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The Counterintuitive Motivation Hack That You Are Missing

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Humans are always looking for that spark to get us moving when we’re stuck. We know what we need to do but we are fighting ourselves to actually do it. Plus, it’s an easy out not to follow through on our commitments to ourselves, “I’m just not motivated.”

We may check Instagram for some workout videos, Youtube for motivational speeches, or read an article much like this to get us going. It may work occasionally, but most of the time, you’ll just be staring at your screen instead and pushing it off for another day.

The problem with relying on motivation to get moving is this feeling is fleeting and inconsistent. It’s great when we feel aligned with our goals, and we can harness it, but if we don’t have it, it’s not very useful to wait until that feeling returns as it can be quite a while.

There are two parts to solving this motivation problem:

1. Addressing what is getting in the way

When we’re feeling apathetic or unmotivated, there’s usually something else happening in our lives that influences the way we think about achieving our goals. It may be that we’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or anxious, and we’re spending a lot of time trying to put out fires and allowing other tasks to take priority. 

The practice of meditation, mindfulness, and breathwork is essential to be in a better mindset to deal with these challenges more effectively. This mindset allows us to save our energy and be in a calculated, calm state of mind. 

A lack of motivation can be disguised as a deeper-rooted emotional pain such as shame, guilt, anger, or resentment. When we are feeling emotionally heavy and burdened, it makes every area of our life more difficult. 

Let’s examine these feelings that we have about ourselves and the world and their stories. We can identify what’s true or merely a fabrication. The more truth and clarity we have, the lighter and clearer we feel, and this is the energy of motivation and drive.

Being too focused on the outcome takes away from our intention to give to the process. We tend to get too far ahead of ourselves and attach ourselves to the result, and when we don’t see the feedback we want, our motivation drops. 

A more useful approach is to follow the day-by-day strategies required to obtain the end goal. This approach allows us to give more presence and awareness to what we can influence daily, making it more manageable and more straightforward. Success is not a linear journey; there are ups and downs, but we will get there faster and easier if we stick to the process.

“I hate every minute of training. But I said, don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” – Muhammad Ali

To recap, here is what impacts our motivation:

  • Problems and challenges show up in our lives that are taking away our time, energy, and drive. 
  • A heavy emotional state and the story we tell ourselves about it, which keeps us stuck.
  • Focused too much on the outcome instead of the process required to achieve it. 

The second part to solving this motivational problem is not needing motivation at all but harnessing a much more powerful strategy instead.

2. Creating momentum

The more action we take, the more momentum we have, the more momentum we have, the more motivated we are. It does require us to overcome the initial resistance of extending ourselves and breaking out of our comfort zone. Still, the more often we do it, the easier this process becomes.

The positive feedback loops power is that positive action leads to positive results, which leads to positive feelings (motivation). The snowball effect builds and picks up speed, and once it starts, it’s hard to slow down.

What can break the momentum and set us back is looking at the wrong things. The human brain is wired for negativity, so we tend to focus, and energy on something that we perceive isn’t going well. We can lose sight of the small wins and victories along the way. 

Momentum manifests itself by journaling and self-reflective based work. This process creates stronger associations with the changes and steps we are taking, even if it hasn’t manifested itself in a tangible result yet. Consistently creating momentum takes us back to detaching ourselves from the outcome, and instead focusing on the process.

“Motivated people always find a way. Unmotivated people will always find a way not to.” – Ed Latimore

Striving for perfection or the “all or nothing” mentality is one of the most ineffective ways to create momentum. What typically happens is that once we “mess up,” we tell ourselves we will start over next week or another arbitrary date. This cycle of being consistently inconsistent continues again and again.

We need to understand that we will screw up from time to time, things will happen beyond our control, and we have to pick up where we left off. This perspective will ultimately make achieving our goals faster, easier, and more enjoyable.

We can create more motivation and momentum in our lives through these practical strategies. Still, it’s also important to understand that the continued practice of commitment to our goals and desires needs to take precedent over how we may currently feel at the moment. 

Galen Lundin is a high performance wellness strategist who partners with clients in an insightful, intuitive and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. You can visit him at www.galenlundin.com or on LinkedIn.

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