Visionary Pursuits

Focus on the 'Why?'

Let's face it... no one likes going to the gym. I take that back. There are very few people who like going to the gym. Some people are naturally gym addicts like my ex-girlfriend, and get some kind of 'high' off of it. But for most of us it's tiring and we think of going with a sinking feeling of dread.

At the same time, most of us realize the necessity of working out, especially if we work in an office job where we sit most of the day. Going to the gym improves circulation, cardiovascular health, etc. But that really isn't why we go. We go so we can admire ourselves in the mirror.

Everyone does it. Each time I go to the gym I see someone shyly examining his or her body in the mirror, hoping no one will see them. I don't really understand this. You're at the gym to look good. So why is it taboo to notice that you're looking better? I say "admire yourself proudly!" After all, that's why you're there. We all go to see the pounds drop off, the muscles tone, and our bodies improve.

Honestly, that's the only thing that gets me out the door. My dance teacher Ida used to say, "The human body is inherently lazy." And she's right. Except for those few 'crazy' gymrats, most of us would prefer sitting around sipping iced tea and watching television. In fact, if that's what I'm doing, it's almost impossible for me to get up and walk out the door to the gym. I practically have to turn my brain off and just cannonball myself out the door. Of course, the last time I did that, I didn't notice until I'd been on the elliptical for 10 minutes that I'd shown up in flip-flops!

There's a better way. Focus on the 'why' of the task. In the case of going to the gym, you want your body to look and feel better. OK, that's sort of compelling, but let's make it more visceral. When I get ready to go to the gym, I think of looking at myself in the mirror the next morning as I go to shower. I think of how pleased I'll be to see just a little more muscle tone in my stomach and a little less fat on my waist. I think of going to the beach and taking my shirt off with pride instead of embarassment. I think of the first time a girl put her hand on my chest and told me it was sexy.

By the time I've gone through all this imagry, I can't get out the door fast enough! Instead of focusing on 'what' I have to do, I focus on the long-term 'why' of what I'm doing. What are you working for? What is your vision? Put yourself in the place of accomplishing that vision. How do you feel? Imagine specific situations in which you will reap the benefits, then play those over in your head before you get started. You'll find that the motivation is already there.