Motivation is a drive or need that compels us to take action.
It comes about when we desire a change in ourselves or the environment.
Many things can motivate us. Sometimes there is a deep desire to accomplish something, and we dig right in. And, sometimes, we want something but still can’t make ourselves get started. In The War of Art, Steven Pressfield writes,
“At some point, the pain of not doing it becomes greater than the pain of doing it.”
Why? Because after procrastinating for weeks and months, we are faced with a situation that we can no longer ignore.
For example, you feel some motivation to change your diet, eat healthier, and lose weight, but it’s so easy to push it off a little longer. Until you get the results back from a blood test that shows the markers are getting worse, close to the danger zone. Suddenly, you find your motivation, and you step into action. The pain of not taking action and its potential consequences (serious health issues) is greater than the pain of taking action (changing your diet and exercising).
How to get motivated and take action (when you may not want to)
You should not wait for a significant event to take action. Those events may come too late and too far between, There is an easier way to get motivated. You need to take control and that comes by setting a plan and a schedule..
When you recognize the need to do something, this will create your motivation. Let’s go further with the example of healthy eating. Define what healthy eating is, what type of food you want to eat, what recipes you can find to make the food appealing, and what food to buy.
With this in place, go to the organic food store, purchase the supplies, and schedule the meals you’ll eat for the next week. When you follow and stick with that plan, you’ll have a process that takes willpower out of the equation and makes it automatic because you know exactly what you need to do.
The same applies to your business. Set a schedule for the work that needs to be done and follow it. Let’s say you must follow up with potential clients or write a marketing piece each week. Your plan is to respond to emails after lunch and start creating a marketing piece Tuesday AM with your first sip of coffee, which is the trigger you establish to take action.
Once you take the schedule seriously, the motivation to continue will follow. You don’t have to depend on it to strike you. The task is a routine you follow every day.
Twyla Tharp stresses this in her book, The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life.
“Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is a result of good work habits.”Creativity is not just for artists or writers, but for business people too, and works for both professional and personal life. “The routine is as much a part of the creative process as the lightning bolt of inspiration, maybe more. And this routine is available to everyone.”
How to stay motivated
We laid out the strategies above to get motivated when you don’t want to start. But how do you stay motivated?
Don’t ignore the importance of inspiration and results. It’s a big part of having motivation long term.
The best motivation comes when you have success, even small successes will inspire you to keep going and do more. You lose a pound or two, and you’re inspired, your new business sells its first product, and you continue to take action to get more clients, place more ads, and write more content.
Now, the question is how to get to the place where success begins to happen?
Simply, you have to start. That requires a positive mindset and doing the work.
Thoughts and actions have to meet. All the thinking and planning must intersect with action, or nothing will happen. You need grit and perseverance to do what matters today, the next day, and the next until you see results.
You envision the results of a trimmer and toned body or the income from the clients that like what you offer and buy your product. You feel energized but a little overwhelmed.
Here’s the secret, start in small steps. Your goal may be sizable, and you want to reach it quickly, but you may soon realize that it’s a bigger task than you are capable of at this time – you may become discouraged and lose motivation. Scale back to what seems doable where you are now. Set a more reasonable time frame and increase it as you become capable.
If you have no customers, developing a following will take some time. If you’re new to exercising, plan on consistency to see results.
This happened to me recently. I was inspired to clean out all my closets and drawers and get rid of half the clothes that I never wore anyway. On Saturday morning, the task seemed so daunting I couldn’t get started. At the end of the weekend, I had done nothing. I devised a new plan to start with one drawer and as I see results to work through the rest over several weeks or longer.
Don’t give up, re-evaluate your goals and the plan to reach them. Modify it so that it works for you.
In essence, motivation is the catalyst for change to take place. We get stuck because we can’t get ourselves to do what needs to be done, so we do nothing. Above, there are strategies to start a habit of getting motivated and steps to stay motivated.
A Special Offer
My e-course, The Idea Finder Course. is now available for free. There are 10 lessons about finding your passion, your ideal life, and the right niche to start your business. Instead, of working for someone, learn to provide for yourself, and not depend on a job.
Freedom and Independence have always been important to me and I want you to have them. One way is to get control of your income, and wealth, and determine how you live your life.
It’s now FREE with no strings attached.
The Solo Entrepreneur’s Guide
To make sure you get access to our monthly newsletter, subscribe to The Solo Entrepreneur’s Guide.
The valuable content in that publication will help you transition from the job world and create a self-reliant income, live life your way, and achieve wealth, freedom, and independence.