What Is Motivation And How To Got Out Of The MOTIVATION TRAP
To have no motivation is impossible unless you are dead of course.
Every action you take requires motivation – you are always intending to achieve something.
For instance, when you eat an apple, give a presentation, watch TV, put off going to the gym, ask for directions, there is always some underlying purpose or intention to your actions.
There is always some motivation whether you realize it or not.
In fact, often we have multiple motivations that you aren’t even consciously aware of that influence your behavior.
WHAT IS MOTIVATION?
Motivation is simply the desire to do something. That is it!
It is not some magic that gives you power to do something.
It is our DESIRE to do it.
My client, Mary decided her values for this year were to move her body, challenge herself and have more fun.
She decided trying a pole dancing class would give her all three.
Here is a conversation we had after she admitted she signed up but was not going:
Wendy: What is stopping you from going?
Mary: I am tired after work and so I don’t feel motivated.
Wendy: What are you doing instead?
Mary: Coming home and crashing on the couch and watching TV
Wendy: So your desire to crash and watch TV is more important than you desire to go to your pole dancing class?
Mary: I want to go, but I’m too tired.
Wendy: The first thing to remember is that our actions serve a purpose. So what purpose is served by crashing instead of going?
Mary: It’s relaxing and calming I guess.
Wendy: So in the short term it makes you feel good and helps you avoid the discomfort of doing something challenging?
Wendy: But in the long term, it is not helping you live the life you really want of moving more, challenging yourself and having fun.
Wendy: So it is not that you don’t have the motivation, it is that your motivation is to avoid discomfort and do what feels good in the short term.
Mary: [pause] I hadn’t thought about it like that, but I can see that.
Wendy: So in my experience, when someone says they don’t have the motivation, they really mean they have a desire to do it, but only if they feel good, energized, positive and in the mood. If they feel exhausted, lazy, stressed, insecure or fearful then they are not going to do it.
Mary: [long pause] I have to admit that has been true.
MOTIVATION VS COMMITMENT
Mary thought that to be motivated she needed to feel “good” about doing it.
If she did not feel good than she was “unmotivated.”
If you wait to be motivated by a feeling you will regularly get stuck.
Because you get in the trap of waiting for the “right” feelings before you take action.
THE WAITING PHASE
Instead of being stuck in the waiting phase, you can access your competing desires and recognize what is motivating your choices.
Specifically you want to distinguish between the desire to avoid discomfort and the desire to act on your values.
The avoidance driven life will pull you in a completely different direction than a values driven life.
You can’t avoid the desire to want comfort, but you can choose to act on your values instead.
To do this you have to shift from “motivation” to “commitment.”
For example I went through my life coach training and then did what it took to create a busy practice.
1000’s of other people go through coach training, but very few actually practice.
Lack of motivation is NOT the problem – they all wanted to coach, but were afraid they might not know enough or were not sure how to get clients, etc
What I think was missing was the commitment: willingness to do what is required.
ACTIONS FIRST FEELINGS LATER
What stops most people is that they are waiting for the day they will feel confident before they take action.
Life does not work that way…
You take the actions first and then the feelings of motivation and confidence come later.
What if I threatened your life unless you rode an unicycle?
You would do it, but not very well at first. You’d make a lot of mistakes or you might never get it, but you certainly would try!
What if I just said feel confident while you are learning to ride a unicycle? Could you do it?
That is why taking action, before feelings is so important.
MAGICAL DISCIPLINE AND WILLPOWER
Our minds also tell us, “I’ve got no discipline” or “I’ve got no willpower.”
We think if we have the “magic” of discipline and willpower we will be able to get things done.
There is no magic, hormone or part of the brain called discipline or willpower.
They are just descriptive words describing committed action.
Discipline and willpower mean you are consistently committing to acting on your values and doing what is required to achieve your goals – even when you don’t feel like it!
WHAT DOES IT TAKE?
Have you clarified what desires are driving your behaviors?
Are your desires taking you in the direction you want your life to go?
If not set up a complimentary clarity session by clicking the graphic below and lets figure out what you need to take your life in the right direction.