“I just cannot seem to stay motivated to exercise, eat right, and take care of myself. How do you manage to do it day in and day out?”
I am often asked this question by clients, friends, family, people in line at the grocery store, at the end of lectures – you name it.
My answer to this question is actually pretty simple – I love my Self!
Now, before you start thinking that I am some sort of narcissist (which may be true depending on who you talk to), let me explain myself.
I really do not care what your goals are in life. In order to look better naked, set the world record in the dead lift, become a professional Playstation player, be a better business owner, or to complete an IronMan or marathon, you must first cultivate a significant amount of love for your Self.
I am speaking about a true love here. An interesting point here, and I first heard this from Stephen Covey, is that the word love is, in fact, a verb. IF we look at the language of every progressive society since the dawn of “man”, the word love is, in fact, used as a verb. Love is not an emotion. Rather it is a way of being in the world which is reflected in your thoughts, words, and deeds. It is not an emotion – it is a quality of being.
We are not speaking about an “ooey-gooey” feeling here. We are speaking about a way of being in the world that allows you to listen to the innate wisdom of your own body. We are speaking about cultivating enough love for Self that you are intrinsically motivated to not buy shitty food when you go to the grocery store, to exercise regularly in a healthy way, to not use your stomach as a garbage can, to go to bed on time, and to rest when you feel like you are tired instead of working yourself into a hormonal stupor.
People often ask me why I spend so much money on food and supplements, why I tend to not miss workouts (or why I make them up if I do), why I am so picky about how much sleep I get, why I do not eat bread, why I do not use a microwave, why I only drink certain waters, why I do not drink alcohol, why can I not just be a “normal” person, and on and on the list goes. Again, I do these things because I choose to out of love for my Self.
Self Love and Your Programming
Many people do not realize that Self Love is quite literally programmed out of you. Society, schooling and “education”, religion, culture, government, medicine, language and “phraseology,” and to a large degree even your very own family, play a very large role in programming you for self-sabotage. This ensures that you remain part of a system of “human farming” that has been running for a very, very long time. About a million pages could be written on this, so in the interest of time I would say for those that are interested in this topic, read and study the following: (not an exhaustive list by any means but a decent introduction in my opinion)
The Book of Understanding by Osho
Fame, Fortune, and Ambition: What is the real meaning of Success? by Osho
Virus of the Mind by Richard Brodie
Mind Programming by Eldon Taylor
Memetics: Memes and the Science of Cultural Evolution by Tim Tyler
The Language Codes by R. Neville Johnston
Another thing that I hear all the time is that, “If I only had someone to help keep me accountable I would be able to _______________ (fill in your preferred goal here). The roots of this statement are very deep and beyond the scope of a simple post. What I will say is that accountability, much like discipline and motivation, is a complete joke. The very statement indicates that you have lost something very valuable somewhere in your past. Anytime you need someone outside of yourself to hold you “accountable” for anything, you completely give up your personal power. You are placing your energy and well-being in the hands of another. This is very dangerous, particularly when it comes to your health and well-being. We must all “reprogram” ourselves to hold ourselves accountable for our lives. To be truly healthy, one must take complete and total responsibility for what is created in life moment to moment, short, and long term.
How to Cultivate Self Love
The first step, and often the most frightening one, is to investigate your own psyche. Identify where the cracks are in your prior programming. Challenge the beliefs that you hold and investigate where they came from and whether or not they are serving you at this juncture in your Life. If they are, keep em. If not, replace them with something that is more serving – something that not only benefits you, but also those around you who are on your “Dream Team.”
Ask yourself, “What is it that makes me truly happy?” It is not common for individuals to know the answer to that question in my experience. If you do not know what makes you happy, I encourage you to stop reading this, go sit in silence somewhere alone (under a tree, on a beach, wherever) and get very clear about what makes you happy. After all, if you do not know what makes you happy, how will you know when you have it? There are some great individuals that I know and have worked with personally who can help with this kind of self-exploration and “reprogramming.” Visit these sites for two of my favorite people in this area:
Most take for granted the fact that you are in constant communication with your body with every thought you think, word you say, and deed you perform.
If unhealthy habits continue, the continual lack of respect creates in your body a feeling of being unloved. This ultimately leads to shame and that feeling then triggers a specific emotional and chemical response. When we experience any emotion, polypeptides are produced for that specific emotion by the hypothalamus in the brain. In less than a second, these chemicals begin to flood the bloodstream. The bloodstream carries these chemicals to every one of your 100 trillion cells, flooding your body with an emotional and chemical cocktail. These chemical messengers then set off a chemical cascade in your cells driven by that emotion (shame, anger, fear, love, etc.)
Research shows that the average human being has between 56,000 and 100,000 thoughts in any given day. Research also shows that less than 2% of these are positive!
When you have any negative thought about yourself, such as, “I hate my thighs,” or, “I don’t like how big my butt is,” or decide not to act in a healthy way, the basic message to your cells is that you do not love them. Yes, I am aware that that sounds “airy fairy” but that does not make it any less true. This decreases immune function and efficiency, magnifies the stress response in the body, rapidly increases physical aging, increases death of brain cells, and breaks down muscle tissue, all of which will ultimately slow your metabolism. What this leads to in a nutshell is that you look older than you actually are, you gain fat, lose muscle, make it more difficult to lose the fat and more difficult to rebuild or gain muscle, and eventually you get sick – period.
If you are looking for a new aesthetic appeal, you will need to feed your cells (all of them, including your fat cells) thoughts of love and gratitude, in addition to clean air, clean, organic food and clean water. Getting in touch with your Self will also help you find your weight loss solution – if that is what you are after – and it seems to be all anyone cares about these days (again, that’s a programmed desire).
Here are the “things” that I recommend you do to begin the process of loving yourself, and in turn, staying “motivated” to be healthy, etc.:
1. Figure out what makes you happy.
Many people struggle with this. Very often when I ask a client to answer this question, the answer is always something outside of themselves. I get, “My kids make me happy,” or “I really enjoy riding my bike and that makes me happy,” or “Working out makes me happy.” I would invite you to find something that makes you happy that is not outside of yourself. Why? Well, if your happiness is outside of you, there is a chance that it can be somehow taken from you. The result is that people live in a perpetual state of fear of losing that happiness. This leads to a lot of stress and internal chaos. No, I am not saying that you should not love your spouse and kids unconditionally, so spare me the backlash bullshit on that one.
I am often asked what makes me happy when I pose that question (there’s always someone willing to play ‘Stump the Chump’). My answer is simple. Creating something that another person can use to improve his/her overall quality of life is what makes me happy. Living my life with a sense of purpose makes me happy. I do my best to use my life as an example that others can follow, if they choose, in order to achieve abundant health and vitality. Some people choose to follow that example, which I think is pretty cool; and others think that I am completely full of shit, and that is pretty cool too!
An easy way to figure out what makes you happy is to sit quietly in a room alone and meditate on this question, “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” Or, “If money were no object, what would I do?” In many cases (but not all) the answer to these questions is usually what will make you happy. Do more of the things that would have you reach that goal and you are on what Taoists call “the way.”
2. Accept the truth that your decisions and actions have created the body that you have today.
This is difficult for many because there is nothing more exquisitely pleasant than to place blame on something outside of yourself for the way you look (genetics, thyroid problems, etc.) Caroline Myss, PhD, states that a truly healthy individual is one who can look back on ALL of their past experiences with gratitude. Be grateful for your past actions and accept that these actions happened in your past. It all happened for a reason – to teach you a very important lesson and to bring you back into your Self. You could potentially be well served not to make decisions based on your past. What is important is what you do with the energy of now.
3. Embrace the “F” word – Forgiveness.
Now that you have accepted what has happened, you must forgive one very important person – yourself. Until you can forgive yourself for your own actions and reactions, there is still a “thing” in your way of achieving the motivation to achieve the ideal body that you want. This “thing” has a consciousness and will continue to attract energy and create a reality until it is resolved. You must decide that your past has no power over you. Today is new, a day for new decision, new thoughts, and new habits.
4. Find the Bright Spots
Be grateful for the wonderful positive people, circumstances and objects in your life today, and for those that are not. Every night write a list of 10 things for which you are most grateful. Read this first thing when you awake as a reminder of all that you are grateful for. It is also helpful to find something that you do like about a body part that you desire to change and focus on the love that is there.
Remember, the people around you, your spouse or partner, friends and family do not interact with your physical body. They interact with your Soul. As Pierre Teilhard of Chardin stated, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
5. Be selfish enough to love your Self.
Realize that being selfish enough to love yourself is the most unselfish thing you can do. It is a fundamental Law of the Universe that you simply cannot give what you do not have. As you learn to love all parts of yourself, including your body, accepting and loving others will come easily. You can then also lead others by example on how to love themselves. One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from Gandhi who said, we must, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
By having more love for your Self, it will be much easier to “stay motivated” to eat right, exercise right, drink right, sleep right, and think right; and by doing those things I am confident that you can achieve any dream and create whatever kind of body you so desire.