Who doesn't want new running shoes? They are stylish, customizable, can trick people into thinking you’re athletic, and fabulously comfortable.
After seeing an ad for Nike Air sneakers about a year ago, I skipped down to my local athletics store to purchase these magic sneakers that had been said to endow wearers with cheetah-like speed, anti-gravity jumping abilities, the love and affection of their community, and swagger equal to that of the endorsing athletes (with the inevitable disclaimer: “Individual Results May Vary”).
I wanted to become a runner and was convinced that there was no way better to get me motivated than buying these new kicks. As I walked into the store, I noticed some fitness equipment on display. I cannot remember what it was exactly – probably some gimmicky ab workout gear – but the box had a very loud and graphic text on it: “GET 2X THE RESULTS WITH HALF THE EFFORT!”
This didn't bother me at first, and just a few minutes later, I was trying to pick out a shoe that screamed “ME.” But while pacing the shelves, a thought came to mind. It was a quote from one of my favorite comedians; however, I was now contemplating it from a different angle.
“Shoes, shoes, shoes – that’s all you ever hear marathon runners talking about and spending money on these days, shoes. But whenever there is a marathon, who wins? Some guy from Africa who's never owned a pair of shoes!” - Kathleen Madigan
Often times in life, we seek ways to easily motivate ourselves, and me buying new running shoes was a ploy to do just that. Just like the advertisement that promised consumers they’d be more motivated to work out by having to do less, I was assuming that I could rely on a thing to take care of the most crucial factor in achieving any goal – the motivation to “just do it” (…ironic).
There are countless products that we buy and tricks we employ, believing that they will help motivate us to achieve something we desire. Gym memberships and fitness equipment are likely the most common examples, but there are many, many others. For the first several weeks or so, these motivational schemes may go swimmingly, but how often do they just fade out after the honeymoon? Very.
The reason they do fail is not because you’re a bad strategist, but because motivation is only effective when it comes from within. Unless YOU are willing to be the driver of your life - it doesn't matter what kind of car you have – it will go nowhere.
“In life the defining factor is not resources, but resourcefulness” - Tony Robbins
The magic shoes ended up not being purchased. And after returning home, I laced up the dirty old sneakers I’d had for years and hit the pavement. Until I could prove to myself that I was motivated to run no matter what shoes I had, what the weather was like, or any other excuse I could fabricate, there was no reason to invest in the equipment to help me do so.
No matter what your situation is in life - a popper or prince - you are the only one who can achieve your goals. Believing that someone or something else will be the motivation to get you there is no more than an excuse to fail.
Top Photo Courtesy: Julie de Waroquier