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Stop using motivation as a crutch

September 27th, 2018 | no comments


  • Mel’s weekly product pick: 
    Nature’s Way Sambucus Elderberry Syrup
  • Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
    Egg Roll in a Bowl

It’s been over a decade since I first witnessed one of my personal heroes jogging the neighborhood…in the middle of winter.

Why do I consider him a hero? Well it’s not because he runs fast or far, quite the contrary, he keeps a comfortable pace, for maybe just a few miles. It’s not because he runs in cold weather either because plenty of us Ohio runners do that, so no biggie there. I’ve developed such a deep admiration for this man (I’ll call him Jack) because, well I’ll just say it…he’s no spring chicken. If I had to guess, I would say he’s in his mid-seventies and is more physically fit than most forty-year-olds I know. 

Sometimes I catch him walking the neighborhood or riding his bicycle uphill, and other times I smile as I watch him strike the punching bag in his garage like a heavyweight champion.

Jack is ALWAYS moving.

I’m a pretty curious individual, so naturally I began wondering what exactly fuels this man? What lights the invisible fire under his ass? Why—and how—does he keep going?

I’m often faced with these questions whenever I come across individuals (no matter what their age) who seem to have developed a fierce discipline for managing their health. If I could figure out what makes them tick, perhaps I can use it to help encourage others to do the same. 

Four months ago I saw Jack at the gym and decided this was the day I would finally introduce myself and pop the big question that’s been on my mind for years. I approached his weight bench and held out my hand:

Hi! My name is Melanie. We live in the same neighborhood and I always see you outside exercising, so I thought it would be nice to introduce myself. After exchanging a few pleasantries I asked my burning question. Jack, I just have to know…what is it that motivates you to work out so consistently? I mean, you are ALWAYS moving and are in such good shape. What exactly is it that motivates you to keep at it? Fully expecting Jack to reveal some major health scare as the catalyst responsible for his everlasting fitness journey, he looked into my eyes with a sort of puzzled look and replied so simply and matter-of-fact: Melanie, it’s all I know. 

And with that, I smiled and we parted ways—Jack returning to his bench press and me to my squats.

Take a moment to breathe in Jack’s response: It’s all I know.

Now, I don’t claim to know how Jack began his fitness journey so many years ago, but I imagine it went something like this:

He started working out for the health (and perhaps aesthetic) benefits, hit repeat day after day until it became a natural extension of himself (almost like growing a new organ), and then became motivated to continue because he felt so good. Fast-forward to today and the only way to explain his tenacity is: It’s all I know.

Here’s the thing my love. When you get to this place—and make no mistake, it is 100% possible to get there— there is absolutely no internal debate or mental ping-pong match as to whether or not you will work out today or choose to stop at one glass of wine. Why? Because it’s all you know.

But don’t wait for something or someone to motivate you to start, because the motivation factor eventually fades and you are back to sitting your ass on the couch, surrendering to that second glass of wine. 

Here’s how to make Jack’s simple, yet profound words work for you:

  1. Pick a habit you want to build (not one you want to break).
  2. Start today—NOT Monday— and take a stride towards building that habit. For example: if you want to make exercise a natural extension of who you are, take a walk around the block today; if you want to be the person who stops at one glass of wine (instead of three), pour yourself a 5-6 ounce glass of wine with dinner tonight and see yourself as someone who naturally enjoys just one glass of wine without the need for a second glass.
  3. Hit repeat tomorrow. Although, you don’t have to drink wine every day, but if you do- hit repeat on #2. 🙂
  4. Continue to hit repeat until you can confidently reply “It’s all I know”, when someone asks you how you stay so disciplined.

This may all seem so simple.

And you know what?

It is. 

Mel’s weekly product pick:
Nature’s Way Sambucus Elderberry Syrup

Last week my loving, adoring, and generous husband gave me the gift of his cold. At the very first sign of a scratch in my throat, I went to the store and bought a bottle of Nature’s Way Sambucus Elderberry Syrup, cracked open the bottle, and took a swig. PS: It’s quite yummy!

Sambucus nigra L. products are made from standardized black elderberry extract and have been traditionally used as a cold and flu remedy and for overall immune system support. In fact, in 400 BCE, Hippocrates referred to the elder tree (Sambucus nigra) as his “medicine chest”.

Not only does Sambucus help to reduce the severity and duration of the common cold and flu virus, it can also be used as a preventative measure…which I should have been doing once I learned of hubby’s cold. 

With cold and flu season right around the corner, you would be wise to have a bottle of Sambucus on hand and ready to go. You’ll thank me! 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick:
Egg Roll in a Bowl


Get FREE tips and tiny slices of motivation to help you live a healthier life...without giving up chocolate!

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