Of course, Cheryl – I hear you say – but it is not that easy is it? Well, as a good friend of mine, Carole Fossey, likes to say “Everything Before But is Bullshit”. Which, is of course, true. Think of these statements …
‘I meant to do my homework but (the dog ate it/it got flushed down the loo/I left my book at school)’
‘I would love to go out with you for dinner on Friday but (I’m washing my hair/walking my dog)’
‘Of course, motivation is easy Cheryl but (I can’t be arsed/don’t really believe it is/it’s too much like hard work)’
You see, most people have the word motivation wrong. They look at people they think are ‘highly motivated’ and see them doing so much stuff, working really hard or achieving great things and think to themselves ‘I’d love to do that but I never could, because I am not motivated enough’. They think motivation is something that some people have more of than others.
Well, that is kind of true and kind of not true.
Everybody has days when they don’t want to get out of bed. Even the ‘most motivated’ person. And that’s where the problem lies. You might look at someone else and beat yourself up because you are not as motivated as them. Well – you’re wrong. You are just as motivated or unmotivated as them. Motivation is not the power to do things you don’t want to do. That’s discipline.
The Dictionary Definition Of ‘Motivation’
If you look at the dictionary definition of ‘motivation’ it means the reason you do something. Everybody has a reason for everything they do. So, if you don’t want to get out of bed in the morning, that will be the reason that you keep hitting the snooze button. You are motivated – to hit the snooze button. You might not feel motivated to do your homework – which means you are motivated NOT to do it, but you are fully motivated to go out for dinner with your mates.
The thing is, no-one on earth is motivated to do something they don’t want to do. So maybe you should be asking yourself what you DO want to do. As we all spend time doing stuff we THINK we SHOULD be doing – which is generally things we think OTHER people want us to do, and will like us for doing. But the problem with doing things for that reason, is that it never works out. Well – rarely. If you get much joy from doing things for other people and if you get lots of positive feedback from doing that, that might keep you going in the short term.
Ultimately though, the only things you are going to feel motivated to do long term, are the things that YOU want to do.
You are lucky if you know at a young age what you want to do – we touched on that in last week’s blog (read it here). However, if you don’t yet know then you will have to do things you don’t want to do until you figure it out. Or maybe you HAVE figured it out. Well, you still might have to do things you don’t want to do on the journey to being able to do exactly what you want to do. For example – if you want to be a doctor in the UK it can take 10 years’ study to become a GP and 14-16 years to become a surgeon.
I am guessing there are a few people who didn’t jump for joy at the thought of 16 years’ study to become a brain surgeon for example. But they had to do it. The long-term goal, outweighed the short term pain.
But that doesn’t mean they spent 16 years being motivated. I would hazard a guess there was a lot of that time they felt depressed, stressed, tired, fed up and anything but motivated.
So – I want you to understand that motivation is not some magic from on high, sprinkled onto the heads of some lucky people while the rest of us commoners just ‘can’t do stuff’ cos we are ‘not motivated’. That’s just crap and the wrong way of thinking about it.
Your internal motivation is always there. The reasons why you do things is always there. The reasons why you DON’T do things – is always there. You are not lacking in motivation for the things you want to do. That is not the reason you are not doing it.
So, what is it that’s missing then?
Well, it could be confidence. It could be knowledge. It could be support. It could be you haven’t figured out yet what you really want to do. It sure as heck isn’t that you are not motivated.
What you may need is a system – something that gets you doing the stuff you are not motivated to do. And just because you do it, doesn’t mean you are motivated to do it. It just means you do it anyway. It is like getting up when you feel like staying in bed. If you think about how you are feeling (bad) and that you don’t want to get up, guess what? Your body listens. Your subconscious listens. It hears ‘don’t want to get up’ and it helps you by making your hand hit the snooze button.
If on the other hand, it hears ‘I’m getting up in 5,4,3,2,1’ – you are much more likely to find yourself throwing the covers off and getting up. Try it. Say it out loud. And if it doesn’t work the first time (and I would be surprised) say it again and again until you get up.
You see, often we overthink the stuff we don’t want to do, which nicely distracts us from actually doing it. Hence the headline above – Get Up, Dress Up, Show Up & Never Give Up! I am not sure who originally said this as it has been attributed to many people from Zig Ziglar, to my mate Neil, but it works because it becomes a mantra, a habit and then it is easy. Anything that becomes a habit doesn’t need too much thinking about. Which is good, because – as we have discussed – thinking too much about stuff you are not motivated to do generally leads to you not doing the stuff.
But you know what? You don’t have to figure this stuff out on your own, and you don’t have to do it alone. Why not come and meet some of our WHYS women and men in the Live, Love, Laugh Lounge or the Find Your WHY Facebook Page, where you can get the support and clarity you need to make a change with a bunch of ‘motivated’ people.
And remember, motivated or not, to Live, Love and Laugh every day and continue to be you in your own unique way!