The Mythical Magic of Motivation
Hands up if you had grand plans for 2020?
You were so motivated that this was going to be your year and then BAM! COVID shutdown happened... Every plan you had, every routine you’d developed just disappeared in the space of a month.
Here, in Perth, we are some of the lucky ones in the world and I am super grateful that I’m here of all places. We have managed to keep COVID out of our community for over 6 months now, and life is pretty much back to normal... back on track!
What’s not back on track are the goals that I set for myself at the start of the year. And I know that a lot of my clients are the same.
The thing everybody seems to be waiting for to ‘get back to it’ now, is motivation, and we tend to think the process goes a little something like this:
1. Motivation magically comes in the night and we wake up one day motivated to put in the efforts required to be great and do great things.
2. We then do the great things we need to do to make our dreams come true.
3. We stick to it as perfectly as we do when we’re at our best and most motivated. 4. We reach our goal, become great and successful.
5. We live happily ever after doing all of the great things all of the time.
Firstly: the above scenario is a GREAT load of crap. It happens like that for literally no one.
Secondly, the order is muddled up and it’s missing a bunch of steps.
Motivation almost NEVER comes first, And reaching your goal is never that smooth.
Change, in general, is scary. Staying the same is, in general, more comfortable, so it’s not until the pain of staying the same outweighs the pain of change, that we are motivated to take any action at all. Deciding that you want or need change comes first, and you need a compelling reason for it.
What’s your ‘Why’?
Why do you want this change, or to reach this goal? Why is it important to you, and what does it mean if you get there?
The reason Thousand Reasons doesn’t focus on ‘weight loss’ and ‘building a bikini body’ is because these things are never core motivators. Yes, sometimes a bit of weight loss is nice, but that alone isn’t why you would get out of bed in the morning.
The reason behind your goal is your motivator. For example, someone wanting to lose weight might be motivated by staving off genetic diseases, being a role model to their kids, or feeling strong and confident.
Once you have a reason, you need to start. With or without motivation. You may have the most compelling reason in the world, but the reality is, motivation is not something some people ‘just have’, like willpower, it comes and goes, and it doesn’t always come when we need it most.
This is why we need to plan, not just for when things are going well, but also for when they aren’t.
The reality is, there’s always going to be something that comes up that gets in the way of your plan. Big or small, external or internal, even if it’s just having a crappy day. So plan for it. Come up with if/then’s and come up with if/then’s for your if/then’s.
IF: I can’t do 100% of my plan today, THEN: I’ll do something, even if it’s just 10% for today, just to keep the momentum going. IF: I can't do 10%, THEN: I'll schedule in some extra dedicated time in the next 7 days to make up time.
IF: A global pandemic or another entirely unforeseeable event comes along, THEN: I’ll reassess my priorities, see if the goal is worth my energy and focus for right now, and come up with an alternate plan for these crazy times and get back to my original goal if and when I have the capacity to do so!
The more solutions you have the less you’ll have to think about then and the easier it will be to just do them.
You wouldn’t stop showering forever if you couldn’t shower at your usual time for a day, you’d just shower at a different time or in a different shower, or you might even take a bath!
Make the same kind of plans for your goals and you won’t ever need ‘motivation’, you’ll just do it.
The more realistic way to reach your goals is this:
1. Identify what you want and why.
3. Start, whether you have the motivation or not.
4. Gain momentum and (finally) motivation.
5. Hit an obstacle.
6. Try a plan B.
7. Learn from it.
8. Feel like you’re going backward for a while.
9. Remember the reason you’re doing it.
10. Take more action.
11. Repeat steps 3 – 10, possibly in a different order, until you reach your goal, doing your best to enjoy the little wins along the way, whilst not taking the obstacles and setbacks personally!
In short, motivation doesn't magically come in the night and make you perfectly consistent and successful. You need to find a reason or, your 'Why', plan it out- including planning for anything and everything that would usually stuff up your plans, take action, and keep going. Even when it's hard. Even when you're 'unmotivated'. Somewhere in there, you might get a boost of motivation, but don't wait for it to come along to start working towards your dreams. They're far too important!