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Musings: Proper Motivation

Today’s topic is: “What motivates you?” 

Whether you want to change jobs, lose weight, make friends, hike the Grand Canyon, or learn to play the harmonica, finding the proper motivation can help you along the way. Without motivation, goals can easily fizzle into daydreams or regrets.

I’ve thought a lot about motivation in the last few days.

Let’s go back just a little. My husband and I met and started a family ‘late’ in life. I was 36 and he was 43 when our first daughter was born. Our second came along 15 months later, in 2014. This year, he and I have had long discussions about whether we should try to have a third child. But with my 40th birthday coming up this fall and a general feeling of overwhelm in our household already, we’ve decided the perfect family size for us is four.

So here’s where I’ve been obsessing recently. (I’ll admit, Facebook may be a contributing factor.) On one hand, most of the friends and relatives with toddlers are 15 years younger than me. On the other hand, my friends and former classmates who are also celebrating their 40th birthdays this year have children who are graduating from high school now. And thanks to Facebook, I have witnessed that there are mamas in both groups who are fit and tone and sexy and healthy and happy with how their bodies look.

So why can’t I be a fit, toned, sexy, healthy, 40-year-0ld mother of toddlers?

I think I could if I could find the proper motivation.

So what motivates me? When it comes down to brass tacks, I am most effectively motivated by the potential for approval from an authority figure. (I’m sure a psychiatrist could have a field day with the reasons behind that but that’s just the way I am, so we’ll keep moving.)

Clapping, hrovercoffee.com

In my former life as a corporate cog, nothing made me work harder and put in longer hours than the hope that my boss would smile and tell me I was great, tell me he was happy with my work, tell me he couldn’t do his job without me… (I heard that Millenials need that kind of validation in the workplace too. Maybe I was just born a little too early.)

So how does my current body-image predicament benefit from that information? Not very well, actually. Because the authority figure that really needs to tell me I’m fit and toned and sexy is ME. My husband says I look great (he’s a quick study when it comes to dealing with a moody mama like me), but since I don’t feel great about myself, I almost don’t believe him.

I want to feel strong and confident. I want to be excited to wear a bathing suit in public again, or at least not fill my head with negative thoughts when I catch a glimpse of myself stepping out of the shower.

To get to where I would like to be, I need to make exercise and self-care a priority in my life. But with two toddlers to look after and without the funds to hire a personal trainer or join a boot camp class, I’m not exactly sure how to make that a reality.

If you have any motivation suggestions, please share them in the comments.

~ Phoebe DeCook

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