Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.

    SHAPNUP   41,260
40,000-49,999 SparkPoints

The Mystery of Motivation

Voted Popular Blog Post: View All Popular Posts

Sunday, August 14, 2011

How does motivation work? What makes us pick up our feet and do what we gotta do?

Well, for me, motivation works the same way, backwards and forwards. It's like this...


I eat one Hershey's Kiss. I am motivated to eat more.

My job is mostly sedentary. I am motivated to be less active.

My co-workers (mostly healthy weights) like to snack (on unhealthy foods). I am motivated to do the same.

I find comfort in certain foods. I am motivated to drug myself with them.

None of this takes much effort. I am motivated to do even less.


I read a success-story blog on Spark. My endorphins kick in. I am motivated to want success.

I skip an unhealthy snack. It isn't as hard as I thought it would be. I am motivated to do it again.

No pasta or pizza till I can't breathe, and I sleep better. I am motivated to eat more healthfully and lightly.

Moving, even a little bit, raises my energy. I am motivated to move more.

What we feed grows.

If we feed the negative in our lives, it gets bigger. It becomes an unending cycle of drudgery and pain. And it continually gets worse. I am an EXPERT at feeding the negative. I think we all know how to do that.

If we feed the positive in our lives, it gets bigger. The cycle is now made up of health, strength, and energy. Feeding the positive, well, that's a learning experience for me. It takes planning and effort and action. It takes overcoming LAZINESS, which I believe is a huge part of my negative cycle. I'm not so good at feeding the positive.

This weekend I've been feeding both. Talk about confusion. No wonder my mind and body can't quite get it together. I've fed my negative cycle with poor food choices and poor sleep. I've fed my positive cycle with lots of water and some great physical exertion. It's a start. My goal is to replace the negative with positive. Looks like my work is cut out for me.

How do you feed the positive in your life? What makes you pick up your feet and do what you gotta do?

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
KJACOBS1111 4/15/2012 11:08AM

    Thank you for such a great blog post!

Report Inappropriate Comment
MAIDAMONTREAL 2/20/2012 10:57AM

    Great way to think about motivation. It's something I struggle with too. I want something but when the time comes I lose my motivation and say "I don't feel like it I will do it tomorrow or next weekend".

When I am really watching and staying focused that is positive for me. When I start hating myself and feeling stupid that is
negative for me.

I will try your way and see if that works.

Report Inappropriate Comment
ANGIEJAY77 2/19/2012 8:51PM

    Great post! Thanks for sharing. Sometimes I have to talk myself into being active, especially when I've had a stressful day at work. But I find that I need that time in between work and going home to separate the two.

Report Inappropriate Comment
LADYANDREA2012 2/19/2012 8:42PM

    Excellent Blog. You light up my journey, today!!!! emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
SANDBBAR 1/21/2012 10:34AM

  This is an excellent blog and an excellent reminder of how when we set our minds in the positive or negative, we reap what we sow! I needed to see this today! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
BIRDIE501 1/7/2012 8:18AM

    Thanks for sharing your insights! It really resonates with me and helps give me a new way to look at things.

Report Inappropriate Comment
MARIAND123 12/27/2011 5:31PM

    that is awesome. I will have to remember this blog. that is some advise i can use all the time

Report Inappropriate Comment
LOUMMAR 11/23/2011 9:18AM

    You are SOOO right! emoticon
Keep going, you can do it!! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
15LOVEHARRY 11/11/2011 4:56PM

  I am struggling with motivation. I need to simply get up and keep my schedule but instead I either starve myself or stuff unhealthy zero nutritional food down my throat. I need to remember that it is in community that one can find the needed push thank you.

Report Inappropriate Comment
BUTTERFLIBABY72 11/8/2011 8:14AM

    You're right, it is so much easier to do the negative. But if you surround yourself with the positive, it makes it easier to make positive choices. Congratulations on all of your hard work.

Report Inappropriate Comment
DMT1956 10/26/2011 12:49AM

    yes it's all in that moment of decision making.

one instant i do or

one instant i don't.

all the best intentions...

just do it.because it's good for you. less thinking more

action. emoticon changing our thoughts actions and behaviour

and making new habits little by little day by day = healthy

lifestyle emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
GOALING2HEALTH 10/22/2011 12:27PM

    And thanks for yet another great post! Now I'm pumped! I want to read some more of your blog posts and add you as a friend... because I need so much motivation right now.

Thank you so much for sharing your encouraging, motivational thoughts with us.


Report Inappropriate Comment
IMNOTSTOPPIN 10/19/2011 8:32PM

    Ouch! It hurt but at the same time felt good. We need to shake ourselves out of our old way of thinking and using food to stuff our emotions. Thanks for a great post. Wish I could set your blog on a daily or weekly reminder to reread and apply.

Report Inappropriate Comment
GRANDMA_DEBBI 10/19/2011 7:59PM

    Thank you for the motivational messages. This is what I need most since I have no friends to support me.

Report Inappropriate Comment
SMWILLIAMS29102 10/17/2011 7:32PM

    Thanks for sharing your great ideas.

Report Inappropriate Comment
SEAJESS 10/15/2011 1:38PM

    Thanks for pointing out the sabotaging thoughts. I share MANY of them.

Just a word to myself.... I don't do well changing when I judge myself harshly or call myself names. I want to remember how I would be with my beloved little nephew if I saw him making unskillful choices. I'd like to connect with the need that underlies the reach for the junk food, acknowledge it and lovingly offer a different thought. Thought becomes action, action habit and habit character.

Sometimes it's a preemptive strike. Like popping in some chewing gum before I go to Costco (and I was raised with the mantra that chewing gum is ugly and trashy!) or cook a meal that tempts me to lots of tasting. I congratulate myself on doing this.


I had a boss who did this and I adored him. I'd have walked across a desert on my knees for him because he was so focused on the positive. I'm the boss of me and I want to be a boss like he was.

I don't always do it but I do it so much more now and I truly believe that's the change that makes for change.

Report Inappropriate Comment
JMARIES51 10/15/2011 12:47PM

    excellent blog - this is forward motivation

Report Inappropriate Comment
BORINCUA 10/12/2011 6:23AM

    emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
AGOSLING 10/11/2011 3:10PM

    Sometimes we must remember that you can get as much from the journey as you do the destination.

Keep taking those small positive steps and you will get where you want to be.

Good luck


Report Inappropriate Comment
JAZZSHELBY 10/11/2011 11:41AM

  Congratulations for being able to share!! Sharing my progress and challenges works to motivate me. Seems the same way for you. Let's keep getting up on our feet when we might rather sit. Once I'm up and out, such as power walking (not shopping) at a mall or to the corner of my block, I feel proud and get rid of the guilt (of not moving) at the same time!! Every little bit helps. Keep-up the good work!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
JASPEED 10/7/2011 9:52AM

  It sounds so simple....and it is! Surround yourself with positive things and your life will be the same but the same goes with negative choose the positive road. Good luck, stay happy.

Report Inappropriate Comment
SMILEYBEE 9/29/2011 11:49AM

    This is so true! Thanks for expressing it this way. Keep making those healthy choices.

Report Inappropriate Comment
BOSHAD 9/27/2011 1:31PM

  Fantastic blog. I know exactly what you are saying. why can't I eat like they do and not gain weight. In stead I should ask what are they doing that I do not see to maintain their weight?

I will continue to try and eat healthy not only to lose weight but also to improve my life:

Able to move about more
Prevent further damage to my system
Get off meds
Feel good about myself once again

I will take it one day at a time. Be glad not for a pound lost or not lost but for being able to say no to a second helping, eating one serving and not the whole bag, etc.

Ny reward will be feeling better and being able to do more.

Keep up your good work and thank you for getting me motivated again.

Report Inappropriate Comment
SHEILA8383 9/25/2011 1:24PM

    Nicely said. I love your words of wisdom of what we feed grows. It is very timely for me. Thank you!

Report Inappropriate Comment
RACHELYNNJOAN 9/23/2011 7:25PM

    You just gave me awesome motivation for a blog thanks!!! Positives in my life? family and friends. What makes me want to move and happy? music!!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
KWIKOOL 9/22/2011 6:24PM

  Thank you for the words of wisdom..and I will REMEMBER that what we feed on grows

Report Inappropriate Comment
AHODGES7 9/22/2011 3:30PM

    That was very good and sounds just about where I am right now.
Well done!
Keep Looking UP!

Report Inappropriate Comment
VHBECKER 9/20/2011 11:14AM

  Very nicely expressed. Good luck in your quest.

Report Inappropriate Comment
KERRIBACHAND 9/19/2011 5:11PM

  very well written, and so true! it is a cycle that CAN be easily broken (in either direction) with the simplest thought: "i didnt sleep well last night. im too tired to go to my zumba class. and since im not going, i might as well have pizza." Even if you choose NOT to eat bad(you may say "i didnt sleep well last night, so i'm too tired to go to the gym. but i'll make sure i eat a healthy dinner")...either way, its the excuse to yourself "i didnt sleep last night, so im too tired to go to the gym"....i do zumba 4x week and i LOVE IT! whenever i feel too tired to go, i remind myself how much i love it, and how the endorphins make me so happy and motivated afterwards. how it helps my self esteem and i burn 600-1000 calories during a session. i also feel guilt if i DONT go. and if i REALLY dont feel like going, i just say "ill go and take it kinda easy if i have to". but usually, once i get there and get moving, i snap right into action. getting there is 90% of the battle.

also, i suffer from depression and anxiety. it has been said forever that exercise helps with these two things and i think about how much i want to come off my medicines, and that if i establish a healthy workout regime that i LOVE (like zumba), then i will hopefully be able to maintain an exercise schedule to help with my depression if/once i come off of my meds. its tough because we are our biggest critics, but we also have to be our biggest inspirations as well, because you dont get healthy for anybody else. People can help encourage and support you along the way, but at the end of the day, you have to be doing it for yourself or you will not be successful in the end.

Report Inappropriate Comment
JVOSPRINT 9/18/2011 12:55PM

  Hi, Shapnup.

Thanks for the honest account of your experience with the positives and negatives of motivation. Your acknowledgement of motivation being in phases is true. You goal of replacing the negative with the positive is a milestone to be congratulated. Good luck and remember to take baby steps towards your goal! Way to go!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
OPHELIA1226 9/18/2011 12:49PM

    Thank you for your motivation, we all think we are the only ones who suffer with these issues but here at spark people we find others who share the same thoughts and feelings. We are your second biggest supporters besides yourself. Keep up the great work

Report Inappropriate Comment
ICEQUEEN1994 9/18/2011 10:09AM

  You have such insight. It is very MOTIVATING to have a concrete way to change some of my BAD behaviors, not just related to healthy eating and living.These insights spill over for me, to day-to-day living, such a time management (or lack of it!)
Thank you for sharing-

Report Inappropriate Comment
EVWINGS 9/18/2011 7:07AM

    Great post! Attitude is 90% of the battle for me no matter if I'm fighting healthy eating or cancer. You have it right!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
KICKINIT11 9/17/2011 8:38PM

    WOW! Well said. "What we feed grows" I love it!

Report Inappropriate Comment

  Reminds me of evenings that either tend to move or drag; great post! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
SANDYL54 9/15/2011 11:52AM

  Thanks for powerful words! No wonder this was the week's most popular blog! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
CREATIVE_MOMMA 9/15/2011 11:30AM

    Thanks for sharing. It helped remember that I can make small changes and like you said exchange the negative with the positive. Good job on the water and exercise. That's so positive!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
GWENLION 9/15/2011 9:53AM

    Wow. Mind blown. I think I'd better file this one away for a lazy day so i don't let it get the best of me.

Report Inappropriate Comment
SMILINGEYES88 9/15/2011 1:31AM

    This was wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing. This is a very helpful post.

Report Inappropriate Comment
TONI2011 9/15/2011 1:08AM

    Thanks so much for sharing. It really encourages me to know I'm not alone in this journey. You were able to put into words just how I think and feel. So I too will try to encourage the positive and hopefully watch the negative slowly disappear. Thank you !

Report Inappropriate Comment
KNITLEIGH 9/14/2011 9:37PM

    Woo Hoo! Most popular blog! This is fabulous! You are so right I call it the inertia effect. Once in motion it tends to stay in motion. Once stopped it tends to stay stopped. You wrote it very well!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 9/14/2011 9:38:00 PM

Report Inappropriate Comment
NURSELAUREN 9/14/2011 9:20PM

    emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
TIAGAYEPFA 9/14/2011 9:13PM


Report Inappropriate Comment
RADFEN 9/14/2011 8:55PM

    Thanks, I needed this on a yucky day


Report Inappropriate Comment
SPARKYCARLEY 9/14/2011 3:32PM

    wow... incredible insight. Thanks for the inspiration.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
ROBINKP1 9/14/2011 1:41PM

    Wonderful and inspirational blog!

Report Inappropriate Comment
SCOTTLINE 9/14/2011 9:22AM

    Very inspirational Blog, thanks for sharing. You are a motivation.

Report Inappropriate Comment
SWTLISSA68 9/13/2011 6:22PM

    What motivates me u ask? YOU! What a wonderful true!
Thanks for sharing :) emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
DILETTA24 9/13/2011 2:08PM

    All makes so much sense...thanks so much for your thoughts and help to motivate........Misty

Report Inappropriate Comment
PEGMYSTER 9/13/2011 12:21PM

  Your write up is my motivation for today:) This sounds just like me. Thank you for making me see a bigger picture. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment

Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

Log in to post a comment.
Member Comments Page (648 total):  1 2 3 Next > Last >>

Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

Other Entries by SHAPNUP