Earlier this year, I was in shape enough to muscle my way through a half-marathon, albeit more slowly than I would have liked.  My dear hubby and I had had been having some success with a weight-lifting routine called 5×5.  However, lately, we’ve both slacked off.  The holiday season doesn’t help, of course, and neither does our natural state of putting-it-off-it-ness.  My pants are getting snug, and I’m nowhere near in shape enough to tackle some of the races I’d like to run this year (another half and a marathon), so it’s time to kick myself in the tail to get back out there and log some miles / lift some weights / otherwise make sure I stay in at least my same clothing size.

A horribly awful motivational approach came to me as I gazed at the magazines in the grocery store checkout aisle today.  Looking at the various starlets shown in their swimsuits, some of them not nearly in good swimsuit shape, a beautifully terrifyingly inspiring approach to self-motivation came to mind.  There had been a guy in some magazine or NPR recommending that we motivate ourselves by avoidance therapy: if I don’t meet this goal, then I promise I’ll do this thing I would otherwise be horribly averse to.  His example was giving money to a politician you radically disagree with, or supporting a cause you’d otherwise avoid like the plague.  Combining aversion motivation with swimsuits, this idea popped to mind: a person who really wants to lose weight could vow to lose a certain amount of weight within a given time period, or else post a picture of themselves in a swimsuit up on Facebook.  It’d work like this: at the beginning of the weight loss period, you take a pic of yourself in a swimsuit.  If you succeed in losing the weight, the pic gets deleted.  If you don’t succeed, it goes up online.  Bleah.

Not sure yet that I’m THAT motivated to risk that particular form of self-abuse.   But if I don’t come up with another form of motivation, this may be the thing that does it.  You might want to avert your eyes from my Facebook page come, say, March…


  1. Threatening yourself with humiliation in front of your peers does sound motivational, but I think your scheme could be improved by the addition of two things: a little positive reinforcement and the use of even more web technology. How about if you write a script that will post your “before” photo at a date specified, but that allows you to submit incremental photos along the way, as you progress toward your fitness goal. When the day for the big reveal finally roles around the script will post the latest image you’ve sent it — the fit you in your gym spandex, not the soft you in a swimsuit. Humiliation, milestones, PHP, women in swimsuits…this plan has it all!

  2. Well, if doing something embarrassing if you don’t keep up with your goal isnt’ something you’re willing to do, doesn’t that just mean you dont’ want your goal badly enough? Or maybe negative motivation doesn’t fit for you.

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