We’ve all been there. The alarm goes off on the bedside table and you groggily slap at the touchscreen to get those 9 extra minutes of snooze. “How can I possibly get up and exercise out in the cold world when this bed is so cozy and warm? I’ll pass today but I’m sure tomorrow, yes tomorrow, I’ll have the motivation to get lace up my sneakers and hit the road!”
Motivation, by definition, means the reason we do something or the desire to do something. But let’s face it, desire and reason are two very different things. We aren’t always chomping at the bit to exercise or complete that work project. We hardly ever feel like taking the time each day to floss. And, honestly, if we waited to do anything until we felt absolutely motivated we would end up accomplishing very little.
The myth that motivation is an inherent force that drives us forward and should just come to us out of the ether is a dangerous trap we all fall into. Here are 3 things to think about when contemplating motivation:
- Your mind has all the feels, so stick to your goals.
In those moments of “snooze” or “I’ll do it later,” our minds are busy talking us into what we desire in that moment rather than looking at the big picture. Instead of operating on those feelings in the present we should remember the reason we set a goal in the first place. Your goals are your friend; they ARE the motivation. Write them down and read them often. When your feelings get in the way, don’t give yourself the time to mentally argue and count down to success. Try: “5-4-3-2-1-get moving!”
- Avoid perfection paralysis, and go with good enough.
Perfection paralysis is a trick your mind plays on you in an attempt to keep you safe. Whenever we’re about to put a piece of ourselves out into the world (say by asking someone out on a date or presenting an idea to a boss at work) we form an idea of it in our minds first. We envision all the ways we want it to be perfect, and all the ways it isn’t yet. Perfection will rarely happen, so reframe that view in your mind and tell yourself sometimes good enough IS good enough.
- Expect failure, and try, try again.
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again! It may seem silly, but if we build the reality of failures into our expectations, when they happen (and they will happen) it won’t collapse the path we’re on or destroy the goal.
Apply these steps of less thinking and more doing and you’ll help break through the Motivation Myth.