How to use this article: Read it through and proceed with what resonates with you the most. Sometimes you may have to motivate yourself in different ways, depending on your feelings and state of mind. When you feel like what worked yesterday doesn’t work today, come back and try something else.
I took a one week break from blogging and I have to admit that even though I enjoyed my time off, I still kind of consider it as a mistake.
The reason for this is that I felt like I lost all the motivation to write.
It’s a horrible feeling when you know what you are supposed to do, you know why you should do it, but you just don’t feel like doing it.
The first problem (Important to understand)
The first problem with lacking motivation is that it feels like becoming motivated again is impossible.
I’ve said this a lot, but I’ll say it again: your feelings are bullshitting you.
If I’d have to take a guess about it, this particular feeling is the biggest reason why people give up too soon.
They are interpreting that feeling as the truth – which it isn’t.
In my case, I definitely feel the lack of motivation like anyone else, but I’ve been through it tens of times and I’m fully aware that I can do something about it.
The solution will always be there. It’s probably the “jump to the unknown” that people don’t like to take with it, as in not knowing whether they find motivation or not.
It’s just easier to just give up.
1. Expand on your source of motivation
Coincidentally, Owen just released a video about motivation and being a fan of his videos, the timing couldn’t have been better.
I liked the video, but this particular concept struck to me:
Motivation is basically an idea or set of ideas that really pulls you toward those ideas, making you active.
Unmotivation happens when those particular ideas no longer have that pull.
Instead of hoping to renew the pull in that one idea, one should explore the “chain effects” and expand on that idea that no longer interests you.
I’ll give you an example: Let’s say you want to create a business and you are thinking about getting enough money to travel, which motivates you to go on.
You start working intensely toward your goals for 1 month, until that original thought of just “traveling” doesn’t do it anymore. The feeling isn’t there.
Now, instead of trying to push with that same original thought, what about trying to expand on it some more?
Start thinking about the chain-reactions, how you would meet more people while traveling, how more money would give you more security and freedom in life, how you could focus on all those nice hobbies that you have.
Keep doing it as long as it takes to find the ‘feeling’ that creates the pull toward action.
The possibilities are limitless here, so the only limitation is how far one is willing to go with these thoughts.
In my experience, after a while of soul-searching, I indeed managed to find more things that got me more motivated towards my goals.
2. Embrace the lack of motivation
Usually the idea goes like this: “first I need motivation (desire), then I can take action”.
The whole idea of “needing motivation to do something” is ultimately a big limitation.
Just humor me and try it out: forget the idea of needing motivation and just start doing whatever it is that you would like to do but don’t have the desire to do.
Don’t think how unmotivated you are, but just start flowing. In my experience, if I manage to do it with proper mindset, there is a joy of doing – joy of getting something done and surprisingly often without stress.
In other words, turn the traditional formula of “motivation -> action” upside down to “action -> motivation -> action”.
Related to that, here’s my currently favorite way of getting something done: simply embrace the shittiness of the task.
When it comes to negative element in our minds, resistance is the reason why they persist and it’s why we suffer about them too much: we simply don’t want to feel anything negative in our lives so we try to push it away.
The best way to get rid of negative and make it into a source of energy is to go through it, feel it fully and embrace it fully instead of trying to push it away.
Sometimes there can be the willingness to do something, but there’s still that resistance that makes me rather go towards the distractions.
This is particularly true when I’m supposed to write.
Then I just embrace the fact that sometimes I have to do things that don’t feel exactly fun to get greater satisfaction in my life.
I’m not feeling very good about writing right now, but there’s a sense of “yes, I’m getting shit done“, which in itself is kind of satisfying.
I wrote this article about the art of perverse masochism, how to enjoy negative feelings related to this, check it out.
3. Realize the harmful affirmations
There’s a clear difference between someone having to do something and wanting to do something.
You can probably imagine what goes in your head in both cases, in example the former can go like this “I have to do this AGAIN, this sucks balls sgsfga09ewjvw9jsvj“.
It’s been a while since I read the book “The Now Habits” by Neil Fiore, but this particular tip I struck to my mind:
It’s possible to manipulate your attitude towards the task by changing the self-talk related to doing the task. The most common way to do this is to change “I have to do this” or “I’m supposed to do this” into “I WANT TO DO THIS”.
It doesn’t matter even if it’s not true. You mileage may vary, but in my case, it brings some change of perspective and creates less resistance towards doing the task.
4. Be aware of fulfillment
Whether it’s writing or whatever it is that you do, it’s probable that there’s some kind of outcome you are seeking.
In my case, it’s finishing this article.
Motivation doesn’t necessarily have to come solely from the end goal, but rather from completing your current task.
I’m talking about a sense of fulfillment.
I don’t know about you, but in my case I get a great sense of fulfillment whenever I complete an article that I’ve worked hard for and that I can be proud of.
Being aware of this feeling gravitates me towards writing instead of procrastination.
Your trade can be, for example, creating art, videos, your business, whatever. There’s always something that you want to create, so bring to your mind the feeling after completing it.
5. Read inspiring material
Autobiographies can work exceptionally well, if you can find ones that are relevant to your situation.
In my case, I just started reading Richard Bransons Losing my virginity and I have to say that I’m pretty psyched about it.
Reading why and how inspiring people have done things for themselves, can really help us steer ourselves toward our own destination.
Don’t needlessly strain your willpower
There’s a curious thing going in our mind.
When we imagine a huge task that we have to achieve, there’s a depressing feeling like our willpower if getting drained only because we thought about doing something big.
There is a trick that you can use to fool your brain and that is the thought of taking only the first step.
The idea of doing is always worse than the doing itself.
Let’s say that I want to go jogging, but I’m tired.
My focus is only in the next step: putting my running clothes on, opening the door, going downstairs and taking a few steps. None of these steps require much willpower, but they are the steps to complete the whole objective, which is to run for x miles.
This is somewhat related to minihabits and how I started the habit of exercising daily without pushing myself to it. I simply focused on doing 1 push-up, 1 pull up and 1 ab crunch a day.
After a few days I realized that it’s all the same to do more, but my goal was always to do 1. After a few weeks it became automatic for me to do 3-4 sets of 10+ reps of each.
The habit just built up by itself, a great example of how momentum and habits build up.
Action through boredom
This isn’t exactly a way to bring motivation to your life, but I just wanted to put it out there.
Sometimes the degree of action you take may be dependant on the level of excitement that’s currently in your life.
I’ve realized that the less distracting things or even minorly “exciting” things that I have in my life, the more inclined I’m to work with things that I consider beneficial on the long-term.
In other words, you can use “boredom” as an advantage. You can either do this by shutting out nice, but ultimately distracting things outside your daily life.
The only question is, do you enjoy the excitement and distraction more than you value your ‘productive stuff’?
Are you just a fucking pussy?
A great question to ask yourself.
Sometimes when I’ve been focusing on something else in my life, I may fall into this particular mindset that can’t focus on “just doing it”.
I’m not saying that you are a pussy, but your mindset might have for one reason or another be like that. You may be thinking like this: “boo hoo, I don’t want to do this, I feel so tired :'(“, though this is more applicable when you are in a depressed state of mind.
I got reminded about Owen explaining himself imitating cartman and ridiculing himself whenever he realizes that he’s internally complaining about something.
When you condition yourself to ridicule yourself for thinking like such a pussy, it brings a much needed change of perspective. You are reminded not to take your subjective reality (the perception of your life) so seriously.
You don’t have to do anything fancy: just catch yourself coming from state of mind where you are only thinking excuses, laugh at yourself for being such a pussy and just do the thing.
It makes you feel less strained about doing whatever you are feeling resistance towards to.
It makes you “just do it”.
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