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Find Your Own Darn Motivation! (Part 1)

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I had a wonderful and motivating talk with my girlfriend about her reasons for signing up for, and running in a 10k. Then, after a day of a complete and utter lack of any and all motivation, I decided to watch an episode of The Doctors, a show about real doctors discussing real-life medical issues. This particular issue also dealt with motivation on some level. That seemed to be the theme of the week for me, and it really got me to thinking … What is it about motivation that really gets people going?

Back to the conversation I had with my friend who found the motivation to register for a 10k after not running for years. She said she was tired of watching other people do the one thing that she had once loved doing so much. She has a naturally competitive spirit, so it wasn’t hard for her to find her motivation. From the day she set her mind to start running again to the time she ran her first 10k, was less than two months. Her motivation was internal. She wanted to feel good about herself again, she wanted to compete, and she wanted to get healthy. She found her motivation, or more so realized her motivation, and took action.

Then, earlier today, I had The Doctors playing in the background as I did some writing. They were discussing the motivation to lose weight and be fit. Their discussion revolved around why people cannot lose weight and what they need to do to reach their goals. Each person was asked why they wanted to lose weight. Their answers didn’t much matter as the feedback was the same ... eat more whole foods, fewer fats, and exercise more. But, the whole purpose was for them to understand why they wanted to lose the weight in the first place. The thought was that the right motivation would lead to success, regardless of what that motivation was. The bottom line was that the people questioned could not be motivated by anybody else (they couldn’t be losing the weight for their spouse/partner, revenge, etc.) but they had to be motivated by themselves (health, personal happiness, improved confidence, etc.). If they had this internal motivation to lose weight, then they would be more likely to successfully lose the weight. Man ... I should have been paying more attention to that episode, but that’s another story for another day.

Now, I just had this long, two-hour conversation with my brother about his life and what he is doing with it (not much). At one point he told me that he was thinking of joining the police academy. Now, most of you would probably say that this is great, especially in this day and age where jobs are scarce and crime is on the rise. But, let me just say that this is the same brother who I had a similar conversation with a few weeks ago when he, out of the blue, told me that he was going to join the military … AGAIN!

Am I confusing you a bit? Sorry. Let me back up and give you some history. My brother is the baby of the family and all his life, he has been coddled ... by my mom and his dad, by my husband and I, and even now, by his girlfriend. My brother (we’ll just call him Bill), was a great kid growing up; he made straight As and Bs in school, was on the Honor Society, Future Business Leaders of America, and both the English and Spanish Junior League, in addition to playing football and basketball. In all respects, he was headed to college on a silver platter and was an all-around, all-American kid.

Then, sometime in his junior/senior year, he lost all motivation. Bill nearly flunked out of school, lost all desire to go to college, and began a quick descent into loserville. He became a slacker, drinking all the time and doing other intoxicating things that I will not divulge in this forum. He was living with me by this time and yes, I will admit, that in a lot of ways, I enabled him (read above ... I have already wholeheartedly admitted to coddling the boy). He hopped from job to job with no real direction in life. He never kept any job long, either because he got bored and stopped going, he was too inebriated and stopped going, or he was sick because he refused to take care of himself properly and stopped going. See the pattern here? Oh, he was fired from plenty of jobs, but mostly, he just stopped going. He couldn’t find the motivation to find a “real” job, he couldn’t find the motivation to stay in school (he completed a semester and then ... you got it ... he stopped going), and he certainly couldn’t find the motivation to clean up his act and do right. Of course, after way too long (five years) and way too many heartaches (countless), I had to kick him out. Cruel and unusual … maybe, but I like to call it tough-love motivation.

That was over two years ago. Since then, he met a girl, rented a room in a house, worked at Cracker Barrel, moved to Delaware to live with my mom (with the girl), stopped working at Cracker Barrel, started working at Subway, got the girl pregnant, had a baby, stopped working at Subway, and got a job at Friendly’s ... all in this same time. So, now my twenty-five-year-old brother had a girl, a baby, and a dead-end job. So, what does he do? He calls me for advice. Big surprise!

Back to my brother’s desire to join the police academy ... like I said ... a few weeks ago, it was the military. See, right after 9/11, when my brother was eighteen, he got all patriotic and decided that he was going to join the army and go off to war “to fight for his country.” Now, I am all for patriotic symbolism, but I do not think we all need to rush out and join the military and for my brother ... that was the last thing he needed to do. He just doesn’t have it in him. He’s never been a fighter and, as I am sure you have gathered from this story so far, he isn’t much good at finishing things that he starts. Anyway, I was right ... he didn’t even make it through basic training. Now, I don’t know the whole story but it was something about not listening and failing to respect the commanding officers. Needless to say, he was “less than honorably” discharged ... whatever that means.

(Stay tuned for Part 2)


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