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My Motivation Paradox

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Last time I wrote about the habits that keep me strong, or those that I want to improve on.

However, there's one habit that has an even more powerful effect on me.
Not on just my healthy lifestyle, but on my whole life in general.

I have read in several articles that a new approach is needed when one reaches the Target Weight. It requires setting goals that are different from before, as the challenges are now different.

And the main challenge is motivation.

Instead of setting my focus on target weight, develop daily exercise, update nutrition routine or regularize sleep hours, my objective should be about something that has the healthy lifestyle as a "side effect". If I pursue my goal, the healthy life happens on the way.

I give it a lot of thought first, but surprisingly, it just emerged naturally.

In the past two years, as my friends saw the success of my healthy lifestyle, they come more and more for advice, tips, encouragement. And sometimes they asked me to join in on the way to give support on a consistent way.

This is not new to me, as I study coaching with Gestalt for the past two years, and I am involved in several coaching relationships myself. I enjoy coaching a lot, it gives so much results with little energy, and it is so much fun.

So the goal I set is to get engaged with others to support their healthy lifestyle development.

And this habit of supporting others seems to have the strongest effect on my healthy lifestyle. It gives me consistency, energy, fun. The paradox is that usually my target is to help someone to improve, but I noticed that it comes back, and I get changed during the process.

As I support someone to get in the daily dose of exercise, naturally, my exercise happens consistently in the same time.
When I listen to someone with active listening about the struggles to eat better, or to fit in exercise minutes, I discover that in fact I have those struggles, too.
When we brainstorm about how to organize healthy eating on business trips, the same practices happen on my own trips.
When we have a debate on how much calories are in a meal, and which one has more valuable ingredients, I pay more attention on those.

And when a friend reaches a healthy lifestyle goal, s/he gets motivated.
But what I observe is that in fact I get motivated in the same time.

Somehow, this became my most interesting healthy lifestyle habit.

I motivate others = I get motivated

And after sending a motivating message, I tend to scratch my head and just wonder:

So then, who's motivating who?

This is from Thursday, a powerwalk I made in Graz, next to the river Mur.

Whom do you help around you with healthy lifestyle development?
What effect has it on you?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    That's a great philosophy. Where I might let myself down, my perceived obligation to others who might see me as an example keeps me moving forward. There is a Karmic reward in giving of yourself.
    2104 days ago
    Great blog: motivating returns motivation, for sure.

    And: thanks for your kind comment on my "grit" blog!
    2115 days ago
    Lovely blog !
    emoticon for posting !
    2133 days ago
    my fave motivator is my daughter. she was on track in high school and in the rotc. she has lots of good advice and invites me to exercise with her even though I am way out of shape and never have been in shape. she doesn't judge me. she just gets me to get doing some kind of exercise.
    2134 days ago
    They always say that the teacher learns more than the student. Starr Daily used to say, "You're always 'inin' what you're 'outin'." Someplace back there I noticed that the one who anoints someone else with oil gets oil on themselves too.

    It's good to be connected to a live wire like you.
    2134 days ago
    That's very inspirational - I wish I could motivate others as you do! I don't like saying 'i wish' because it always sounds so empty because I could do it if I tried. But I don't really know how to motivate others tbh. There are several people in my family who are obese but would complain like hell if I tried to suggest they did x activity or should be eating more of y. Some people don't wanna be helped until they want themselves and ask for it. All I can do is to keep on my healthy eating and being active whislt allowing them to join in, but nothing deliberate or formal helping.
    2134 days ago
    as another "newbie" to maintenance, i have been trying to figure out what comes next - your blog is wonderfully insightful, gives much food for thought. though i have not had as much weight to lose as many others have faced, it still was a challenge, and like many others, i have gained the same pounds back many times. trying to motivate others is a wonderful suggestion for staying on track to stay motivated.
    2135 days ago
    I think motivation is a reciprocal relationship. I love the idea that what I do inspires and helps other people for its own sake, but it also helps me to stay focused on reaching my own goals and keeps me accountable. I sure don't want to let down the people I've inspired by gaining all the weight back! As a maintainer who's lost a significant amounts of weight, I get friends, family, SparkFriends and sometimes even relative strangers asking for advice all the time. I know I don't have all the answers for everyone but am happy that I'm setting a positive example and inspiring others to live healthier lives.
    2135 days ago
    This is so true and really interesting! Thank you.
    I think for me, what I share the most (with my colleagues, friends, and Sparkfriends of course) is that exercise doesn't have to feel like exercise. A long hike feels more like discovery and fun to me, and yet it is exercise! This is what I share the most. That, and the need to understand oneself.
    2135 days ago
    Great insight. Thanks for sharing. Very much in line with how I think about teaching. It sounds like a contradiction but my philosophy has evolved into "I teach, therefore I learn".
    2135 days ago

    I always say the best compliments I ever get are when somebody says that I inspired them or motivate them. BEST!

    And you're right, they in turn motivate me, not only because it's a great compliment but if I'm having an "off" day or if I'm feeling "useless" or dejected about where I am one week, one of those coworkers or friends can share something they're working on (unrelated convo) and it fires me up again. Love it!
    2135 days ago
    Oliver, I love what you wrote...your friends and family are so lucky to have you!
    2135 days ago
  • SUNSET09
    This is a great reflection on motivation and what you can do to get motivated and to help others. We cannot stay where we are and expect things to change. When the weight is lost, we are no longer fat, when we run a few marathons we are now runners. and have to work harder to become faster and/or stronger. This is an eye opener for some. Thanx for sharing and being the coach that you are . emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2135 days ago
    Life is like a boomerang;
    what you give, you get back!

    For those of us that were able to watch you blossom as a Daisy, this seems a perfect progression of your abilities. You've always been a great motivator to all of us and I hope you continue to share your thoughts in frequent blogs. I learn so much from you (and you know I love your photos).

    2135 days ago
  • WILSON1926
    What a great post. Thank you so much
    2136 days ago
    What a wonderful blog! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your wisdom. I'm new to Maintenance and have been really thinking about my new 'strategy' and have come to find that I don't really need to change all that much. The healthy habits I formed to reach my goal weight are the same habits I can apply for my healthy lifestyle going forward - some 'tweaking' here and there will be needed but it's not that far of a stretch.

    I feel very strongly about living a life that sets an example for my children - all adults in their 20s - 3 married, 1 with a baby. I keep telling them to do their "future selves" a favor and take care of their young bodies now.

    I'll be subscribing to your blog - thank you again, Pat emoticon
    2136 days ago
  • EOWYN2424
    Some people just won't admit they are overweight and need to lose weight. I've learnt to keep my mouth shut when it comes to them.
    2136 days ago
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