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On Motivation

If you want something bad enough, you will work at it until you get it.

Want to get a degree and get yourself a good job? You’ll persevere through shitty classes, indifferent profs, and bullshit tests to get the grades you need to get that piece of paper and move on with your life. Want to move up at work? You’ll bust your ass and learn things, make yourself valuable, blow the boss, whatever it takes. Want a new car? Actually, you probably won’t work hard for this one, you’ll just go down to the bank and take out a ridiculous loan and slowly pay it off over way too long, making your banker love you.

Want to get in shape? You’ll talk about it a lot, then try for a little bit, then quit because it was uncomfortable. Wait, what? How did that become the default way that people approach improving their physical fitness? Lots of people who are otherwise really successful and driven are fat fucks because for some reason they just don’t want to put in the work to get there. They will kill themselves doing 100 hours per week at work or suffer through barely being able to afford food meant for humans so they can get their business off the ground, but eating right and hitting the gym is way too much hard work for them.

I’m amazed at how often I see this in people. I mean, in people who are lazy in the rest of their lives it makes sense. At least they’re consistent in their fatness and laziness. But in people who are serious type-a overachievers it is surprisingly common as well. I have a sneaking suspicion that it has something to do with the fact that it requires at least a little physical discomfort, rather than just mental toughness and stamina. But I could be completely wrong about that.

I am in a situation where I can dedicate basically my entire life outside of work to getting myself into shape. And other than my gym time, you want to know how much time it takes me, weekly? Probably three hours at the absolute most. And that includes all of the time I spend prepping food – which I would be doing anyways because last time I checked most people require food to function on any kind of long-term basis. Tack on maybe another hour if you want to count the time I spend getting groceries. I would imagine that I probably actually spend less time than the average person on that kind of stuff, even when you toss in the fitness planning part of it.

Putting a reasonable plan together shouldn’t take more than an hour or so. If you do it in a way that isn’t completely retarded, it’ll take you about 15 minutes per week to modify if it needs any modification. Which it probably won’t.

Is it the easiest thing in the world? It sure isn’t. But on the whole it’s a lot less difficult and stressful than running my own business was. It’s a lot easier than working 60+ hours per week for minimum wage and barely scraping by day to day. And it’s a lot easier when you learn to get out of your own way and minimize the number of things you have to choose to do each day, as we have discussed previously.

But you spend so much time in the gym! True, I do currently spend about an hour per day 6 days per week in the gym. But that level of exercise (or any exercise at all, actually) is not necessary for anyone who just wants to lose some fat. You can get into pretty reasonable shape just through controlling your diet and stuffing less garbage into your face. I’m doing all the gym time to keep me busy so I don’t go crazy, to maintain muscle mass, and to increase my calorie burn so I can still eat a fair amount of food daily while losing ~1.5lb of fat per week. I’m doing it so I can get results that are a lot closer to “optimal” rather than just “good enough.” Exercise is only really necessary once you start wanting to improve being average or getting average results.

Let’s be honest here – whoever said that “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” obviously never had cheesecake or bacon or peanut M&M’s. But being able to choose to do any random physical thing at the drop of a hat without having to worry about if you can handle it is pretty fucking awesome.

If it was easy, everyone would do it. If it was easy, everyone would look like the people on the magazine covers. And if it was easy, you wouldn’t value it in the slightest. Think back to school, for those of you who can remember that far back. When some game or competition happened, and every single person got an award, including the kid with serious mental issues who instead of doing the event just sat in the back and drooled in the corner, did you give even the tiniest fuck about the award or ribbon they gave you? Unless it said “first place,” and you were the only person who got that one, I really doubt it. What we don’t work for we don’t value.

So stop making excuses. If you really want the result, you will put in the time and effort. If it is really worth knowing you don’t have to dread walking up stairs, you don’t feel ashamed going out in public in anything more revealing than a potato sack, or so your children just might have a parent when they start to grow up – you will do it. And if you slip up, and you encounter setbacks, you will learn from them and get up and keep trying again.

If you decide that it isn’t worth it, and you are happy where you are, that’s ok too. You don’t have to a fitness model. But don’t complain about where you are if you are the one who put yourself there. Take responsibility for your actions. And on the off-chance it isn’t 100% your fault that you are stuck wherever you are, get over it and control the only thing that you can in this life. Yourself.

You haven’t failed until you quit. And failure is a choice when it comes to fitness. So quit failing, and get out there and be more awesome today than you were tomorrow. The short-term pain is worth the long-term reward. And don’t quit until tomorrow.

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