I’m the worst person when it comes to staying motivated. I can get really pumped about something and stick with it for maybe a week before giving up because I lack the motivation to continue—no matter how important the subject is to me.
Are you like me? If so, you’re not alone. Most people usually only get things done when they’re motivated to do so. They always have a driving force pushing them to complete projects, reach goals and work in general.
Why I think the concept of motivation is ridiculous
One day, I was scrolling through my Twitter feed, like every other day, when something caught my eye. It was just a picture shared by a fitness account, but it held a powerful message. It was just words and talked about how motivation is useless. Here’s how my perception of motivation changed from that one image, and why you should see it differently, too.
The problems with motivation
Before seeing that one picture that changed everything, I had thought that motivation was the driving factor in everything, and if I didn’t feel motivated, I must not have wanted it enough. This is why that’s the wrong mentality to have.
1. Motivation is unreliable
Motivation really isn’t a steady emotion. It comes and goes as it pleases and never really sticks around when you need it most. It’s like a friend who’s only there for you during the good times and ditches you the second you need them most.
Motivation is unreliable this way. Sure, it may come around, but it’s hardly ever at the time when you need it most. Where is it at 5am when you need to work out? Where is it at the end of a long day when you still have so much to do? You won’t always have it pushing you when you want to complete tasks and move forward in your life.
2. Motivation is fleeting
Just as it is unreliable, it’s fleeting. It comes one minute and is gone the next, and really takes a toll on your ability to continue doing something—even if you’re right in the middle of it—when you no longer have motivation to do what needs to be done.
Motivation is tricky this way because, initially, you can have all the motivation in the world to get something done. However, it never stays around long enough for you to complete the task at hand. That’s where this system is flawed.
3. Motivation isn’t always there, but your goals are
Another problem with motivation is that, just as I mentioned above, it goes away. The one thing that is always steady, however, are your goals. Motivation doesn’t stay with you until they’re accomplished.
Why you should ditch motivation and do it all yourself
After that day, motivation took on a completely different meaning for me. I chose to focus on these reasons to pursue my goals.
1. Persevering with no motivation makes you stronger
Crawling out of bed at 5am on a Monday morning, groggily slipping on your workout attire and actually making it to the gym when you have zero motivation to do so is what makes you a stronger person.
Getting up and working out is easy when you have the motivation to do so. Easy doesn’t make you stronger. It’s pushing for your goals, even when you have no motivation to help you, that will make you a tougher individual.
2. Habits and routines are more reliable than motivation
Forget motivation—what about habits? I think that people forget how strong the driving force of a habit can be. Why do you brush your teeth every morning? It’s probably not because you want a healthy mouth.
Nope. It’s because you’ve been doing so since you were old enough to hold a tooth brush. It’s a habit. One of the side effects is that you have a healthy and clean mouth. Making habits is more reliable than hoping that your motivation will come around.
Waking up at 5am every weekday and going to the gym will become easy when it’s a part of your daily routine. You’ll get used to waking up at that time every day. You’ll get used to working out every morning at the same time. Making something routine makes it reliable.
3. Forcing yourself to do something when you don’t want to drives your success
The ironic thing about motivation is that it’s not always there when you want to succeed, but the second you have some success, you have more motivation. It’s like a never-ending circle, but motivation isn’t the driving force of that success.
When you force yourself to get up and do something—especially when it’s the last thing you want to do—true success is made. You’ll soon realize that doing something when you have no motivation to do it will get you more success than waiting around for that pesky motivation to kick in.
I will never be able to look at the concept of motivation the same way again. If you’re struggling to feel accomplished and succeed in your goals, this is the powerful motivational message you need to hear.