Lately, I’ve received a number of emails from blog readers and radio listeners, asking how they can fix their lack of motivation.
In these emails, the theme I’ve seen has been a flavor of the following two phrases:
- “I’m just not motivated.”
- “I’m not motivated enough.”
These phrases, while common, are clear indications that most of us don’t understand what motivation is, and what it really means.
Let’s start with the definition of motivation:
- the act or an instance of motivating, or providing with a reason to act in a certain way
- the state or condition of being motivated or having a strong reason to act or accomplish something
Now that we have the definition of motivation to assist in providing us clarity, here are 5 reasons motivation is typically misunderstood.
1. Motivation Doesn’t Last
Most of us understand the logic in the statement ‘motivation doesn’t last‘, however we often forget this truth.
One of my favorite quotes is by Zig Ziglar when he said,
“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”
This is so important to remember!
I can recall attending seminars years ago; getting motivated, buying a self-help product and never using the product. Later, I would sometimes get mad a my motivator for influencing me to buy a product I didn’t use and waste my money. I didn’t realize that it was my job to stay motivated and get into action, so I could see my plans through to completion.
2. Motivation Doesn’t Magically Eliminate Bad Habits
So you’re all fired up and motivated!
Now get into action!
Oh…you’re gonna do it tomorrow?
I’ll tell you why…
It’s because you have a bad habit of procrastinating, and motivation won’t fix that!
Here are some other bad habits that nullify motivation:
- Busyness/Busy minded
- The need to be entertained
- Analysis Paralysis
…and the list goes on!
There are a number of ways to address these bad habits, but the one way that has worked wonders for me is ontological coaching.
3. Motivation Is A Choice!
Feeling down on your luck?
Has life dealt you a poor hand?
Nothing going your way?
All of those are great reasons to be unmotivated. Right?
After all, nobody understands your plight.
There are plenty of people who have it tougher than you!
I once told a friend that if he could take a deep breath and then flex the muscles in his back, chest, stomach and arms as he stood up and bent over to touch his toes, it was a good day and he was blessed! If you can do the above, you have nothing to complain about, you’re blessed too!
So stop the pity party and the “Woe Is Me” blues song.
Getting motivated is a choice!
If you choose self pity…fine!
Just know that feeling like the world took a dump on you is the payoff.
Be responsible for what you choose. If you don’t choose motivation, don’t complain about the results of your choice!
4. Motivation Doesn’t Create Action
Peter Bregman summed this up nicely in an article he wrote for the Havard Business Review titled, “Your Problem Isn’t Motivation.”
In this article he states, “Motivation is in the mind; follow-through is in the practice. Motivation is conceptual; follow-through is practical.”
Another way to say this is; motivation creates the fertile soil for your seeds of action to be planted, but you’ve still got to go plant the seeds.
Take action when you’re motivated!
We’ve already discussed that motivation doesn’t last, so the best time to get started is when you’re motivated!
5. Motivation Is An Energizing Force
Can you remember the last time you were really motivated?
What did it feel like?
For me, motivation feels like a surge of energy. This feeling seems to create an endless array of possibilities!
This can be intoxicating.
It takes a certain level of self-discipline and wisdom to not only enjoy that motivational high, but also use that energizing force to get into action.
A great way to start harnessing this energy in the future is as follows:
- Create a list of all the ideas and possibilities you see as a result of being motivated.
- Write down the actions you will take to make those possibilities a reality.
- Set deadlines and then get started immediately.
Remember, in the future, it’s better to leave that motivational seminar to get into action, than to sit through the whole ordeal only to go back home and continue doing the same old things.
What are some other ways motivation has been misunderstood? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Please share and be sure to stay inspired; it’s a lifestyle choice!
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