Persig talks about Gumption Traps in his book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. There are lots of them, and some of them are actually really useful. Some of the obvious ones are fear and fatigue and basic bodily needs. Others are as simple as the initial barrier to action. Some are concerned with paradigm.
For this first segment I’m going to tell you what you already know: it’s easier to be motivated if you’re physically ready to be motivated. If you’re healthy, well rested and well fed, you will find it a lot easier to be motivated. Did you watch Fast Food Nation? His motivation wend steadily downhill the more unfit he got. That’s not a scientific study, but it stands to reason that if you are healthy, you will feel better about doing things.
Being well-fed is a huge issue, and no doubt we’ll get into that more as time goes by. Suffice it to say that a well balanced diet that doesn’t have a high glycimic index is probably a good place to start. I tend to go the opposite way form most Americans in that I eat too little, not too much. I get involved in a task, and I forget to eat then I feel cranky and nothing sounds good besides candy. I seldom buy candy, so then I just eat a little of something I have around to get me feeling better (cereal, beans and rice, etc.) and then repeat the whole thing. I imagine if I substituted junk food for healthy food, I would end up with too many calories and I would get fat like everyone else.
The better way to go (which I do when I’m organized) is to cook and take meals with you when you go to work or wherever. Cooking at home tends to reduce all kinds of junk food inroad into your life. Also it’s cheaper. Taking a thermos of coffee, an apple, a jar of beans and rice and a sandwich to work costs about $1. That’s enough to get me through the day. If I don’t bottom out, those foods taste pretty good. There was a great TED talk about this recently.
Speaking of coffee, I’m a huge caffeine addict. I’ll post specifically about coffee soon. But in the mean time I’ll share something interesting: I’m so addicted to caffeine, that I confuse feeling ‘thirsty’ for feeling like I need my caffeine fix. They both feel the same to me. “They” say you should drink 2 cups of water for each cup of coffee, but that’s been debunked elsewhere . If it were true, I would be a desiccated husk, as I drink a 10:1 coffee to water ratio on most days. But it does catch up with me eventually, and I need a good glass of water. Failing to do so makes me feel very tired.
More tomorrow on exercise!