This is a very personal subject. The reason for that is because we all find motivation in different places and for different reasons. I can’t tell you how to be motivated any more than I can you what your favorite color should be. What I can do, however, is tell you what motivates me and how I found that motivation.
When I was overweight and unhealthy, there was no single moment that caused me to change my eating habits. There was no single incident that made me decide I needed to get healthy and lose weight. There was a straw that broke the camel’s back moment, but that wasn’t the only reason. It was something simmering inside me for a long time.
I hated how I looked. Whenever I’d see myself in the mirror, I was disgusted by what I saw. I hated that I used to be thin and fit, and what I saw looking back at me was an overweight, unfit man who had given up on being healthy. It bothered me, and I despaired over it.
I hated how I felt. I was always tired, out of breath, and sweating. No matter how cool it was, I was always sweating. I couldn’t climb a staircase without getting winded. When my wife and I were on vacation or day trips, I would have to take breaks often. My size kept me from being able to partake in certain activities that we otherwise might have enjoyed.
I hated how I made others feel. I could see the look of despair on people’s faces when I boarded a plane and people would be hoping I wasn’t sitting next to them. I would notice people looking at me with disgust when eating in restaurants as I stuffed my face with unbelievable amounts of food. I would see people stare at me as I pushed a cart at the grocery store with all the 2 liter bottles of Coke and bags of Dove chocolates.
I hated being told by every doctor and health professional I ever made contact with that my lifestyle was unhealthy and that I was in poor health. I needed to lose weight, and I was reminded of this every time I went in for anything at all.
Most of all, I hated that I had given up on myself, on health, on fitness, and ultimately, on living a long life. I began realizing that I might not ever get to meet grandchildren; to spoil them, hug them, and love them. Worse yet, they would be denied having a grandfather.
One morning, I got up, and I couldn’t tie my shoes without holding my breath because my gut was so large. Right then and there, I realized something had to change. Fortunately, my cousin had discussed Whole30 and Paleo with me, and my friend Matt had also discussed eliminating sugar from my diet. The rest, as they say, is history.
What motivated me first and foremost was wanting to lose weight for my wife and for my kids. I felt that life was ending for me soon, and it scared me. I didn’t want to leave my wife and kids at a young age. I wanted to be around for them, for whatever they needed me for. I wanted to become fit so that I could start having adventures with my wife. She always wanted to be able to share experiences with me; I was denying her that. A simple thing like taking dance lessons was out of the question for me.
I was further motivated when I lost enough weight to begin exercising. I was able to finally run, and lately, I’ve taken up mountain bicycling. I enjoy both greatly. Then, there’s my military service in the National Guard. It was always something I felt was unfinished: my military service. I wanted to complete my 20 years, and the prospect of being able to get back into the military via the National Guard was a motivator to me as well.
Today, I am much healthier, lighter, fitter, and in the National Guard. With some luck, I will be around a lot longer for my wife, kids, and friends. What motivated me to get to where I am today may not resonate with you, but hopefully it encourages you to find your own motivation. When you do, hang on to it, treasure it, and honor yourself by feeding off of it to reach your goals. You are the only person who can do that for you.