Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Commitment & Motivation are linked to Investment

As I've laid in bed awake this morning listening to some wicked thunderstorms, I've been thinking if I REALLY want to make it up and out to the gym (we're visiting family up north for the week). We've been up since 3:00 a.m. and there's no coffee to be seen. My husband is already shaving and preparing to go sweat, on the other hand (or side of the bed), I'm not so sure. What is it in him that drags him out of bed and invigorates him to do what's right (work out, in this case), versus just say "I think I'll take the day off - again" like I do so many times? He is very self-motivated, naturally. I am more...well, NOT! If, however, I had a personal trainer with whom I had an appointment and was paying, I, too, may be brushing my teeth and preparing to go be healthy with the same vigor.

I have found, from my personal experience and perspective, that for those of us who are not innately self-motivated (to be physically active, make healthy food choices, lose weight or train for an event) our investment in the cause is directly related to the level of investment. That investment is most powerful when it comes at a tangible cost: money, trade for services or a time cost for more than one party (specifically an appointment between the trainer or nutritionist/dietician and the client). I have seen people (friends, relatives) earnestly seek advice from others, and for others to offer that advice with the greatest intent - but without a tangible investment on the part of the seeker, there's no obligation for the seeker to act on any of that information. If, however, the seeker has to pay cash money for said advice, or has to follow up, report in or show improvement to an outside source, the motivation is greatly improved.

I remember a few years back when I finally got fed up with my own failed weight loss efforts and asked my husband if he would support my participation in a medical weight loss clinic, my motivation and adherence to a healthy plan was stimulated by having to pay out cash and appear in front of someone three times a week for a weigh in and check of my diet log. It was embarrassing to make no progress or have someone criticize my log. The same holds true with exercise. Paying for sessions of motivation and expertise increases compliance.

Sometimes an investment of some tangible type is worth your time - improve your health, longevity and quality of life with that type of investment and you'll never regret it.

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