De Ja Vu. It’s the start of a new year and you see the gym packed with many new faces. And some of you all are probably wondering, “Why does this always occur at the start of the new year? What is so special about the beginning period that brings about these new freshies all ready to come and have a go at the weights?
Well, this phenomenon is no stranger to us. New year, new resolutions. The urge to be different and become better always seems the strongest once the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Day. You see it everywhere; people making statements and voicing out their intent to change through various channels.
There can be no better time to get started on your resolutions and your course of action than now when it is the beginning of the new year when most people are on the train of change. You see not only you, but everyone else inevitably influenced into carving out new year resolutions because we live in a period where we tend to adopt habits that are praised and practised by our culture most of the time. And hence, many resolution announcements may arise because part of them enjoy the feeling of riding on this wave or ‘trend’. This is a great thing because we can certainly tap onto this moment to get ourselves influenced into taking action.
Additionally, when you start on the new year, you get this feeling of starting from a clean slate and are filled with this new sense of belief in yourself. It is almost as if we are this blank piece of paper and we are just about to start penning down paragraphs and pages of words into our stories once again.
But what is this driving force behind all this sudden surge of intentions to change? One word comes to most of our minds. That word is no stranger is to us and we label it as motivation.
Motivation comes from the root word motive, which is defined as a need that requires satisfaction. A need will become the driving force behind people’s actions and behaviour – a powerful need leads to more powerful actions and behaviour. This desire leads people to keep on pushing for that chance to satisfy that need, and eventually enjoy our rewards as we take action.
Motivation comes from many different forms and manners. Some motivations have deep underlying reasons whilst some are appear to be born from simple means. For example, some of us are deeply motivated by our own past failures or trauma to build a lifestyle that ensures we will not repeat our past mistakes. Hence, we discover means to empower and become the best versions of ourselves to protect us from having to re-live our past struggles.
Some of us are deeply motivated by our own past failures or trauma to build a lifestyle that ensures we will not repeat our past mistakes.
For some of us, we are motivated by certain role models in our world today and hence, we find ways to emulate that person either through living out their lifestyles or simply grooming ourselves into looking like them. In this case, we are motivated by these key figures, but there may be a deeper ‘true’ motivation that is driving us forward. For example, we want to score good grades and we thought our motivation for doing so is so we get the chance to get into the top universities of our choice. But look deeper and we often realise that the decision of getting into good universities is so to make our closed ones proud of us. Hence, the true motivation is not so much the glamour of the universities themselves, but rather to live out the hopes of our loved ones.
One way of identifying our true motivation is by asking ourselves a series of of up to five whys. The whys will often uncover answers to our inner values and its meant to allow us to pry deeper and find true answers for ourselves, one question at a time. For example:
I want to run my own online business.
It will allow me to have greater control over how I spend my time
So I can have more flexibility in my life
I will be able to work from home
I will be able to spend more time with my son
Supporting my family is the most important thing to me.
Hence from the above, we can see that the true motivation for that individual for running his/her own business is more of a means to be able to find more time to spend with his family
Identifying our true motivation is key as it allows us to keep on going even when we hit the wall, feel like giving up and start to question ourselves why we are doing what we are doing in the first place. Societal trends and fads change over time without a care for what it means to you, but our own underlying motivation will remain constant and rooted inside us. That ensures that we keep on going despite the ever changing times. Hence, true awareness is key indeed as it gives our motivation an identity that is very clear for us to follow when we get started and to fall back on whenever we are on the verge of giving up.
Truth be told. My own motivation for getting into fitness was to simply have the physique of this Korean actor called Lee Byung Hyun because back then, most of us will have preferred to have his lean build over the huge muscular build of Arnold Schwarzenegger. And so I set a goal to challenge myself to own that physique too. But I know deep down, doing so will give my confidence a boost because too many people have belittled me when it comes to my outlook in the past. Thus, that got me hitting the gym and practising different kinds of diets because I was prepared to do everything it takes to get myself the toned physique. And recognising my true intention of not wanting to be belittled anymore, this stayed with me until today, even through days when I almost gave up because I recognised that at the end of the day, working out will grant me the strength and discipline that I know will make me a stronger person both physically and mentally. That desire drives me on again and again.
Whatever your understanding of your own reason or root of motivation is, whether you are currently being influenced by others or have an inner drive to make a change, there can be no better time than now to sound out your own motivation and get started right away. I say, the early bird has to wake up and take action to catch the worm. What matters most is, is that you start.
So let’s all give ourselves the chance to make a difference in our lives today. Take advantage of this prime period, identify your motivation, and get started.