What’s up Crew! Today we are going to talk about motivation! More specifically, we’re going to talk about how to STAY motivated and break those bad habits that are constantly plaguing you.
Motivation is a powerful, yet tricky beast. I think we can all agree that motivation is sometimes very easy to come by, and you can find yourself wrapped up in a whirlwind of excitement.
But then other times, it is nearly impossible to figure out how to motivate yourself, am I right?! That’s when you get trapped in the death spiral of procrastination.
So let me just preempt this by saying this training today is not going to be some rah-rah motivational speech. (Y’all know that's not my style.) Instead, we're going to break down the why and how behind self-motivation, and specifically how to stay motivated and break your bad habits in a way this is sustainable long-term.
So if that sounds like exactly what you need today, go ahead and smash that little heart and as always, I love comments and interaction so be sure to drop some comments along the way.
I you prefer to WATCH rather than READ, you can watch the video of this training here! If you'd rather read, go ahead and continue down below!
Let’s dive in!
What is Motivation?
So what is motivation, exactly? There’s an awesome quote in the book “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield who says “At some point, the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it.”
I LOVE THAT STATEMENT. Basically what that is saying is that at some point it is easier to change than to stay the same. If you’re looking to get in shape, it is easier to take action and feel a little insecure getting started at the gym than to sit on your butt and spend your days self-loathing on the couch. If you want to make more money, it’s easier to feel a little awkward making sales calls to new prospects than to feel desperate about your dwindling bank account.
That mindset, I think, is the essence of motivation. Every choice has a price, but when we are motivated, it is easier to bear the inconvenience of action than the pain of remaining the same. Somehow you cross a mental threshold, and USUALLY it’s after weeks of procrastination which has brough you to the doorstep of an impending deadline. Only at that point did it become more painful to not do the work than to actually do it. You were out of time.
So then the golden question: What can we do to make it more likely that we cross that mental threshold and experience that core motivation on a more consistent basis?
#1) Simplify the Start
One interesting thing that you may not realize about motivation is that it often comes after starting a new behavior, not before. I think a lot of people have this misconception that motivation arrives as a result of being triggered by a motivational video or reading an inspirational book. However, active inspiration is a far more powerful motivator. Write that down.
Motivation is most often the result of action, not the cause of it. Getting started, even in a very small way, is a form of active inspiration that naturally produces momentum.
Call it the Physics of Productivity because this is basically Newton’s First Law. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion. So once a task has begun, it is easier to continue moving it forward. This is why most people don’t procrastinate on finishing something. It is almost always the START that gets delaying. But once you get moving, what happens? You keep moving! And if you do procrastinate on finishing something it is likely because you actually stopped. And now you have to restart again to finish? Am I right? (reading your mail again)
So, point #1, one of the keys to getting motivated is to simplify the start.
#2) Don’t Let Motivation Schedule You
I was listening to an interview recently where the author that was being interviewed said “A lot of people never get around to writing because they are always wondering when they are going to write next.” You could really apply that thought process to just about anything working out, starting a business, creating art, writing a book, just about any habit really.
· If your workout doesn’t have a time associated to it, then each day you’ll wake up thinking, “I hope I feel motivated to exercise today.” (We all know that’s true right!)
· If your business doesn’t have a system for marketing, then you’ll start your workday just simply crossing your fingers, hoping that someone will come across your business today. (and do you think your business would survive?)
· If you’re a writer and you don’t have blocked time in your schedule every week to write, then you might find yourself saying things like, “I just need to find the willpower to do it” or “I need some fresh ideas.”
Setting a schedule for yourself probably seems simple, but are you really doing it? Consistently and intentionally? Doing so puts your decision-making on autopilot by giving your goals a time and a place to live. It makes it more likely that you will follow through regardless of your motivation levels. And there are plenty of research studies on willpower and motivation to back up that statement.
Stop waiting for motivation or inspiration to strike you before you’re willing to become committed enough to set a schedule for your habits. This is the difference between professionals and amateurs. Professionals set a schedule and stick to it. Amateurs wait until inspiration or motivation show up, but even then they usually lack the self-discipline to follow through with accomplishment. If you sincerely want to master self-motivation, don’t let motivation schedule you. (If you’re in the front row, watch out. I’m throwing bricks over here)
#3) Establish Ritual Habits
Ritual habits are the making of momentum, and momentum is the secret sauce to becoming truly unstoppable in your life and business. I like to define the word momentum as a Power, Strength and Speed Gained by the Development of a Ritual Process.
Rituals, that’s an interesting choice of words right? What do you consider rituals? I’m glad you asked. Rituals are a series of actions or behavior that are REGULARLY and INVARIABLY followed by an individual. I said REGULARLY and INVARIABLY. The definition of invariably is “in EVERY case and on EVERY occasion; always.” Am I making my point?
The power of a ritual is that it provides a mindless way to initiate your behavior. It makes starting your habits easier which means that following through on a consistent basis is easier.
The key to any good ritual is that it removes the need to make a decision: What should I do first? When should I do this? How should I do this? Most people never get moving because they can’t decide how to get started. So how you develop effective rituals. Here’s 3 quick steps for you:
Step 1: A good ritual starts by being so easy that even basic levels of discipline won’t say no to it. These things should not require motivation. For example, my evening routine starts by setting up the coffee maker for the morning, planning my work attire, then taking a shower. I do these three things in the evening because they save me time in the morning and get me moving faster.
These tasks are so easy, I never say no to them. Do I always feel like it? NO. Do I ever skip it? NO. Which leads me to step 2.
Step 2: Your routine should get you moving toward your end goal.
A lack of mental motivation is often linked to a lack of physical movement. Just imagine your physical state when you're feeling depressed, bored, or unmotivated. You’re not moving very much. Maybe you’re slumped over like a slug, slowly melting into the couch.
The opposite is also true. If you’re physically moving and engaged, then it’s far more likely that you’ll feel mentally engaged and energized. For example with my evening routine, the thing I often dread the most is the shower. But as soon as I set up the coffee maker and get moving, I’m more energized to get it done.
To the contrary, if I ever skip one of those three things in the evening, it is an INSTANT DE-MOTIVATOR in the morning. And that’s because mentally, I feel like I can’t get moving right in to my day. I’m stalled by something I should have done yesterday. I know this, which is why I can’t remember the last time that I didn’t follow through with my evening routine.
Now while your routine should be as easy as possible to start, it should gradually transition into demanding more of you. Your mind and your motivation will follow what you are giving energy to. Which leads me to step 3.
Step 3: Establish a pattern and follow it daily
The primary purpose of developing a ritual process is to create a rhythm for how you operate. It’s how you set yourself to be successful. Eventually, those rituals become so tied to your performance that by simply doing the routine, you are pulled into a mental state that is primed to perform. You don’t need to know how to find motivation, you just need to start your rituals. Make sense? Your rituals are your pre-game warmup. They are the basically the triggers that jumpstart your action, even if you’re lacking motivation at the start.
I know that was a long point, but it was an important one to discuss. #3 was establish ritual habits.
#4) The Goldilocks Rule
Imagine you are playing tennis. If you try to play a serious match of tennis against a four-year-old, you’re going to get bored quick. The match is too easy. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you try to play a serious match against a pro like Roger Federer or Serena Williams, you’re going to find yourself completely demotivated for an entirely different reason. Because no one enjoys getting pulverized by someone who is obviously much more advanced in skill.
Compare these experiences to playing tennis against someone who is your equal. As the game progresses, you win a few points and you lose a few points. You have a chance of winning the match, but only if you really try. Your focus narrows, distractions fade away, and you find yourself fully invested in the task at hand. The challenge you are facing may be challenging, but also manageable. Victory is not guaranteed, but you have a shot. THOSE are the tasks that are most likely to keep you motivated long-term.
Human beings love challenges, but only if they are within the optimal zone of difficulty. Tasks that are significantly below your current abilities are boring. Tasks that are significantly beyond your current abilities are frustrating, or discouraging. But tasks that are right on the border of success and failure are incredibly motivating to the human brain. There’s a resolve in us that thrives on mastering something that was once just beyond our reach.
That’s The Goldilocks Rule, which was named as an analogy from the children's story "The Three Bears", in which Goldilocks tastes three different bowls of porridge and finds that she prefers porridge that is neither too hot nor too cold, but has just the right temperature. So The Goldilocks Rule implies that humans experience peak motivation when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their current abilities. Not too hard. Not too easy. Just right.
If you find yourself feeling unmotivated to work on a task, it is often because it has drifted into an area of boredom or been shoved into an area of great difficulty. You need to find a way to pull your tasks back to the border of your abilities where you feel challenged, but capable.
Here’s a couple last quick thoughts for you.
#5) Discomfort Is Temporary
Relative to the time in your normal day or week, nearly any habit you perform is over quickly. Your workout will be finished in an hour or two. Your report will be typed to completion by tomorrow morning.
Life is easier now than it has ever been. 300 years ago, if you didn’t kill your own food and build your own house, you would die. Today, we whine about forgetting our iPhone charger.
Maintain perspective. Your life is good and your discomfort is temporary. Step into this moment of discomfort and let it strengthen you.
#6) You Will Never Regret Good Work Once It is Done
Theodore Roosevelt famously said, “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” So often it seems that we want to work easily at work worth doing. We want our work to be helpful and respected, but we do not want to struggle through our work. We want our stomachs to be flat and our arms to be strong, but we do not want to grind through another workout. We want the final result, but not the failed attempts that precede it. We want the gold, but not the grind.
Anyone can want a gold medal, but few a lack the discipline or willpower to train like an Olympian. And yet, despite our resistance to it, I have never found myself feeling down after the hard work was done. Never. Certainly there have been days when it seemed like everything was working against my motivation to start, but it was always worth finishing. Sometimes, the simple act of showing up and having the courage to do the work, even in if it’s average, is a victory worth celebrating.
Show up for yourself today. You’re worth it. And hopefully, this conversation today will help you get moving intentionally in the right direction.
Hope you enjoyed that one Crew! If you did, don’t forget to smash that Like button, subscribe to the channel if you haven’t already and drop me a comment down below. I’d love to hear from you, and I’d love to know what impact my content had on you today.
Have a spectacular day y’all, God Bless and I’ll see you around the web ~ JC
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