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 StreetWise (USA) 21 May 2019

(Originally published: 12/2009) Here we are already moving through the year so fast. It is the perfect time to reevaluate the SMART – Specific/Measurable/Attainable/Realistic/Timebound -- goals that you set back in January. Ask yourself if you bit off more than you could chew... did you try to do too many "new" things at once.... maybe... so should we give up? NO NO NO!  - Staci Lynn Boyer

Go back to where you wrote your goals down... WHAT? You did not write them down...OK, here is your first step... Write ONE down.  YES just one - now pick it apart, and pick it apart again... break it into small little teeny bites.... ones that almost melt in your mouth...

See my drift? Now, get busy and enjoy the success of each little controllable bite! But, ONLY one at a time - don't stuff yourself -you want this to be enjoyable don't you?

If the "bite" is NOT definable by this method it's not a bite, its A WHOLE BAG OF GROCERIES! Yikes, too much to handle!


In this economy as we struggle to pay bills, put food on the table, continue to pay college tuition, and tell ourselves that we must still invest in health insurance, life insurance and retirement funds and…and….and….. most of the time, our health and wellness of today just does not take precedence.  Even beyond financial burdens the emotional ones can be just as taxing. Perhaps you are serving your country, or you have a family member deployed. Maybe injury or illness are causing your priorities to turn away from YOU.   However, how we treat ourselves today, right now, at this very moment …really does dictate our tomorrow.


With that said, often in this day and age fitness and nutrition can be thrust at the needy but unwilling. They are unwilling, not by virtue of unwanting, but more because of unknowing. Maybe you have heard that "insanity" is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Have you ever seen a toddler trying to put a square peg into a round hole? Well, some of us continue to do this later on in life as well!


Let us focus for a moment on taking a look back, and restructuring steps. There just may be "other" basic fundamentals in your life that need to be addressed in order for you to become ready for fitness changes! You may not even know that the peg you are trying to put in the round hole is square!


I am a dual believer in goal setting and Maslow. As a motivational speaker, I have put a lot of thought into my delivery and research behind the theories that I support.  Everyone is different, and some people are intrinsically motivated, yes, however most are extrinsically motivated. This is where I look to Maslow's need Hierarchy.

(Dubrin, 2004)


As you can see in the figure - the oh-so-important yet basic physiological needs are the foundation of our identity. Often we will try to achieve outside of our realm of knowledge far too quickly.  Not to say this is an impossible task, but most babies learn to crawl, walk, then run, as is our concept here.


We see an illustration here of what one needs to achieve in order to reach self-actualization, which in turn leads to true intrinsic motivation. This is very hard to come by, but there is much validity in this theory. There really are basic components in our lives that must be present in order for us to move forward.  Or move whole-hog into our New Year's resolutions without falter.  One example of this is the need for a roof over our head, and food on our table. Companionship, sex, self-esteem all follow. Often personal motivation and drive is lacking, because the individual is at a stalemate, due to missing a very significant fundamental component, perhaps something very simple….like, a home.

As we try to focus on fitting fitness in, and getting back on track AND before we are too incredibly hard on ourselves, let's define a few key words to help us better understand our plight.

What is MOTIVATION? Something that energizes, directs, and sustains behaviors.

What really is INTRINSIC MOTIVATION? Internal desires to perform a particular task.  People do certain activities because it gives them pleasure, it develops a particular skill, or it's morally the right thing to do.  What is EXTRINSIC MOTIVATION? Factors external to the individual and unrelated to the task they are performing.  Examples include money, good grades, and other rewards.


Intrinsically motivated people are bound to do much better in any given activity, because they are just more willing and eager to learn new material.  Their learning experience is more meaningful, and they go deeper into the subject to fully understand it.  Whether that new activity is a new job, a new child, or a new exercise - all of these activities are comparable and relevant in Maslow's philosophy. That is, if the basic foundation has not been placed and the first four components have not been met, one cannot precede full steam ahead.  If a baby jumps up to run and has never stood solidly on his own two feet…he will fall.  The round square peg will also never fit into that round hole.

Abraham Maslow concluded that before we can be intrinsically motivated we must first satisfy our  more basic human needs.  Here are descriptions of what Maslow meant within each of the five basic levels of human needs.  (Hudson & Mclean, 2006)


Physiological needs We are motivated to satisfy needs that ensure our physical survival.  Needs in this group include food, water, air, shelter, clothing and sex. Most people have satisfied their physiological needs, allowing them to concentrate on higher level needs. For some though, physiological needs are dominant and are the biggest needs in their lives.

Safety needs Once physiological needs are met, one can concentrate on bringing safety and security to our lives. Safety and security needs include: order, stability, routine, familiarity, control over one's life and environment, certainty and health.

Social needs or love and belonging needs. These needs include love, affection, belonging and acceptance. People look for these needs in relationships with other people and are motivated for these needs by the love from their families.

Esteem needs All people have a need for stable, firmly based, (usually) high evaluation of themselves for self-respect or self-esteem and for the esteem of others.  These needs may therefore be classified into two subsidiary sets.  These are, first, the desire for strength, achievement, adequacy, mastery of competence, confidence, independence and freedom. Second, we have what we call the desire for reputation or prestige (defining it as respect from other people), status, fame, glory, dominance, importance, recognition, dignity or appreciation.

Need for self-actualization This level of hierarchy is concentrated on an individual being able to reach their full potential a human being. Once someone has satisfied the first four levels of needs then they have the ability to concentrate on functioning to their highest potential.  But even if all these needs are satisfied, we may often still expect that a new discontent and restlessness will soon develop, unless the individual is doing what they are fitted for. Musicians must play music, artists must paint if they are to be at peace with themselves.  What humans can be, they must be. They must be true to their own nature.

Maslow does explain that self-actualization is difficult to achieve, even as adults.  But as a society we can help ourselves, our children and each other, to satisfy our first four basic needs in order to move on to self-actualization.  Intrinsic motivation will not occur until we are well fed, safe in our environment, and can love and respect each other.  From there on motivation, desire, and willingness to embark on new fitness programs, nutrition plans and life goals will be far more realistic to achieve.  Finally I leave you with this thought: "Strength is NOT defined by the absence of moments of weakness, but more in our ability to overcome those moments."

First you must recognize what those moments are, take responsibility and accountability for them. Set goals to get past those bumps in the road, but only one bump at a time. Promise me, you will be proud of each bump you overcome. Take a moment to bask in that triumph and continue forward, for your destiny… is your choice.

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