I just finished reading a book by a guy named Craig Wortmann called What’s Your Story? It talks about how stories are everything. They get us excited about what we do and are the basis for our motivation. We tend to overlook this though, and prefer bullets and lists…they are easier to read and digest after all. It could be convenient to see a list of 3 or 10 things and know the exact point being made – but do you really care about it?
For your own health and fitness goals, what is the real story beyond the list?
After the usual bullet points on why you want to lose weight,
1. upcoming event
2. make ex-boyfriend jealous
Is there more that you care about?
According to the people that tell us how our brains work, the things that truly matter to you are intrinsic motivators, and the things that matter to others are extrinsic motivators. Extrinsic motivation is great for short-term weight loss and quick diets (it’s the reason we bust our ass for vacation and weddings, after all), but it’s not that sustainable.
As deep as that sounds, no need to be that deep. For me, it centers around one simple thing:
Here’s the story. I was 21 and in a relationship. It wasn’t a bad one, but it was very draining and kind of a mismatch (me and the guy are still great friends…just not good partners). I had dabbled with fitness, but nothing really stuck. That year, he got me a Treo for my birthday. I decided to load it with all of the Napster music I illegally downloaded during college and used it at the gym. I gravitated toward the elliptical and I was hooked. Who knew that using a CD player, where I was limited to one disk, had to balance it perfectly upright to keep it from skipping, and that was huge and bulky, was the thing holding me back???
Outcome of the situation: Music was my escape – and the gym turned out to be the perfect time to enjoy it. It was a great way for me to stop my brain from thinking about a bunch of other things, and focus on some good tunes. Soon enough, I expanded my horizons and tried a hip-hop class at the gym. I loved it and that became an absolute must every week. Then I tried Pilates and hated it, but no big deal (Pilates isn’t as centered around the music, by the way, so it kind of makes sense). Then I tried weight lifting with a friend and fell in love with that (ratchet music time!).
If I had never been exposed to all of these wonderful workouts in life, where would I be? But more importantly, what about all of the people out there that didn’t have birthdays while in emotionally-taxing relationships where their boyfriends bought them a Treo and they found that this was the thing that made fitness awesome???
I started SweshFit at a later point after the discovery that many people didn’t have a lot of knowledge in fitness and their health. I was in shock when I first learned about the obesity rates in our country (a third of us are obese), and in particular, how that trend affects African-Americans (we are the most overweight of all races). This was a problem. But it was a problem that could be addressed, if only people are given more options and more information to get them on a healthier path. At the end of the day, fitness is pretty awesome.
A year later, I’m still going strong with SweshFit and that’s the story behind it…part of it anyway 🙂
So of course, with all of these workouts and content, I never forget my buddy. My homie. My first love with fitness. Music. It hangs out in the background, and keeps me going when I don’t feel like working out or if I feel unmotivated. I find that my workouts get better when my playlists get better, and stale workouts often indicate stale playlists.
So, that’s my story and my motivation. Like I said, it doesn’t have to be deep, it’s always nice to have something that is important to you that has nothing to do with anyone else. Use it to keep you going, to keep your workouts fun, and to keep your health and fitness journey in perspective.