The age-old axiom “You have to get motivated to do the work!” Will not go away.
The way that parents, peers, and most of us view motivation implies that it’s a cause-and-effect game of tag where motivation is a feeling.
You feel motivated, therefore, you do the thing.
So, before you do “the thing” you have to get motivated.
Ok, one question.
Where did your motivation come from? What did you do to trigger your motivation? It’s the “What came before the big bang” question where the big bang is motivation and the universe is “the thing”
???->Motivation->Doing The Thing
Replace “Big Bang” with your choice of creation story at this time.
So why does this idea not work and what can we do about it?
It starts with getting off the feeling train.
Feelings are temporary, and no one can keep a feeling going indefinitely. Feelings have a start and an end. They are an internal response to stimuli outside of us, not the stimuli inside of us to that the world must bow to. Do not treat them that way.
Feelings are important. I don’t doubt that we feel energized or excited about “the thing”.
You feel the energy, but the energy of a raging river is useless if the dam never opens. Motivation is something closer to the dam.
Motivation is the controller at the damn who opens the gates.
Motivation lets the river rage.
Say that motivation is not something you feel, but a state. Motivation is your ability to prioritize and commit to “the thing”.
That comes from understanding the value of committing to it and doing it.
I’m motivated to eat 2 handfuls of veggies with my meals. I’m not necessarily excited about eating them. But I understand how they make me feel like a completely different (and vibrant) person than when I don’t eat them.
I’m motivated to schedule an appointment with a member of the gym (who is also an orthopedic surgeon) to check out my knees. I wasn’t excited to face the chance of bad news. I knew the value of pro-active self-care. Good news everyone, after 8 years of CrossFit, my knees are healthier than they were in high-school sports.
If you understand the value of receiving guidance with food and accountability with workouts, the motivation is there. If the energy isn’t there yet, don’t worry, it will come.
Feeling Energized->Understanding->Motivation Action->Raging River