Motivation is a powerful yet complex emotion. Sometimes you are inspired, and motivation comes easily. You become a whirlwind of energy and excitement. Other times, motivation seems to be hiding. You just can’t get inspired, and you’ll do your laundry rather than whatever it is you need to get done. You are stuck in a death spiral of procrastination and can’t figure out how to get started. Sometimes even your proven motivation habits or techniques conspire against you.
Misconceptions about Motivation
One of the misconceptions about motivation is that it often comes after you’ve started a new behavior, not before. We tend to think that we’ll be raring to go after reading an inspirational book, seeing a motivational video, or listening to exciting music. And sometimes, we are. However, taking action can be much more powerful.
Action often results in motivation, not the opposite. Just beginning a project or working on a change in yourself, even in small ways, is a type of active inspiration that generates momentum. Let’s get a little science-y here and consider Newton’s first law of motion: an object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion. Motivation habits works in very much the same way. Once we begin a task or start building a habit, it is easier to continue moving it forward.
Dangers of Waiting for Motivation
We tend to think of motivation as a good thing. But when you wait for motivation to get started, you can actually delay your progress. It becomes a self-defeating cycle, as the more you wait and look for motivation, the more motivation you need to get yourself going.
There’s no substitute for the feeling of taking action that gets results – whether it be completing a project, going for a run every morning, or getting to the gym regularly. No matter how hard it is to get started, even when you’re not “feeling it,” once you begin to see progress, that feeling will come.
Part of the problem is that motivation can be flighty. It comes and goes. It isn’t always dependable. If we only do things when we’re motivated, we may end up with all-or-nothing thinking. When we rely too much on motivation, we decide to do nothing because we are not motivated. What we need is to foster more purpose and discipline.
Goal Setting and Motivational Techniques
If you are losing motivation, it could be your motivation habits or techniques that are at fault. There’s nothing wrong with big goals. But meeting a goal, whether it be increasing your productivity, changing a habit, waking up early, or just becoming happier, sometimes takes small steps to complete. When the goal seems too far away, thinking about how long it may take to complete can kill your motivation on the spot. But by breaking a big goal into small, attainable ones, you’ll kick-start your motivation and move towards your main goal.
This is where your motivation habits and techniques come in. Do you read an inspirational book or watch a video for motivation? Or do you make small changes that move you closer to your goal? Not everyone is motivated by the same things. So, we wanted to ask you: are your motivational techniques or habits helping or hurting you? Only you will know for sure.