Ever tried losing weight, but struggled to find the motivation? Let me tell you about a friend of mine!

This friend of mine was trying to lose weight, but complained how hard it was. He said that whenever he sees something sweet and fatty he keeps wondering “Should I? Shouldn’t I?” It made me think about what makes people commit to action…

… I reckon it’s the sitting on the fence that’s the hard part! Once you are fully committed, and you genuinely cut yourself off from other options, things feel a lot easier.

I mean, imagine if you were told that if you threw that chocolate muffin in the bin then the All Blacks would win the World Cup – you would throw it away and not even feel hungry!

If you’ve ever done a bungee then you know what I mean. When your toes are over the edge and you’re ready to go your brain has to convince your body to leap forward when it really doesn’t want to. It’s the trying to get yourself to overcome the fear that it is so uncomfortable. Once you jump you actually feel good on the way down – you’ve made the decision and you’re committed now (the bungee stopping you is just a bonus!)

It’s the same for rowing the Atlantic. It’s actually not that hard to get out and row when you are already sitting out in a rowboat on an ocean – there isn’t a lot of choice (its not like you have SKY TV!). Either you row for a bit and you get to a beautiful shady Caribbean island, or you sit and stay in the boat right in the middle of nowhere.

I’m reminded of my days rowing with various crews over the years – when your alarm goes at 5am in the middle of winter to tell you to go to training, you hardly feel inspired to put your feet on the floor, but because you are all relying on each other to get there (and to fill the boat), you don’t think about it. You just do it.

These external sources of motivation can be incredibly powerful and the more you can use them the more committed you are, and the less painful the task might seems. Interestingly, we often ‘know what needs to happen’ (i.e. to prevent heart disease, you need a healthy lifestyle) – so how come we don’t always do it?!

As neurologist Donald Calne puts it, it’s “logic leads us to conclusions while emotion leads to actions”.

It’s all about getting yourself ‘onto a ‘hook’! Muhammad Ali use to tell as many people as possible that he was going to win a fight – because then he had to win! Once you are ‘on the hook’, and fully committed to a course of action, then you don’t have any angst and achieving your goals becomes a whole lot easier.

Anyway my friend agreed and so handed me over a cheque for $2,000 and told me that if he didn’t lose 8 kilos in 11 weeks then I got to keep it (NO EXCUSES). It seems that being healthy isn’t his ‘hook’ – money is!

I’ll tell you how he went with the ‘deal’ in a message soon…

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