I’ve never been good at self-motivation. I seem to need an outside influence in order to do the things that I know are healthy or for my own benefit. If left to my own devices I would probably do little more than order Papa Johns, nap, watch Netflix, and masturbate. I can completely relate to Snowman from “Oryx and Crake”, even if living in some post-Apocalyptic hellhole I would have trouble getting up each day. I just kind of suck at it. (Sidenote: If you haven’t read “Oryx and Crake” you should close your browser and go do that, there is nothing on the internet better than that novel, Margaret Atwood is a legend).

Lucky for me, I don’t live in a vacuum. I am not on a deserted island or an apocalyptic wasteland. I live in a world with others and I have scarcity that forces me to get up each day and invest in my body and mind. Though, motivation for working out is one of the most difficult things for me. Each day is a new struggle to eat right and exercise. I think that is part of the reason I adopted a lifestyle that literally requires 30-40 miles of cycling each day. If it is not part of my daily life needs then I make excuses, or I just let my laziness take control.

Now that I’m settled in one place for a couple months I need to practice some control and motivate myself. I know me and I need to look to outside influences a lot of the time for motivation, and one influence is not enough. So, I have a list of them that fill various roles, some positive and some negative. Because, let’s be honest, doing P90X sucks and the host on the videos isn’t a true motivation.

One thing that really gets me moving is when I think about being naked in front of others. A benefit of my life with my partner is that we end up naked with other people more regularly than most. Nude beaches, Burning Man, and other friends who we roll around naked with help keep me motivated. I know my friends will accept me even if I put on a pound or ten, but I want to be more comfortable in my body around others. To quote Lester Burnham “I want to look good naked”. It is a confidence thing and having specific events on the horizon helps motivate me. I’ve never done a triathalon or marathon or Tough Mudder or anything like that, but I think it would be pretty motivating for me if I signed up.

As an optimistic transhumanist I also believe we will cure death in my lifetime, but I think the timeline will be close. To motivate myself I sometimes focus on that. I think that if I exercise now and deal with some discomfort then I am investing in eternity. The payoff is well worth it.

I also respond well to seeing change in my body. This can be as simple as weighing myself regularly and doing body measurements, but it can also be more aesthetic. When I see a new muscle start to form or notice some abdominal muscle that I’d never noticed before or see a vein popping out of my arm it is incredibly motivating. Seeing my hard work pay off encourages me to work even harder.

I can also be motivated by seeing what I don’t want to be. This is kind of a negative thing and may make me sound like an asshole, but it is true for me. When I see someone obese or unable to function because they are incredibly unhealthy it motivates me to take care of my own body. I don’t want to be in my 40’s and need to use the electric chairs at the grocery store. I know that an accident can be the cause of that, but the better I take care of my body now the more likely I will be able to heal if there is an accident. Sometimes seeing what I don’t want to be is just as motivating as what I want to be.

Anyway, that is what motivates me. Every day when I logically know I shouldn’t drink another beer or know I should carve out time for a work out I try to run through the reasons why until a specific one stands out. Right now my upcoming visits to LA and Portland stand out in my mind, and the need to stay in shape for the bike ride continuation in January. In truth, there is always a good reason to make a healthy decision. The pleasure from food and laziness is weak and fleeting, maybe it is necessary some of the time for sanity but usually it is better to invest in my body and mind so that I can experience greater pleasures. No amount of cupcakes are worth the satisfaction of being healthy enough to hike the Appalachian Trail, feel confident at a nude beach, or living forever.

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