Motivation is the sugar-rush of your desires. It is exciting, energizing, and oh-so-yummy… until you get a stomach ache and need to take a nap. It’s short-lived, short-term, temporary. It is not to be counted on for any real results or efforts.
It’s a lie that you need it in order to get things done.
You don’t need motivation to work in the same way you don’t need chocolate to live. It’s just the candy companies trying to spread Halloween-cheer. Trying to make a buck.
Here’s a little story to illustrate my point…
It’s not something I jump out of bed for
Four days a week, I do a strengthening exercise known as a kettlebell row. If you’re not familiar with it, you use a kettlebell and… errr… you can Google it if you’re curious. I don’t know how to explain it and your knowing how it works isn’t relevant to the story.
All that you need to know is that I do them.
Four days a week. 50 reps per arm. With a ten-pound kettlebell.
And I’ll tell you what, I am never motivated to do them. Not once have I woken up in the morning and said oh boy, I can’t wait to do my rows today! That’s never happened and it likely never will. Yet, I know that I’ll be doing them this afternoon regardless.
So if I’m not motivated, why do I do them? In fact, why work on any of my goals? Well, there are a handful of reasons. Take your pick as to which ones resonate with you…
First, each goal in my life is geared towards the concept of goal success: the combination of goal setting and goal achieving in order to create a fulfilling life for yourself.
Now, I should point out, fulfillment is not the same as happiness. Happiness comes and goes. Fulfillment, though, sustains. It is an undercurrent of purpose resting below the surface of your daily emotions and distractions. Fulfillment is not the pursuit of perfection. It is the pursuit of meaning.
Of knowing that your life matters.
I either move forward or I stand in place
Each goal I set for myself is done so with goal success in mind. And when I’m having sleepy days, or blue days, or grumpy days, and I don’t want to put in the work for X, Y, or Z, I know that I must push forward anyway. That a bad workout is better than no workout. That reading with weakened focus is better than not reading at all.
Because I know that unless I put in the work, I will not reach/maintain the fulfillment that I cherish so dearly.
My options, then, are either:
- Do the work, even though you don’t want to, and progress forward.
- Do nothing and continue being where you are today.
I choose the former.
Life is unpredictable. Plan anyway.
Second, I always have a plan for my day. Meaning that when I wake up, I already know when I’ll have breakfast, when I’m going to write, when I’m going to do my rows, etc. It’s all mapped out ahead of time.
Then all I do is stick to the plan to the best of my ability.
Obviously, my days never follow the plan perfectly (life is chaos and all that). But even so, when things change, I look at my plan, see what still needs to be done, and adjust things accordingly. The important things that I need to do, I make sure to get done. The less important are often moved to a different day or time.
They are not forgotten though. They are simply moved to a time that works better for me.
Remain aware of what’s important
Thirdly, I am organized with the goals that I pursue. I use something called a goal tracker to stay on top of and aware of the things I’m tackling.
Because while a new goal is exciting at the start, you can quickly lose track of it after a few months, and several new goals, have come and gone.
Often is the case where you see someone claiming loss of motivation as their downfall, when really it is due to lack of organization. With improved organization and daily planning, you will be cognizant of the things you need to be doing and, more importantly, when you will be doing them.
Graduate into bigger things
Finally, I start small. Yes, one of my current goals is to read two books a month, but I didn’t start there. I slowly got to that point with time. I didn’t go from reading one book a year to reading two books a month. No, no. That’s not sustainable.
I would have pushed myself much too hard and would have quit early on.
Instead, I worked my way up to two books a month; I started with one book a month, then after I had done that for a year or two, chose to double it. And, because I was ready when I did so, I have consistently achieved my aim. *Here’s every book I read in 2020.
Add more each week
Likewise, if I had never done strength training before, it would have been ill-advised to pursue the kettlebell goal I discussed earlier. It would have been too much too soon.
Instead, I would suggest to someone in that position to try doing one kettlebell row, one day a week. Or one row, five days a week.
And then each week, you could add on an extra five reps. So week one would be one row, five days a week. Then week two would be five rows, five days a week. Then week three would be ten rows. Week four would be 15 rows. Week five would be 20 rows. And all the while you’re getting stronger (physically and mentally). You’re building your resilience, your discipline, your confidence.
Until you reach a point where you are ready to do 50 rows, five days a week (or four in my case).
There is no rush to fulfillment. Take your time and work your way into it.
Oh and play music too…
One last thing – play music. This one is so generic, so over-prescribed that I didn’t want to include it, but felt I must as it is helpful.
Prime your mind to take action by playing music.
For example, when I run, I listen to very specific genres to prepare. When I write, I play different, but still, specific music made to get me ready for the task. When I’m sad but want to be happy, when I’m happy but want to be sad, when I’m feeling lazy, I use music to manipulate my mood and prepare me for a change in state.
You don’t need motivation
You don’t need motivation to get things done, all you need is a reliable system.
Create one that is timeless and works for you no matter the scenario. Experiment with my suggestions above and see just how much more you are able to get done. Both in the menial sense, but more importantly, in the realm of fulfillment that you desire.
You got this.