Massive congratulations to everyone who participated in the Dublin Marathon on Monday. There is so much purpose and meaning in the fact that the vulnerable, the sick and the "differently abled" who are cared for by so many charities will benefit in the coming year from your huge effort.
That's contributing. That's giving back. That's making a difference. Real success is about being the best that you are capable of becoming and helping others in the process.
Today I want to highlight an email from a woman representing a team of 10 others from a village in Co Meath who got sick of being overweight, unfit and "tired all the time". She said: "Winter is closing in on us. Most of the mornings are dank, dark, dreary and wet. We need to get a programme of exercise going. Please motivate us."
That's what we used to call in Dungimmon, "a tall order". Lots of people want to exercise, but just don't do it. When you want to do something, you have to make it important. In our daily lives there are some things that are so important that you simply don't put them off. People might say to me that they have no discipline. Yet they get up every morning, shower, shave and brush their teeth. That's just a contradiction. They've made it part of their normal activity, and if they didn't do it, something would feel wrong. The more they do it, the more right it feels.
To motivate yourself, you need to build a propulsion system so that the more you don't do something, the more unpleasant it becomes. A propulsion system means attaching positive feelings to taking exercise on the Green Platform, and attaching negative feelings to not exercising on the Red Platform.
Put out your running gear the night before. Then, in the morning, just putting it on makes you feel better. Walking past it makes you feel worse. You build a "feeling better" propulsion system to propel you to take exercise.
One man talked about going to the gym for a year, but never went. He bought weights and never used them. He looked at them and complained he never used them. With his feet planted on the Red Platform, he had his propulsion system backwards. The more he thought about exercise, the worse he felt.
Most people try to get themselves to do things by getting themselves to feel so bad that they finally do it. That doesn't work with doing things every day. People don't shave because they feel terrible. They shave because it's time to shave. They build a good habit and stick with it. They shave because it feels right. It's not about creating great relief. It's about feeling right. You make exercise feel so good that it feels the right thing to do.
That's why you get up in the morning and brush your teeth. If you walk out of the room and realise you haven't brushed your teeth, you just walk back in and do it. On the Green Platform, it's second nature. It's a habit. The more you can make things you do second nature, the easier they become.
There isn't anything between you and your exercise. There are no nasty, vicious big thugs beating you up every time you attempt to take exercise. If there is no one on the outside, then who's beating you up and stopping you exercising?
It has to be you.
You have to go inside, get on that inner Green Platform, and the more you see yourself exercising, the more you'll want to exercise and the happier you'll feel. Just do it!
Declan Coyle is a director of Andec Communications. His motivational techniques have been used by several All-Ireland winning teams. firstname.lastname@example.org