When I was a teenager, I was a lifeguard at a swim club. I would notice that when the older ladies would slowly go down the steps, waving their hands right at the surface of the water as if to warm it up. They took their time getting in while little kids would jump right in, giving no thought to whether the pool was hot or cold that day. Go ahead and keep that in mind, we’ll come back to that scenario later.
Recently, I got this message from someone I knew in college. I was an RA and he was one of my residents who ended up transferring so I literally haven’t seen him in years, but of course social media has kept us connected. Here’s the message:
“Yo- thanks for the posts about paleo. I had been reading about it on your FB and was inspired to try it myself. I’ve lost 35 pounds since march. Keep spreading the good word.”
As someone who doesn’t get paid for blogging, I never know who is reading this stuff and more so, who is actually implementing it in their life. My hope in starting this blog was to put information out there for people to pick up if they wanted. I’ve learned enough to not throw this stuff down people’s throats (although admittedly if someone gets me talking about CrossFit or Paleo and I’ve had a couple glasses of wine, well, all bets are off). So instead of an evangelical approach, I take a more passive by blogging and then waiting for people to get more information. (“spreading the good word” perhaps?)
I need them to have buy in. Whether it’s for CrossFit or Paleo or both, the only thing that will motivate a person is SELF-motivation. Of COURSE I want everyone in the world to be healthy and stop drinking soda and cut the crap out of their diets. But what good would it do if we tyrannically yelled at people for doing such things? It would only make them feel worse instead of educating them on why they might want to do such things. And at the end of the day, you can only hold hands for so long. Self-motivation allows individuals to make decisions for themselves and keeps them accountable for their own reasons, not mine. You know, the whole “teach them to fish, not give them a fish” thing.
Is this Inception? You bet. Inception (2010) was all about planting ideas in people’s minds, but making them own those ideas.
Cobb: What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient… highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed – fully understood – that sticks; right in there somewhere.
Saito: If you can steal an idea, why can’t you plant one there instead?
Arthur: Okay, this is me, planting an idea in your mind. I say: don’t think about elephants. What are you thinking about?
Arthur: Right, but it’s not your idea. The dreamer can always remember the genesis of the idea. True inspiration is impossible to fake.
(quotes from IMDB.com)
|How I look when people tell me they eat “healthy”|
The caveat is that this buy in, this self-motivation, needs to take top priority over anything else. You can’t just “kinda” want to get strong. You can’t just “sorta” want to get in shape. You have to want it more than chocolate chip cookies, more than “oh I’ll just do half reps”, more than “just one slice” of pizza. You have to truly look inside yourself and figure out what exactly it is that you want and give it your all to get to that goal. Anything less will mean failure, or at best, mediocre results. And I’m not saying that coaching is unnecessary. A lot of people need guidance and information. But that first step towards health and wellness needs to be a commitment from within. Once that’s established, effective coaching can take place. Or, for those more self-reliant and independent, they can take it on their own.
In the case of my former resident, he decided for himself that he was going to give this thing a shot. I don’t know why, but clearly there was enough self-motivation to make big changes in his life and he was able to lose 35lbs.
If you are reading this blog, chances are you already drank the CrossFit or Paleo Kool-Aid…great! Keep talking it up and giving real life examples since we all know the best form of advertising is word of mouth. But also realize that people will get into this stuff when they feel ready. Just like the old ladies at the pool, some people need to wade into this plethora of information while others can just dive in. It doesn’t make either party better or worse, it just means they’re doing what’s right for them.