Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Author of your Fate

"When you start creating for and in honor of those that have made a difference to you, your work changes." --Seth Godin

The quote is from a post Seth wrote about dedication pages in a book -- how, as an author, those are his favorite pages in the book because you can take a moment to thank those who inspired or helped you.

Not many of us are authors -- so dedication pages might seem irrelevant.

On the other hand, all of us are authors of our own fate -- in charge of the creation of ourselves.

Who are you dedicating that work to?  Who has helped you along the way?

I'm a pretty big believer in intrinsic motivations -- which means I am motiviated to do my set task because the reward I get is the feeling of accomplishment or success.  This translates to feeling good about my choices when I get up from the dinner table feeling like I am a 7 or 8 on the hunger/fullness scale.  That feels good to me -- and it makes me want to make choices that lead me to feel that way more often. (and sometimes I do and sometimes I don't).

When I walk away from the dinner table having eaten to a 9 or 10 -- I feel gross.  My stomach feels too full and my pants don't feel as comfortable.  This feeling makes me want to make different choices then next time I eat.  (and sometimes I do and sometimes I don't).

The thing about it is -- all of it, intrinsic motivitation (or extrinsic motivitation -- hitting a weight goal so you can celebrate by buying that new pair of shoes you wanted) or dedicating your efforts to someone else (a spouse, a parent whose dream it was to see to accomplish your goal, whatever) is about keeping your goal right in front of you as a reminder of what you are trying to accomplish.

The reason dedication pages often times seem so emotional is that they are emotional.  Those who contributed to the work enough to get mentioned in the dedication page, have an emotional connection to that author and the work -- and we know just how powerful emotions can be (ie your emotional eating experience of downing the whole container of Ben and Jerry's because you had a fight with your boss at work).

So give some thought to your dedication page.  Who would you list?  Your spouse, children, parents, best friend?  Who inspires you, supports you, and gives you a swift kick in the pants when you need it?

Perhaps its time to write that dedication page for your health behavior change.  Who are you doing this for and why?  Write it out.  Keep it in front of you.  It may make it much easier to say "not right now" to the brownies on the break room table, or the extra 3 bites of steak left in the kitchen while you're cleaning up.

You are the author of your fate -- who are you dedicating your masterpiece to??

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