We often hear and read about how to motivate ourselves to do this or that. After all, a person can often spend years getting ready to do something: start a class at the gym, sign up for a swim class, start running in the morning, change the daily menu.
The reason is the lack of motivation, which comes from problems in choosing life priorities. You cannot motivate yourself to do any activity if it is in the last place in your list of life priorities. But the lack of motivation is not a problem! If a person doesn’t want to do something, why should he torture himself? Let him do what is necessary for him.
Much more exciting and valuable, in my opinion, is the opposite case – the problem of over motivation. As insufficient motivation, it is also a significant hindrance on the way to the goals.
Related: How Can I Have A Mature Mindset?
Yerkes-Dodson Law of Optimum Motivation
There is an exciting law in psychology that links motivation and human performance. That is the optimum motivation law or the Yerkes-Dodson law.
This law states: when motivation increases to a certain level, the quality of activity increases too, but further increase in motivation (after reaching a plateau) leads to a decrease in productivity.
If there is a psychological law, it means that it should also work in fitness. After all, people are engaged in fitness.?
Let me explain in detail. There is a person who dreams of losing 40 lbs. He vigorously takes up training and puts himself on a diet. Naturally, he wants impressive results because he desires to lose weight. He goes to bed on time, denies tasty treats for dinner, and endures all kinds of privation.
Everything goes its way: he is pushing and stimulating himself, increasing the already high motivation, the weight begins to go down, but uncertain difficulties arise, knocking out the schedule of achievements. And this man suddenly drops everything (breaks down), blaming the damn fitness. The weight quickly returns and even gets more.
That’s it! Fitness is to blame!!! Or the trainer!!! Or the gym!!!
And there is another person who also seriously wants to lose the same 40 lbs. But he does everything smoothly.
Does not tolerate any privation, does everything sensibly and correctly with a cool head. Do not perceive the necessary steps as privation, but only as steps to achieve the goal. In essence, his actions are no different from those of the first man, except for one thing. And that is what brings him the weight loss he wants, the health he demands, and good friends as a bonus! And he gets it with ease.
Why does this happen? What is so significant here that the first person missed? What’s the problem?
The answer, as always, lies on the surface. Emotions!
Signs Of Over Motivation
Emotions and feelings can be different in strength and sign. The more they overwhelm a person, the less rational he acts. And most human activities require rationality, including fitness.
The simpler and more natural you behave with a person, the easier it is to get his affection. That’s the ABC of communication. When you want something from a person, it puts a strain on contact, and there are difficulties of a mostly emotional nature. These are awkwardness, ridiculous actions, and phrases. And the more you want from a person, the harder it is.
The same goes for fitness. Start too meticulously planning your exercise schedule and what you will eat on Thursday, September 6, 2036, and there will be events or people disrupt all your intentions.
❗ Keep it simple – that’s the secret!
You don’t have to look for ideal conditions to start acting. Just do it. And if it didn’t work out, then f*ck it! It’ll work tomorrow. The world won’t turn upside down if you miss a workout or don’t eat your lunch on time.
Caution: this approach is not an excuse for slackers!?
There is one essential caveat to such indifference. It is necessary to analyze the reasons why slip-up occurred. Remember those reasons and do not repeat them.
Too Much Motivation Is Bad
There is also a second Yerkes-Dodson law and it sounds like this: with a more complex task, a lower level of motivation is optimal.
That is, the more ambitious the task, the more relaxed way you should treat it. Just do whatever it takes. And it will be what it is supposed to be. I have witnessed at least a dozen large projects that fell apart or got stuck for only one reason – equally colossal emotional stress. It is a must to learn to notice the small thing and appreciate it. That’s the only way the big one happens.
Your fitness plans (building big muscles or weight loss of 40 lbs) are big goals. But you have little chance to get the desired figure if you’re too worried and nervous about everything and weigh yourself every hour (did you gain another 1 ounce of fat or not?).
The simpler the attitude, the more chances you have to bring it to its logical end. The freer your mind and heart, the easier it is to get to your goal. Just do what you can each day.
And finally, it is worth saying that each person has its optimum motivation. It can be determined only by experience – by acting and analyzing your achievements.
Think about this. And if you notice that something happens as described in this post, remember the optimum motivation law. A law of human nature, after all.