The Myth of Motivation: How to Get Unstuck

We often fall into the trap of thinking that we must have motivation to do something. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

I am sure you’ve been in situations where your mind wanted to accomplish something, but your body said, “Nope, not today.” It’s almost like you are fighting yourself for the very thing you said you wanted to get done.

Many of us procrastinate until we don’t want to think about the task anymore or unconsciously find something else to do to keep our minds preoccupied.

American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson is famously quoted as saying, “Do the thing, and you will get the energy to do the thing.” In translation, even if you don’t feel like writing or working out now, once you open your laptop and start typing or tie up your running shoes and walk out the door, the energy you are seeking to get it done will come after you start.

Science is now proving Emerson’s assertions even though it was made in 1800.

Here’s the thing about motivation

Scientific research has long associated dopamine with pleasure. However, recent research shows that the neurotransmitter is responsible for motivation.

We wait to feel excited or motivated before we start any new job or habits. Waiting for dopamine to release into our brains, we wait patiently hoping that it will give us the drive to exercise or write a new book. It rarely happens, as we know.

Here’s why: motivation comes after starting a task, not before. So, if you desire to start writing a book or hitting the gym after work – try focusing on what David Allen calls the “2-minute rule.”

The rule states, “When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do.”

This is how it works. Focus on the first 20 seconds of your task if you’re looking for a way to build a habit. Once you have done that, your motivation will increase!

You don’t have to open the book every page. If you want to go running after work, focus only on lacing your shoes and getting out of the way. These two examples will demonstrate that it is easy to get on top of your task once you have started.

The strategy’s goal is to simply start. Once your brain starts working, you will find the motivation and energy you were looking for before starting.

James Clear (author of Atomic Habits) stated that the best friction to accomplish any new task is at the beginning. But when you set a goal just to lace up your shoes and walk out the door or just open your laptop and start writing – you make it so easy it’s difficult for you to say no.

“Don’t be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart.” ― Roy T. Bennett

Clear your mind about what you want to do

A clear plan of when and how you will complete the task is another way to motivate yourself. You can schedule the task for your day.

It has helped me to write and read every day. In fact, my wife and I have this saying that “if it’s not on the calendar, then it’s not getting done.” So even when we hold family meetings, we pop calendar invites on each other’s calendars because we know how busy life can be.

We have way too many distractions and demands to “hope” you’ll find the time to complete a task. Remember this: It’s not getting done if you don’t tell your brain when.

Don’t wait around and hope you can find the time. Instead, schedule it. This tells your brain that you won’t do anything else but this task.

Motivation: The Truth You Need to Know

You’ll find that many people never start a task or pursue a goal because they “never got around to doing it.” But if you schedule your tasks daily – it almost puts your willpower and motivation on auto-pilot regardless if you “feel like doing it or not.”

For example, if you desire to hit the gym every other day after work between 5-6 pm – overtime through each gym session, you will begin to create a routine that creates less friction. And since we are creatures of habit – you will continue to deepen the corresponding neural pathway in your brain, making it easier for this new behavior to stick.

It’s almost like your body will pull you toward the newly established habit because you are consciously ingraining a learned behavior.

Many of us allow circumstances and emotions to unconsciously influence the tasks we hope to accomplish, but if you have a consistent routine – your body will naturally fall into line, making it easier on yourself. 

In the context of human evolution, motivation means more than having sufficient energy for a job. Instead, it’s more about understanding how your body develops its behaviors and actions. You can better guide your life towards the goals you desire once you understand how your body functions now.

The original article The Myth of Motivation: How to Get Out of Stale appeared first on Addicted 2 Success.

The article The Myth of Motivation: How to Get Unstuck originally appeared on Addicted 2 Success.

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