One of the younger lifters I coach mentioned that he's recently been infatuated with high end cars. The conversation shifted to the idea of material possessions as a means of motivation.
Here's the story I told him. When I officially left school to pursue my first business full-time, I overestimated my own ability. I swore to my parents that I'd earn more in my first year than the average for the highest earning college major - otherwise I'd return to school, pay my tuition, and let them choose my career. I ended up being pretty broke a few months in. I nearly ran out of money when it came time to buy Christmas gifts. I remember passing a store where this watch was in the window, thinking "who the fuck wears a watch like that". Later on, running my budget and realizing how close I was cutting it, I felt hopeless and overwhelmed. Too ashamed to share my struggle, I kind of just let myself feel that way for a few days. Eventually, I cut the shit and admitted that if I would just learn more, work harder, and be patient I could still make this happen - and one day when I did, I'd buy that gaudy watch from the store window. Fast forward 6 months. I made it happen. Same deal with the car; there was a milestone attached to it.
The point is not that you should use objects as motivation, but just that sometimes you might attach a much deeper meaning to a thing than the shininess or the sexy noise it makes. Everytime I wear this watch, everytime I drive this car, I'm reminded of the work I've done to get to each milestone. I'm also reminded of that shitty feeling of not making it. These memories keep the fire lit under my ass. The sparkles and speed are just a bonus. It has never been about this money vs. meaning bullshit. I'll do what I have to do and earn both.