It was impressive to see him push through the discomfort. His shoulders were undoubtedly burning with lactic acid. He kept lifting. Rep after rep. Doing dumbbell presses beside him amplified my internal voice, “I just want to stop.” Being a motivational keynote speaker doesn’t mean you are only concerned about supporting others for an hour at a convention. Between sets, I mentioned how impressive his drive was. He said the exact same phrase, “I just want to stop.”
You likely know about the Japanese word coined in 1986, Kaizen. It means “continuous improvement” and is generally used in business settings. Toyota and Canon facilitate and process 60 to 70 suggestions per employee per year. In the spirit of kaizen, improvement isn’t a new year’s resolution or an annual planning meeting outcome. It is multiple times per day. Yet, what about the uncomfortable nature of improvement? Instinct has us each think, “I just want to stop.”
Germaine was born in Jamaica. He came to the US with his family and is now married to a dietician. He has no athletic agenda. He isn’t preparing for any thing in particular. He just wants to improve his health. His motivation to show up at the gym was strong enough to get past that feeling of quitting, avoiding or procrastinating. Moreover, before he showed up, a little voice may have been trying to talk him out of experiencing imminent pain. Germaine is just like you and me. We want to stay away from pain. But some of us meet the discomfort straight on. Some avoid it at all costs.
How then, can us mere mortals, summon the willpower to supersede the “I just want to stop” reflex?
1. Simple Motion – There can be all sorts of excuses. It’s snowing outside. My stomach hurts. The remote control is lonely. Getting past the all the hurdles between you and a completed workout or task can be intimidating. But simple motions are not. Throw the covers off. Brush your teeth. Find your exercise gear. Pick up your car keys. Get in the car. Drive. Just focus and act on the next obvious step.
2. The Prize – Keeping your attention on the outcome/prize takes your attention off the little voice of doubt.
3. Bigger Pain – Attach a bigger pain to not working out or task. What are the consequences? What would it feel like to identify with the saying, “I skipped my workout today. That makes it 12 months in a row now.”
It is ironic. This picture is taken over looking a beach in the Bahamas the day before delivering a motivational keynote speech. Where do I want to be? Reading a book with my toes luxuriating in the sand. But, this eBrief needs to get done (for you) before I workout (for a healthy future) which is a hurdle to get past before those toes wiggle in paradise (the prize). But there's that voice again...
I just want to stop.