You Can’t Borrow Motivation or Confidence
ACT Yourself Motivated! ACT Yourself Confident!
Act yourself into the person you want to be!
Want to feel fit? Go for a walk. Want to feel strong? Lift some weights. Want to feel courageous? Do something courageous! Want to feel more confident at a given skill? Practice the skill!
Then…rinse and repeat tomorrow.
Too often we self-sabotage by thinking we have to be a “motivated person” or a “confident person” to work out, eat well, try a new sport, etc. We think we have to feel confident doing something before we can do that something.
You don’t have to feel like an excellent vegetarian cook to try your hand at cooking vegetables. You don’t have to feel excited about exercising to go for a walk. You will become a better vegetarian cook by cooking. You will feel more adept at moving your body by moving your body. Energy is CREATED by doing. A body in motion stays in motion.
Stop waiting for the appropriate emotion to drive action. Start acting the way you want to feel.
Act your way into becoming the person you want to be.
Yes, some days I wake-up feeling motivated to move my body, but more often than not I move because I know I will feel better BY moving. I have learned through years of practice that I have to ACT my way into the feelings I want vs letting my emotions of the moment dictate my actions. When I feel lethargic, doing nothing feeds the lethargy. Inactivity begets more inactivity. When I feel lethargic and I make myself move my body, I feel better.
As I tell my clients, “the worse your mood the more important the workout. Movement creates energy and positive affect.” This mentality has been especially helpful during the pandemic. More often than not I wake up feeling anxious and overwhelmed. A pandemic will do that to a human! If I let my feelings dictate my actions, I would spend all my days sleeping and watching Netflix. I have to push myself to move. The nice part is, when I move I feel capable of facing the day.
As Ben Hardy teaches in Personality is Not Permanent, motivation and confidence are the prize of consistent proactive and forward-moving action. You have to invest in yourself first, and then you get the prize. We become who we are by committing to a purpose. Our personality is a biproduct of our goals, our purpose, and our actions.
Now, I am not a psychologist or a neuroscientist. I can’t tell you how much of your personality is innate vs (as Hardy states) created through action, BUT I can tell you this: I am a much healthier and happier Kathleen when I stop lamenting the elements of “me” that I can’t control and act in ways that align with the person I want to be. I am a much more productive, forward-moving, happier, and healthier Kathleen when I consciously focus my energy on what I can control and “architect” a life for the “future” Kathleen I want to be.
The key is that to achieve your health goals you have to stop waiting to be motivated to start accomplishing them. Go for a walk. Start prioritizing sleep. Start acting the way you want your future self to feel. You create your “future self” by the acts you take today. To paraphrase Hardy, you have to take enough positive actions “in the now” to get to a point where your future self is your current self.
1. Small wins = a baseline change
Take small actions towards the you that you want to become. No act is too small. Accrue enough small wins and you will start to change how you see yourself. Go for enough walks and you become “a walker.” Jog enough times and you become “a jogger.”
Your wins don’t have to be massive; they just have to be consistent. Show yourself that you CAN follow through. When you demonstrate to yourself that you can follow through you alter what you expect from yourself. Build your confidence in yourself, in your ability to create the future you of your dreams.
Be intentional and courageous with your actions. Set goals that are possible. Note all your small wins. Use these wins as a jumping-off pad. Show yourself you ARE capable of accomplishing your goals!
2. Try on a new version of YOU
Make yourself try new things. You don’t have to like everything you try. All experiences are data. The better the info you have about what you like and don’t like, the better the goals you can set. Exposure is the first source of any goal. You can’t pursue what you don’t know exists. Trying new things will fuel different desires.
As Hardy says, “your future self is an acquired taste.” You have to learn to want and desire new things. To change your preferences, you have to experience new things. Try new healthy foods. Try a new sport. Take up dance. If you hate dancing, cool, but maybe you will love it. I always thought I hated running. Then I gave it the old college try. Now it is my bliss.
If you want your future self to be healthier you have to learn to want healthier things. To “want” these healthier things you have to first experience them. Be brave. Experiment!
Don’t stress if you don’t currently jump for joy at the thought of moving your body!! I don’t need you to always want to exercise.
I do need you to find ways to make yourself move! Create forcing functions in your life: get a personal trainer or a fitness buddy, join an online accountability group, etc. Create environments that serve your goals: don’t have junk in your house, create a convenient home gym, set alarms to make yourself get up and move around.
Health is not about passive discovery. Adopting a healthier lifestyle takes awareness and intention. Act yourself into motivation. Act yourself into confidence. Show yourself who you are!
Stop putting off for tomorrow what can be done today! As we are taught in the play The Music Man, “You pile up enough tomorrows and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays.” Stop stockpiling yesterdays.
Act today the way you want your future self to feel! Act yourself motivated. Act yourself confident. Stop talking. Start doing!!