Lack of motivation is often seen as a reason for people to not follow through with their commitments. So we focus on chasing that motivation to keep us moving towards our goals. But being repeatedly doped by various sources of motivation is more likely to burn you out than help you moving.
The missing link is often in cause-and-effect relation of action and motivation. People often wait for motivation to come and help them start and gain momentum. However, research has shown that true motivation appears when you are already in action. It’s a part of that momentum that keeps you moving – not a trigger of it. Here are some things to consider if you want to avoid becoming a victim of the falseness of motivation as a trigger.
1. Set a plan
Successful action is preceded by intention and goes hand-in-hand with a structure. Make a plan: our lives have become so intense that it’s easy to move through the days reacting to everything that’s happening around us, not getting time for moving towards our goals and desires. What’s not on your calendar is not getting done.
Choose the exact days and hours you are ready to devote to your goal. Your schedule will help you to take steps, without analyzing whether you have an inspiration that day or not. Keep in mind the 21-day rule, which will help you to build a firm habit.
2. Ask 5 why’s
I’ve seen many people seeking external sources of inspiration and motivation, to help them take actionable steps. Been there and done that myself. Yet my experience of moving towards own goals and supporting others on their way has proven that the most sustainable motivation comes from within.
You need to find your true “why” for the goal you’re willing to achieve. Ask yourself five why’s to get to that answer that lies deep within you. For example:
I want to get a new job.
Because this current one gives me stomach aches.
Why (#2) does it give me stomach aches?
I don’t feel I’m in the right place here.
Why (#3) is that?
The organization culture is totally against my beliefs and values.
Why (#4) do you think so?
People keep backstabbing each other and there is too much competition and no collaboration whatsoever.
Why (#5) is that bad?
Because I want to be a part of something bigger than just my work, be a part of a team where we have common goals and support each other on the way.
Now you get a totally different motivation. You are aware of what feels wrong about the current workplace, and this clarity will help you focus on a solution that will actually work – you won’t leave this workplace, exchanging it to a new one with the same culture.
3. Let yourself start (and continue) small
We often don’t start moving towards a goal because we feel like we need to take one huge leap to get there. We are standing in a valley, looking at a mountain top above us thinking “I will never get up there – it’s not possible to get there with one move”. In the mountain example, you can clearly see how ineffective this way of thinking is. There, you focus on looking for a path and then taking a couple of small steps at a time. Slowly but steadily, you make your way to the top.
We need to apply the same approach to seeing our goals as a whole, and the way to them as consisting of many tiny steps. Motivation comes when you take those small steps, track your progress, and see how your inspired actions are taking you closer to your goal.
It’s essential to understand that your aims and aspirations are not products of your motivation. Intentions and actions are your moving forces. Don’t be afraid, do one step at a time. It’s essential to remember that excitement often comes during the work itself when you see yourself succeeding and feeling proud of the work you’ve done.
Whatever stage of getting things done you are struggling with, I understand it demands a lot of courage to get started and keep going. Remember that it is normal to need some guidance at any stage of your development. You can always reach out for support, I am here to help you.
With all my love and care,