What To Do If You're Unmotivated | Motivation Tip #2
Apr 21, 2022
Generally, the job of motivation is to get us to start doing something. This works well, provided we don’t expect to be motivated all the time, or believe that we need to be motivated, in order to take action.
You don't need to be motivated to take action.
Motivation tends to be a little bit like sugar in the sense that it gives you a very quick sort of a burst of energy and a desire to act.
What we need is a mindset or quality of tenacity, determination or persistence.
Believing we need to be motivated in order to continue taking action, and that we need to constantly pump ourselves up with motivation, is like using only sugar for our source of energy.
Sugar gives us a fast jolt of energy, and then we can often crash afterwards. And so if you need more energy some people will then eat more sugar. This is very much an up and down kind of a experience. It’s generally healthier for our system to find foods that give us an extended kind of an energy that’s smooth and even, and lasts over a period of time. Eating sugar over and over is also problematic for our system.
Motivation tends to be a little bit like sugar in the sense that it gives you a very quick sort of a burst of energy and a desire to act, but then once it wanes so does our interest in acting.
You may have noticed yourself, or heard about people who open a book when they're really motivated, and then read the first 10 pages or so, and don’t finish the rest of the book. Or they're really motivated to start exercising, but then it doesn't last. The pattern here is needing to be motivated in order to take action. This cause and effect relationship between our states and our actions is worth challenging, so we can develop choice in how we respond and act in the context of whatever states/moods show up in our experience. Using only motivation to keep us going is often problematic.
There is a solution for this, and it is really just feedback to let us know or that we aren’t using the best mindset or state to help us fulfil our long term goals.
Sugar isn't designed to provide that long-term lasting energy, neither is motivation. It is generally useful to get us to start things. From there what we need is a mindset or quality of tenacity, determination or persistence.
These resources keep us going over a period of time; weeks, months, years or decades - until we have achieved our goals. They keep us in the game, and so often my recommendation when someone asks for motivation, is that accessing qualities of tenacity, determination or persistence is more effective, and helps us navigate through both inner and outer obstacles.