A common excuse that people give for not eating right and exercising is that they are “just not motivated”. What exactly is motivation? According to the dictionary, motivation means to “provide with an incentive, impel or stimulate to action—to give a reason.” Realistically how motivated are we during the course of an average day to do any task? We wake up to an alarm, run to school or work to be on time, do dishes and laundry, fix the car, go to the dentist and clean up after our kids. Are we motivated to do all those things? What are the ramifications of not doing those things?
It is no secret that even a 30 minute moderate daily walk does so much for our health. We also know that just a few small changes in our diet, like adding a few more vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and just cutting back on some of the unhealthy snacks and transfats will enhance our wellbeing. Yet, only a small part of the population actually makes these changes. Lately, even monetary prizes have been used in reality events to get people to lose weight, only to see many of them just gain it all back over the year following their weight loss. So as far as motivation goes, it can be a great thing if you can attain it, but for most people, it only goes so far, if it goes anywhere at all. We are all educated people and we have learned what is good for us and what isn’t, yet the rate of people who smoke, overeat, are sedentary and are stressed is significant. So that leaves us with a question: If we know that we have to take care of ourselves and all traditional motivators aren’t doing it for us, what now? The answer is “DO IT ANYWAY”!
You may not be motivated to eat right and exercise, but it is probably wise to do it anyway. We all know that a healthy lifestyle benefits us in multiple ways so why not put a healthy diet and exercise on the do it anyway list! Once you take that first step towards health, things become easier. Start with small incremental changes and the self-motivating factors will kick in. You will begin to notice how much better you feel after exercise and how your clothes fit better when you lose weight. Most of all you can see your blood sugar, your cholesterol, blood pressure and overall health improve. And your emotional state of being will surely improve. The better you feel the more likely it is that you will continue to eat right and exercise.
Taking care of our health should come naturally since it is a Torach based mitzvah, and we do mitzvahs even if we aren’t “motivated” to do them. In order to get started, you may have to do it anyway, but most likely over time it will become a part of your life. Mitoch Lo Lishma, Ba Lishma. Once you get a taste of good health, then even when motivation is low you will “do it anyway” which will lead you towards a healthier lifestyle. Motivating yourself to “do it anyway” is another way to “add hours to your day, days to your year, and years to your life.”