Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Which comes first...The MOTIVATION to change of the ACT of change?

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?  That question brings about an endless debate.  But this one is a bit easier.  What comes first, the motivation to change or the act of changing?  Most people I ask that to say that the motivation to change is needed before the act of change occurs.  I believed that for years but I am starting to rethink my opinion on this.  The truth is that in many cases if we wait for the motivation to change to come first, then the act of changing is likely to never take place.

Let me give an example.  When I first moved to Gaylord a little over two years ago I was at a very respectable weight.  Over the last 2+ years I have abandoned good eating habits which have resulted in my becoming about 30 pounds over my ideal weight for my age and height.  Over the past year as the clothes have become tighter by day and the snoring has increased by night, I have thought often about my need to change my behavior.  And during that last year I have tried to round up the motivation so I could start to cut back on the calories and eat more healthy.  During that whole year my eating never changed and my weight never did any better than maintaining the 30+ pound of overage.

Two weeks ago I made the decision to change my behavior even though the motivation was no place to be found.  I plunged headlong into the "2 protein shakes a day" plan (one for breakfast and one for lunch) with low calorie - high protein mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks followed by a colorful dinner with no second helpings and another evening snack before bed.  This took a lot of will power, especially since the second week was a vacation week.  The result over these 2 weeks has been a lot more energy, a lot better sleep, and the feeling of some looseness in my clothes.

Now here is the interesting part - two weeks after the act of change was put into place (even though the motivation was lacking), the motivation has now showed up to the party.  I noticed it for the first time at our last restaurant stop on vacation this past week.  We went a little out of our way to have dinner at one of my favorite restaurants - Cracker Barrel.  In the past, whenever I would go to Cracker Barrel for dinner I would always order the same exact meal:

Country Fried Steak
Mashed Potatoes (with extra gravy)
Fried Okra
Fried Apples

Now that is some really tasty eating but the calorie count is through the roof.  As I opened the menu on our vacation pit stop I bypassed the staple meal of my past and ordered off the "Lighter Calorie" side of the menu.  My dinner consisted of:

One Pork Chop
Garden Salad (with the dressing on the side)

As I ordered I realized that bypassing the Country Fried Steak meal wasn't hard at all.  I finally had the motivation.  What caused the big-mo to finally show up?  I believe it was the fact that I had first made the decision to change and acted on it even though the motivation was lacking.  This resulted in seeing some good results which gave birth to the motivation to keep going.

So what comes first, the motivation to change or the act of changing?  I can assure you that when it comes to country fired steak and mashed potatoes with extra gravy, if I had waited for the motivation to change, I'd still be on the 30+ overage side of the coin and wiping gravy off the corners of my mouth.  If you know there is a personal change you need to make but you are having the trouble finding the motivation to do so - try acting on the change first.  You just might find that the motivation will then show up when you least expect it.

1 comment:

Sheri said...

Congratulations Pastor Scott in making the steps to a better lifestyle! It's amazing what happens when our life improves by changes we decide to make. It's not always easy, but it is rewarding. I've experienced that at many levels. Health and wellness gives us so much more energy to live for God! When we feel the change taking place it does motivate us to live toward that end. I see it as a spiritual act of worship.