“There will be days where you’re not motivated. But the motivation comes after you show up. Don’t start with the motivation. Start with the doing.” – Sean McCabe
Everyone has something they’re working on…or started working on, I should say. New Year’s goals, bad habits they want to break, good habits they want to adopt, a project or skill they’ve really wanted to improve or learn. We get so moved by our thoughts and emotions about these things and we have this burst of energy, motivation, inspiration, and excitement at the prospect of what the end achievement will look like, what it will feel like so we start. We work hard. We give it a lot of energy and thought.
Then…we hit that point, the first really big stumbling block. We get tired with it, frustrated that it’s not moving as quickly as it should be (or I should say, as quickly as WE think it should be), things are much more challenging than we first thought they’d be and you just don’t have as much energy anymore to keep going.
Our thoughts start sounding like this: Why do I care about this anyway? Does it REALLY matter? I don’t really NEED to do this, it was a nice thought BUT…
Let me give you an example, let’s say that Susan wants to get up early each morning. That’s her new habit she wants to create. She loves how getting up early feels. She gets so much done for the day before the kids are awake. It sets her day up just so. She wants to recreate this morning every day. So she enthusiastically sets her alarm and gets up the next morning. That felt great! So she does it again, next morning. She pops out of bed and starts feeling like, why didn’t I do this sooner!? Fast forward a week or two even…the morning alarm goes off. She’s REALLY tired today. It’s cold out of her bed and she’s so warm now. One day isn’t going to make a difference. Her brain tells her, You deserve this! You’ve been so good. Take this one day, sleep in.
So she does. The next morning is a similar battle only this time it’s a little harder to make that choice and her brain comes up with more compelling reasons why she should just stay in her bed and sleep. So she does. Turn that into a week later and she hasn’t gotten up early once. In conversations with others who ask, she might say something like, “I don’t know. I thought I wanted to but I just don’t really feel like it anymore.”
What happened? She felt so good. She had all these great reasons to get up. It was almost easy in the beginning but now it’s just so hard.
Does this sound familiar? Maybe your goal isn’t about waking up early – change it to your goal. Can you relate?
How do we keep the motivation flourishing? How can we keep going when we just don’t feel like it anymore?
This is quite possibly THE BIGGEST hurdle we all face when it comes to accomplishing our goals; getting over the FEELING – I just don’t feel like it or lack of motivation.
There’s really good news because you can change that. You have 100% control over this. You CAN feel motivated every day if that’s what you want because motivation is a FEELING.
FEELINGS come from our THOUGHTS and you can change your thoughts. You can decide what thoughts override and overpower the “natural man” (aka I want to stay in bed voice).
Think about Susan again. Susan didn’t FEEL like getting up in the moment. It wasn’t that she had expended all the motivation she had, like it’s this jar and we only have “so much” – go back and look at her thoughts: it’s so cold out there, I’m so tired, one day won’t matter, sleep feels so good. I should go back to sleep.
What feelings could possible come from these thoughts?
Anticipation for the day?
No…just the feeling of staying comfortable, staying in bed, going back to sleep, and not thinking anymore.
We do this to ourselves on a frequent basis. There’s so many things we just don’t feel like doing. Our natural man selves will contend with us. It’ll give us all kinds of reasons why we shouldn’t do whatever it is we’re wanting to do. The natural man wants what’s easy. It wants what’s known (staying in bed), not breaking routine – even if the routine isn’t good for us. No, you shouldn’t eat healthy – eat the cupcake like you always have. It’ll say things like that to you solely because it’s EASY, it’s what’s KNOWN, and it’s going to derive the quickest return on pleasure. Eating that cupcake will feel good for a moment, sleeping in will feel good for that extra hour but later on in the day regret will come too. Shame sometimes comes along, followed by guilt.
Why did I do that? I said I’d _____________________. What’s WRONG WITH ME???
Nothing is wrong with you. Really and truly. You CAN do what it takes to accomplish your goals. The first and most important step resides in your head.
Your THINKING propels you to do or NOT DO. Most people don’t FEEL motivated after a little while. The natural man starts getting louder and it’s more challenging to contend with such a loud opponent, who really is quite skilled in it’s reasoning. The natural man is a GOOD salesman but ultimately YOU get to choose to buy what it’s saying.
Your thoughts create how you feel so if you don’t like how you’re feeling, you need to check your thoughts. What thoughts am I having that is creating this for me?
It’s NEVER about your feelings, like you’re only granted “so much motivation” – no, you CREATE your motivation by your thoughts. If you’re lacking in motivation you need to create more thoughts that will generate motivation.
In the moment that your natural man is firing it’s arsenal of compelling reasons to quit, to give up, to take just one day off (or two, three…forever) there’s a thought that you can hold onto that will pull you through. A thought that will get you back on track and closer to your goals. Ready for it?
The thought is simply this:
I told myself I would, so I’m going to.
Just do it (thanks Nike)
MOST, if not ALL people don’t feel like doing things. Everyone has their own natural man that wants comfort, wants what’s easy, wants what’s known and everyone has to battle with themselves in order to rise above it. The most effective thought is simply, I’m just going to do it whether I feel like it or not.
That’s a thought. That decision, that choice, “I’m going to” – it’s not an action YET – it’s a thought and it fuels and generates MOTIVATION.
“Of course motivation is not permanent. But then, neither is bathing; but it is something you should do on a regular basis.” – Zig Ziglar
There are days you’re just too tired to even want to wash your face or brush your teeth – BUT YOU DO THEM ANYWAY because it’s good for you.
Same concept here, do it anyway. In the doing thoughts change. When you’re already up and moving the desire to crawl back in bed changes. Thoughts of sleep are less compelling because you mind is already getting more fully alert each second. Thoughts of deserving to sleep in change as well, they change to, I’m glad I got myself up and out of bed. Phew! For a minute there I almost didn’t. I was so tired!
“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack in will.” – Vince Lombardi
The will is in the promise, the commitment to yourself that you’re going to do something or NOT do something. When you make that promise to yourself, keep it. It’s in the doing that the motivation returns, the natural man gets quieted, and we move closer and closer to accomplishing our goals.
Each day you practice coming through for you, making good on the promise and commitment you made to you the easier it becomes to get up again tomorrow, and the next day, and and the next. The battle is still there, every morning your natural man will whisper, stay in bed. It’s so warm here. But because you’ve overcome that voice before you know you can do it again, and again, and again.
Margaret Thatcher once said, “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”
You will, know that you will. Expect your natural man to give you push back. The only thought you need to hang on to when you feel a deficiency in motivation is this:
I told myself I would, so I’m going to.
Then get to work. It REALLY IS THAT simple. YOU can make yourself do what you want to. You can push through and CREATE motivation within you.
Motivation doesn’t just come to some people -YOU CREATE IT. If you don’t have it it’s because you haven’t created it yet.
Decide what it is you want. Decide you’re going to do it no matter what. Decide that you’re stronger than the voice inside that tells you to quit. You create motivation. You create desire. You can accomplish the goals you’ve set.
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