How to Motivate Yourself

How to Motivate Yourself

Hello Friends,

Today I am going to address an issue that I have received several personal e-mails about. Oftentimes I am asked: “John, what do you do to stay motivated? Do you ever have a problem in motivating yourself to exercise? I’m asking this question because I’m having a hard time staying motivated. Any advice you have to offer would be greatly appreciated.”

Answer: Staying motivated is a tough challenge for everyone from time to time. Yes, even I struggle with it. But I have found a few ways of dealing with it effectively. Sometimes it can be very simple. For instance, I just go into my exercise studio, look into the full-length mirror, and, in the words of William Holden to Ernest Borgnine in The Wild Bunch, I’ll say, “Get up, you lazy bast—." That one always cracks me up.

Other times I will reminisce and think back to my first Charles Atlas lesson under the tutelage of my grandfather and Uncle Wally. I recall how that one lesson inspired me and laid the foundation for the past forty-some years of my whole life. Believe me, that is a great motivator that always brings a big smile and gets me going.

And still other times I remind myself of this quote from one of my favorite writers. It deals with the issue of motivation in a straightforward fashion and is 100 percent true.

“If I insist that my work be rewarding, that it mustn’t be tedious or monotonous, I’m in trouble. It’s ridiculous to demand that work always be pleasurable, because work is not necessarily pleasing; sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. If we’re detached and simply pick up the job we have to do and go ahead and do it, it’s usually fairly satisfying. Even jobs that are repugnant or dull or tedious tend to be quite satisfying, once we get right down to doing them. This happens when we just do what we have to do.”
—Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain

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