Motivation is a Four-Letter Word

… on my planet, anyway.

In my dictionary, the word is something akin to a minor expletive …  a bit annoying to me, maybe slightly offensive, but lacking any real impact.    Except, unlike more universally acknowledged and stronger cuss words, which spice up my speech liberally and with gusto,  I can use it in conversation with my mother without a “Pardon my French” tossed in for whatever redemptive value she is willing to grant.

I’ve spent my fair share of years attributing inertia-cowardice on the self-help front to the motivation troops being AWOL  — “I would do this or that but I don’t have the motivation …”   —  A convenient prerequisite it is, the acknowledgement that I need to do something but I do not have to do it until a compelling external force — the waving of a magic wand,  sprinkling of fairy dust, a personal cheerleader, paratroopers to the rescue, whatever — comes along and makes me do it.  Or suddenly makes it fun, so that I willingly jump into it.   Until that happens, I am absolved of the heavy-lifting of “right”doing for myself that would significantly lighten the burdens and settle the concerns of living.

In this thinking pattern, it is enough for now just to recognize that I need to make life changes.   Step One Equals Done.  As long as I know what the needed changes are and am willing to commit to someday doing them, I’m satisfied with the Brownie points I give myself for creating the to-do list.   It’s sort of like lounging on my patio on a warm, sunny morning — windchimes faintly tinkling on a hint of breeze, suggesting that off in the distance somewhere, a good strong wind may be on the way, and if it comes it may have enough force to lift me and propel me on to do my farm chores.  In the meantime, I am happy to remain One with a wicker rocking chair, stroking a dozing cat, daydreaming about how nice the place will look after the chores are done.

As the word “motivation” relates to Fat to Fit at Fifty-Five , it doesn’t.  It can’t, or this latest attempt at achieving Change For My Own Good is just as doomed as attempts gone before.  Motivation doesn’t do anything.  It can offer desire or reason or incentive for doing, but it doesn’t do.

A need for motivation as a prerequisite to achieving better health is tantamount to basing the probability of my success on the coming true of a wish.  I have neither obligation nor responsibility.  Only if motivation comes will I be on the hook to deliver.  Until then, I have the approval of the cosmos for remaining content, stress-and-sweat-free, a cheerful party hostess bustling and chatting and refilling,  unperturbed by the absence of the Guest of Honor – Motivation – though fully cognizant that the Real Party won’t start until It shows up, with the ice cream.  Or tequila.

Not here, no more.  Motivation might get an invitation – it can liven things up, make fascinating conversation, play the piano or something – but the party goes on in full swing whether or not it decides to make an appearance.

Here  on my planet, there is deliberate action, placing of one foot in front of the other, shopping for and cooking and eating good food in healthy amounts, riding and other exercise, sunlight, fresh air, testing and adjusting routines to work against bad habits and build new good ones, striving, thriving.  I supply my own Tequila.

I do a lot of things without any motivation whatsoever — I just do them.  My horse buddies and I frequently commiserate on the topic “Why I Am So Not Motivated To Ride Today.”   Yet there we are at the stable together, whining and complaining and inventing fresh new excuses, but all the while grooming, tacking up, mounting, and finally, yes, riding.

All I need is the ability to move.  Or,  my word, “movitation.”

(If you invent your own planet, you can and should invent your own words.)