A Word on Motivation

Writen by Dr. Paul Ochoa


A lot of people struggle with staying motivated.  Let’s be honest, I struggle with staying motivated.  So the question is, how can you set goals for yourself related to your health that you can stick to and actually achieve?

Here’s a day in the life of Chad Woodard.  (brace yourselves, this will potentially be profound)  At any given time of year, I have a laundry list of ambitious goals I have set for myself.  Currently they include training for my 3rd IronMan taking place in August, and sticking to a 30 day challenge of perfect dietary compliance.  Here’s the problem with those goals: I would much rather sit on my floor with my dogs whilst eating a huge bowl of lucky charms and watch The Ellen Show.  I am lazy.  I love junk food.  It’s just who I am…

What’s a fellow to do, you ask?  Good question, I respond.

There are a lot of ways to stick to your goals, and each person has to find what makes them tick.  Perhaps your goal is to do your daily exercises that your genius physical therapist prescribed.  Chances are if you were told to do those exercises because they stand a chance to make your eyes change color, you are going to be skipping a few days.  If you’re doing them because your back hurts and you can’t hold your kid, they start sounding a little more important.

That’s the first trick.  Set goals as they relate to what is important for you.  Really important.  After you set them, give them a good hard look over.  Is your goal of fitting into that bathing suit by July important enough to put down the cupcake?  Really?  Perhaps so, but you’d better be sure before faced with that temptress Red Velvet.  She is relentless and will find you.

Sometimes the aforementioned idea works for me.  Sometimes I’m a lousy cheater and I don’t care how important things are to me.  So I always recommend a good back up plan: guilt.

Mother’s have been using this tool since the beginning of time, am I right?  The things we do because we know that ‘disappointed Mom’ face is the worst thing ever.  So why not use it to your advantage.

For example, when I first signed up for a marathon, I had no clue if I could actually do it.  I had never trained for a race and had some doubts about my ability to complete it.  How did I handle those doubts?  I told EVERYONE I was doing it!  That way I had a built in guilt system for compliance.  If I skipped a training run, someone would be asking me about my training soon.  I clearly can’t let them down, so I would do the stupid run…

With my diet, I have grouped together with a bunch of idiots on social media and we are competing to see who can be the best on their diet.  That’s right, if it’s a competition, you’d better believe I am going to WIN!  I know that about myself, so why not use it to get healthy?

There are more tricks to finding what motivates you, and frankly, if I write them all down, nobody will read that far.  I’d wager I’ve already lost a few readers a few indents ago.  The point is: find what is important to you.  Make it public knowledge.  Attach it to a goal that is imperative that you achieve.  Find a buddy and do it together.  Make it a contest if you must.

Whatever your tricks are, you’ll feel good about sticking with it.  You also wont mind people glancing your way in that new bathing suit.  Just sayin’…

-Chad Woodard