Have you ever set a weight loss goal, got really clear on what you wanted, set up a realistic plan to get there, and then, after the initial burst of energy, your enthusiasm faded? Or maybe sometimes you don’t even get that far before you lose your motivation.
It’s hard to put your finger on, I know. You still want to fit in your pants looking sexy as hell. You still want to come home from work with energy to do more than watch TV or scroll through social media.
But those desires aren’t enough to overcome the reluctance of “I just don’t feel like it.” Why not?
Essentially, our brains don’t want to do anything hard. Or scary. They don’t want us to venture out of the proverbial cave, but rather to stay warm and safe inside. (I love this short clip of an interview with author, Mel Robbins, on why motivation is garbage.)
What I know, and have personally experienced, is that waiting to feel motivated is a huge waste of time. Because it doesn’t happen. We only feel motivated when we cultivate thoughts that encourage a feeling of motivation.
Here are three ways to overcome the inertia of not feeling motivated:
- Recognize and be intentional with even the small decisions. You know the voice that says “Oh, it’s just one cookie” and then you eat the cookie? Or a glass of wine, a few minutes snooze in the morning, a workout…it’s just one. But that insidious lie keeps you from reaching your deepest desires. Robins says “Your life comes down to your decisions and if you change your decisions you change everything.”
- Ask “What do I want more than this?” I have an amazing coaching client to thank for this one. When you experience the desire to procrastinate, for example, by noshing on some chips, ask yourself that simple question. If you find yourself in the pantry too often, put it on a post-it where you’ll see it regularly and ask it before you even pick up the bag. It works.
- “This is hard and I can do hard things” has become a mantra among my clients. We decide to look at doing hard things as the way we evolve to better, healthier versions of ourselves. It’s like when you work out: your cells develop better oxygen carrying capacity; your muscles tear down and build back stronger. But only because you did the hard thing of pushing yourself physically.
Please do not waste another moment waiting for motivation to strike. Even serious authors know they have to write, day after day, even when they don’t feel like it. Even if they churn out crap sometimes. They keep going. And that’s what produces a best seller.
It’s kind of freeing to know that motivation is crap. No need to think something is wrong with you. No need to “wait” for it. You can learn to create your own motivation with your thoughts. So powerful, don’t you think?