Keeping on keeping on

The great runner Jim Ryun said, “Motivation is what gets you going, habit is what keeps you going.”And of course, habit is, as they say, “where the rub is.”

The desire to make a change involves one or more motivations — those might flow out of the social, spiritual, physical or emotional areas of our lives.

 But to change a habit will often engage us at levels of decisionmaking we have resisted stubbornly, sometimes for a lifetime.We tend to drift into bad habits over long periods of time without realizing it; we conform, we “fit in”, we get comfortable in the mode of doing the easy thing. Our friends, family and business associates have grown accustomed to us at that “level”. And, “life happens” — and suddenly long term habits, well entrenched, become what mark us and in reality hold us in their tight grip.

As coaches, we often see clients who are willing to begin, perhaps simply, in one or two areas. Some motivation has moved them to think about change and with us, begin to envision and plan for change. The encouragement and support of well crafted goals and regular interaction with a coach then begin to help a client view old habits in new light and then: new habits begin to overtake old ones.

If you’re at a place where you’re motivated in one or more of life’s dimensions, don’t let things stop there! At a minimum, put something specific on paper. And if you’re ready, call us so we can assist you to form new habits which will keep you going.

What do you think about on the treadmill?

What do you think about on the treadmill (or your bike, walk, run, swim?) The treadmill (and stationary bike) are a little like the shower for me. I get some great thoughts – and can’t text myself or jot good notes on the treadmill. But sometimes, they stay with me long enough to jot them down!

I realized last week there are a couple of good lessons I’ve learned, as I “walk to nowhere” at my gym.

First, what I did a few months ago won’t suffice for today. This goes right to the heart of growth and being stretched and sharpened. It also slices into the excuses that used to flow out of me whenever I even thought about exercise. All of it started about three years ago, when I innocently told my wife: “We need to go back to Weight Watchers!” That was the beginning of the end for me – the end of some excuses I’d practiced for decades and uttered as often as needed, in response to an invitation to go, do, participate, hike, etc, etc.

See, I had sciatica, knee pain, hip pain – I mean, exercise was – well, “impossible” for me – at least most kinds! At Weight Watchers I learned that activity has to be part of the mix! And not only that, a year or so in, I learned that a little is good, but doing the same “little” after a month or two or three, is kind of like doing what I used to: nothing.

Activity needs to increase – because my stamina increases and my heart rate and respiration won’t get worked over the longer term unless the speed and resistance are increased! What works for today won’t work for a month from now. The same is true in a marriage – or with business growth – or your mental or spiritual “diet and exercise” for that matter. We need stretching and development of all kinds! It feels good. It is good. But it needs to increase, incrementally, sometimes gradually, but always steadily!

A second lesson: what I do today is great for today – but I still need to come back tomorrow or the day after and so on… I’ve figured it out! Exercise is just like shaving (or showering or cleaning up after your kids or pets). It doesn’t really matter if you get tired of it, it’s still a need. It doesn’t matter if boredom sets in – you still need to get after it! (And boredom can be dealt with — change things up, exercise with friends, etc). But, “tired or bored” or my plain old lazy nature just don’t give me sufficient reason to stop doing what is a great and heathy habit in life.

Again – marriage and the rest of life come into play. How often you hear men or women say, “I’m bored in this marriage” or “this ___________ (job/assignment/company, etc) just doesn’t excite me anymore.” Lots of bad decisions get made out of boredom which, seen in another light, would be made quite differently. It could be what I need at the moment isn’t a major change, it’s a major change of attitude or some new perspective; I may need to marshal some resources to re-inspire me or some new accountability to reinvigorate the original goal I had when I began.

Are you also on a journey away from your excuses and out of your former comfort zone? We’d love to hear about it!

Can You Motivate Others?

I read recently: “You can’t push another person up a ladder.”

The scenario regarding motivation often goes like this: one person gets charged up about health, spiritual life, physical fitness, a new commitment to career or business venture – and the husband, wife or co-worker just doesn’t share that motivation. Motivation is not easily transferred, even to people close to us.

And, it helps us to remember, that even in us, motivation is a fickle, illusive and temporary companion. So, even for us, we don’t  always persevere and stay “at” what we “really wanted” a few days or weeks or months earlier.

So, when it comes to getting others charged about something that we’re charged about, whether a spouse, child, employee or business partner, we’d do well to remember that motivation mostly comes from within (perhaps based on observing something or someone) and then it works itself to the outside.

Anda, a boss, spouse or parent can usually, at best, just motivate on a short-term or a negative basis. (Wife says to husband, “We’ve got to do something about how we’re eating….” – Or boss says, “Your raise is dependent on getting your sales figures up within the next 3 months.”) In short-term cases (and this is the problem with the short-term goal like losing 20# before a wedding) motivation lasts only for the duration of the term, or less! And with negative motivations, when the pressure reduces, the behavior reverts.

So can I help others get or stay motivated? There are some principles we can employ, like:

1. Share testimonials – without implicating the other person. When you’re ready, when the “light bulb” has gone on in your heart and mind – go for it, for your own long-term good, and then share the results. You can say things like, “Man, I feel so much better since….” Or I really enjoyed that last book I read on….” Or “You would not believe how much energy I’ve had lately…”

2. Make certain you persevere in your own motivation, despite the fact that motivation for you might wane at times. Commit and stay committed, get some accountability, assemble some cheerleaders around you who are committed to the same kind of goals. There’s nothing quite so de-motivating to a spouse, friend or child as to see you move quickly from excited, to frenzied activity, to quitting when your motivation fades.

3. Then, when and if the conversation comes (and let it be initiated by the other person) – when the conversation you’ve been wanting to have about their need to do something in the area in which you’re motivated comes: begin by assuring them of how much you love or care about them; and that that is the reason you’d love to see some transformation in them as well. Knowing someone cares deeply is one of the strongest of motivational factors.

Do You Need Encouragement?

May 24, 1965.

A 13 and 1/2 foot boat slipped out of the marina at Falmouth, Massachusetts.  Destination: England! If it made it, it would be the smallest boat to ever cross the Atlantic.  Its name was Tinkerbelle.  The pilot was Robert Manry.  He’d been a copy editor for 10 years and he was bored; he took a leave of absence to fulfill a secret dream.

He was afraid — but not of the ocean.  His fear was all the people who’d try to talk him out of the trip.  So he didn’t tell many, just a few relatives and his wife, Virginia, his greatest supporter and encourager.

The trip was anything but pleasant.  He spent sleepless nights trying to cross the shipping lanes without getting run over by large ships.  Weeks at sea made his food tasteless.  Loneliness gave him hallucinations.  His rudder broke three times.  Storms swept him overboard; if he hadn’t had a rope tied around his waist, he never would have made it back aboard.  After 78 days alone at sea, he sailed into Falmouth, England.

During the long trip, he thought about what he’d do when he arrived.  He figured he’d check into a hotel, eat dinner alone; then the next morning see if the Associated Press might be interested in his story.  But word of his trip spread.  To his amazement, three hundred boats, horns blaring, escorted the Tinkerbelle into port.  And 40,000 people stood on the docks screaming and cheering him to shore.

Robert Manry was a hero.  His story went around the world.  But he knew, he couldn’t have done it alone! Standing on the dock was his hero, his wife Virginia.  She refused to be critical and negative about her husband’s trip.  She gave him constant encouragement which gave him to courage to pursue and complete his dream.

Coaches are encouragment specialists. We believe in people because we recognize that they are the experts in their own lives. God made them unique and our greatest task is helping them discover their unique purpose and passion.