Why Motivation Kills Progress

Have you ever had a long list of things you just needed to get done but lacked the motivation to actually do them?  Why is it so difficult for most people to achieve their goals?  Even if you do not write down your goals, most of us would probably confess that it is so much easier to sit on the couch and watch our favorite TV show or movie than it is to get up and unload the dishwasher, a generally simple task.  We feel that we need the motivation to do anything and often exclaim, “I have no motivation to do that right now.”  Or we say, “I’m just too tired and I deserve a break.”  Or we will state, “I can just do that tomorrow.”  Well, tomorrow comes and goes, and we still have that pile of dirty dishes in the sink or that box that we still have not unpacked even though we moved into our new house 3 years ago.

What to do?  What to do?!?  If you are like me, you have probably tried to will yourself to do it or to think positive, encouraging things to get you going.  And honestly, that can work, but it is not a long term strategy by any means.  What if motivation never comes?  Are we really going to just wait until it comes and then we will write the book, clean the kitchen, make that sales call, etc?  No, we are not going to do that because we are difference makers, life changers, go-getters, and…..wait a minute there’s that really funny cat video I saw on Facebook so let me just watch that really quick and then I’ll be motivated because I’ll be in a better mood and will feel like doing it.  This cycle will continue on and on and you will never make progress!

STOP waiting for motivation, and START taking physical action.  Let’s say you are on your coach with your spouse watching your favorite TV show, but you know that you both need to go to the kitchen and cook some food to pack in your lunches to take to work with you (I mean, this could be a real life example in my own life, but I’m just saying this may or may not have happened tonight).  My wife and I are a team, and we can surely will ourselves to get up and say encouraging things to each other to make the packing of the lunches happen, right?  “Come on, honey you are the best lunch packer and you do the greatest and I know we can do this!”  But we just continue to sit.  You see, it is not until we physically take an action step that we get that much closer to the kitchen.  That meant, we both literally put our feet on the floor and stood up.  And once we stood up, we took a few steps to the kitchen.  And once we were in the kitchen we starting cooking and packing our lunches.

Now, I know that this may seem like a silly example, but it really works!  If you want to clean your room or even write a book, you have to start by taking action…literally.  Get up or sit down at your desk.  Open your laptop and start typing.  And do as much as you can, and then do it again tomorrow.  And then do it again and again until you have developed your new habit of writing or keeping a clean room.  You know what I have found out that is really cool too?  When motivation does come along, you can use it and watch how much is accomplished in that period of time.  Just don’t let your mind think you have to have that motivation in order to do it the next day when you are tired and don’t “feel like it.”

Forget motivation, and start taking action today!


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