realize that the process of writing about it would actually help me to complete it and what better way to prove it can be done than by doing it yourself. What adds to the challenge is the fact that I know this doesn’t work if I don’t produce results. Who is going to follow a blog about losing weight written by someone who hasn’t lost any weight? I hate to fail at anything I do so I am motivated to keep at it and make this endeavor a success.
The Trip – This summer I am traveling to the northeast for vacation with family and friends. This one has a lot of “Vanity” but there is also a bit of a competition here. Most of my family members are also overweight to some degree or other. In my mind there is some satisfaction in being able to say to myself “I lost it all first” and since I can’t really say that directly to my family I need to show it in person. I know it seems silly to some people out there, but those people obviously aren’t highly motivated by competition.
The Summer Tradition – Last year we started a tradition that I hope to continue on this year. At the very end of the summer, I take a day off from work and we drive to King’s Dominion (an amusement park here in Virginia). Last year I was extremely nervous that I would not fit on the rides. Luckily, my oldest daughter (the daredevil) did not quite make the height requirements to go on most of the roller coasters and other big rides that usually have tight seats in order to keep you strapped in. However, she did qualify for a couple smaller roller coasters and of course needed to try them out. My wife hates roller coasters, so I am the default parent for thrill rides like that (she’s the default parent for spinning rides). Anyway, the lines were long as they always are at amusement parks, and I was forced to stand there for 20 minutes and wonder if I would be able to fit in the seat. When we finally got close my fear grew immensely. I was so worried about how disappointed my daughter would be if we couldn’t go on because of my weight. Then I saw an overweight person that could not fit on the ride. I felt horrible for her as she walked away with her child towing behind her. I spent the next 5 minutes trying to decide if I was bigger than her or smaller than her; it was really close. Luckily I fit (barely) and I didn’t have to take that long walk with my kid towing behind. I said before, fear is one of the strongest motivators out there. This year my daughter will be tall enough for the big thrill rides and some of them even have posted weight limits. Occasionally I remind myself of how I felt waiting in that line and I know that I never want to have to worry like that again.
So these are some of the things I do to try to stay motivated. Some change from time to time and others take their place, but I do try to keep a list of motivators because sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated and you need to look for something different once in a while. Finding the right motivation is key to success and is unique for everyone who takes the journey. What motivates you to lose weight?