Healthier 2021: Bill Found New Motivation
This article is part of our Healthier 2021 series, in which we follow three members of the WebMD team as they strive to improve their health this year. You can follow their travels here.
By Bill Kimm
Writing this blog over the past 2 months has been a tremendous motivation. Knowing that I should write about my progress every week held me accountable. There was no way I was going to allow myself to fail knowing that I would have to admit it here.
But this blog wasn’t meant to be permanent, and now that we are at the end of the day, I have to find other motivations to focus. And this is where I have to be careful.
I live with depression. And in therapy for my depression, I learned that I also struggle with perfectionism (which only makes depression worse). I am my worst critic. I quickly see where I may have failed or failed, and in these situations it is difficult for me to see anything positive about myself. As you can imagine, this self-criticism isn’t very helpful when you’re trying to lose weight and live healthier! So it’s important for me to find the right motivators.
Through therapy, I realize that some of the tools I have used in the past for motivation may have worked against me.
My Apple Watch, my Lose It app – both of these provide badges, rewards, and encouragement to keep me focused and on track. They are fun to earn but can also get addicting (and have to do with me in the past). My therapist and I agree that I shouldn’t just focus on these gratuities. They help, and it’s exciting to reach for them, but they can all too easily turn into measuring tools, which can give my inner critics something to nag me about. So I learned that I can take advantage of the badges when they appear, but I have to avoid using them as motivation.
Another motivator for me has been watching people get healthy, whether it’s on social media or in my circle of friends. There is nothing better than seeing the joy of others who are successful in their journey, and it gives me so much encouragement and motivation. But I’m also ridiculously competitive. And part of me is getting jealous of their success. Theodore Roosevelt is quoted as saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” There is a lot of truth in this. The only trip comparable to mine is mine. As I celebrate their accomplishments, I also have to be careful not to let the success of others interfere with the way I view my performance.
These two “motivators” can make my depression worse. When I don’t close the three rings on my watch, I beat myself up; when a friend runs further and faster than me i think i’m a failure and why bother me more. And this self-criticism feeds my depression. This leads to more laziness, more stress, no more caring, and funk that becomes harder and harder to release. Fortunately, I have an amazing therapist who has helped me overcome these challenges over the past 7 months, and I have learned to manage my thoughts better. I also have an amazing support system in my family, friends, and especially my healthier 2021 teammates, Mark and Laura, who have taught me so much on our journey together.
Dr Bruni, Senior Medical Director of WebMD, told me in January, “You invest in yourself. It’s more important than losing weight, it’s your life! “
Our sincere thanks to