Motivation From The Terminator
The post below is part of Arnold Schwarzenegger's newsletter from January 2022. It is worth reading and will certainly help you in your journey to success. To signup to Arnie's newsletter visit his website: schwarzenegger.com
"Let’s talk about New Year’s resolutions. Every year in January, the gyms are packed.
If you’re like me and always at the gym, welcome the new members. Be friendly. Help them out if they ask for it. Don’t be annoyed, the gym needs them to stay open too.
If you’re one of the people who committed to a big change this year, you might be frustrated. Statistically, this is the time that people give up on their resolutions. By February 1st, the average person has moved on. Approximately 23 percent of people give up after just a week! Only 19 percent stick with their resolution long-term.
How can we change that? If you gave up, or if you’re thinking about giving up, I want to talk to you.
You are not a failure; you’re just going over some speed bumps right now. You are not a failure unless you completely give up. And I know you don’t want to give up. Change is hard. Your body wants to live this life you’ve been living. Your mind is used to the habits you had last year. January 1st wasn’t some magical day that erased all of your routines and your muscle memory. You’re fighting against all of that to conquer your resolution, whether it was to go to the gym, eat less sugar, stop smoking, stop drinking, meditate more, lose weight, read more books, or work on your relationship.
You made a resolution because you wanted to change something. You wanted to change something for a reason. So as you hit the wall and think about giving up, think back to the reason you wanted to change.
Think about why you might be struggling.
We often underestimate how hard change really is. An object in motion wants to stay in motion, and we face inertia in our lives, not just in physics. We’ve been doing things our way for a long time. It starts from the moment you wake up in the morning. We all have that moment where we think the bed feels fantastic, and why would we ever get up? There’s a great Marcus Aurelius quote about this that I love:
At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: “I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?
So you were born to feel “nice”? Instead of doing things and experiencing them? Don’t you see the plants, the birds, the ants and spiders and bees going about their individual tasks, putting the world in order, as best they can? And you’re not willing to do your job as a human being? Why aren’t you running to do what your nature demands?
You don’t love yourself enough. Or you’d love your nature too, and what it demands of you.
Isn’t that fantastic? And he makes an important point. When you think about the change you want to make, you know it is hard so you need to motivate yourself the right way. Are you trying to use negative motivation? Are you telling yourself, “I want to do this because I hate how I am now?” Stop it. Negative motivation will run out fast because change takes time. If you’re trying to inspire yourself by saying “I hate my stomach,” I think you’re setting yourself up to fail. Your stomach is going to take time to change. Negative motivation runs out when you don’t see a quick win.
Instead, reframe how you think about your motivation for change. Look at what Aurelius said. Think about how you want to change because you love yourself. Now it is, “I want to lose weight because I love myself and I deserve to be healthier/look how I want.” If you are trying to change because you appreciate yourself, I think you’ll have plenty of long-term motivation.
Now, let’s think about how you are trying to create new habits. Are you doing too much? Did you go from never reading to trying to finish 100 pages a day? From never working out to an hour of squats?
The most lasting change happens incrementally. Do a little more today than you did yesterday, celebrate yourself, and then do a little more tomorrow and celebrate again. That’s how you stick to a resolution.
You have to trick your mind and your body. If you’re like me, you have at least two voices in your head. One is saying you can do it, and another one is telling you it isn’t worth it, just get back in bed. You have to trick the negative voice by loving yourself, breaking through the inertia, and making small wins.
No matter what you do, don’t give up. If you have already given up, just start again today. You didn’t fail. Remember why you are doing this; it’s because you want the best for yourself because that’s what you deserve. Write your goal down. Move slowly. And then every day, write down your small wins and celebrate. By the end of the year, you’ll be happy. Trust me.
You’ve heard me quote this poem by Samuel Beckett before, but:
“Ever tried. Ever failed.
Try again. Fail Again.
That’s how we all make our way through life. Take a step, fall down, get up, take a step, fall down, get up, and eventually you’ll have climbed a mountain. I’m rooting for you."
Do you have the guts and commitment to dream big and get the lifestyle you deserve?