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> Back to Self-Care Excerpts List

Self-Care Excerpt from Don't Weight

You Can't Push a Rope

I would like you to picture a rope lying on the floor in front of you. If you wanted the rope to move, you could push it by one end. But you wouldn't do that. The rope would just bunch up in a tangled pile from that end. If you wanted to move the rope, you would PULL it. With very little effort you could move the entire rope with a single tug. When you think of motivating yourself to do anything, I want you to remember one thing: You can't PUSH a rope. You gotta PULL it!

Whatever is on your list of self-improvement, you will find more effective motivation when you PULL yourself towards your goals by noticing how good it feels when you accomplish your goal. When you eat something healthy, notice your sustained energy in the hours that follow. When you exercise, pay attention to the joy of moving your body. When you choose not to spend money, appreciate your reduced stress from lower credit card bills. Pull yourself toward your goals by increasing your awareness of what feels good about your new choices. This focuses on the benefit, not the task.

Too often we try to motivate ourselves with negative motivation. I hear people say: "When you get disgusted enough you will do something about it." This kind of thinking only encourages self-loathing. It eats away at your self-esteem. When you feel bad about yourself, you are least likely to have motivation to take care of yourself. Sometimes we try to motivate ourselves by thinking: "I should do this." or " I just need willpower to do this." When you try to push yourself to do things with "should" or "willpower", it is like pushing a rope. Pushing is exhausting. It focuses on the effort instead of on the benefit.

  • What do you want to motivate yourself to do?
  • Do you want to feel better about your body?
  • Do you want to improve your healthy eating?
  • Do you want to include regular exercise in your daily life?
  • Do you want better relationships with your friends and family?
  • Do you want to manage your time or money better?
  • Do you want to stop procrastinating?

What would PULL you toward your goals? Think about how good it will feel to take an action. Think of the relief you get when you complete a task. Think about the pleasure you will get from your accomplishment.

Feeling good IS great motivation.

When seeking motivation, focus on the enjoyment or benefit from accomplishing the steps that lead toward your goal. You will not be pushing with willpower.

You will be pulling yourself toward your goals with pleasure!

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