The Motivation Fairy is a Myth
Updated: Feb 25, 2021
Relieve yourself of decision indecision and get your stuff done.
My spirit animal is the sea turtle. I am admittedly slow. I have a slow way of thinking, a slow way of processing information, a slow way of decision making. I am very, very slow to act. Once I am in motion though, I can be very productive. However, convincing myself to take the first step is painful.
The Mystery of Motivation
Motivation is not something external that will magically happen to you. Motivation will not parachute out of the sky – like your diamond-crusted fairy godmother on a tactical mission – and put you on the treadmill. If there is something that you want, but you're waiting for motivation to strike, you're doing it wrong. If you’re waiting for Monday or the 1st of the month, you are setting yourself up to fail.
Motivation will not parachute out of the sky – like your diamond-crusted fairy godmother on a tactical mission – and put you on the treadmill. If there is something that you want, but you're waiting for motivation to strike, you're doing it wrong.
If you want to lose weight you have to do the action steps – the research, the meal planning, the grocery shopping, the food tracking, the exercise. You can have a great plan on paper, but if you're not working the plan IRL, you might be stuck in your head and waiting for the mythical motivation fairy.
Put it on Your Schedule
Make time for it. Prioritize the eff out of it. My friends who are very fit prioritize their workouts. Come Hell or high water they are getting to the gym.
When I am in a great rhythm with my healthy habits, it is because they are written out on my Morning Routine with a checkbox. Devotion ◻ Gratitude journal ◻ Workout ◻ Listen to podcasts ◻ Programs I was following ◻
Honestly, is there anything better than crossing off tasks on your to do list? Checkmark! Donezo! Next! Eff yeah! Go me!
Put Your Goals Where You Can See Them
I can have a mile-long list of good intentions, but I can also be a bit flaky. Meaning, if I set a goal in the morning there is a real possibility that I will completely forget about it by lunchtime. I can't hide things in my phone or tucked away in a planner. I’ll forget to look for my list. Out of sight, out of mind. I basically have to tattoo my intentions on my person. Post your goals on the fridge, on the bathroom mirror, on your car’s dashboard. Make yourself a vision board of what these goals look like. How will you feel when you achieve them?
Shine a Positive Light on It
If you're hesitant to tackle a task, you likely have wrapped the task in negativity and doubt (sometime the root of negativity and doubt is fear). Why don't you like it? Dig deep and then spin it around.
I hate changing litterboxes.
It takes too long.
It makes me feel bad that I didn't do it sooner. [relieve yourself of the guilt. Do it now!]
I don’t like squatting and lifting the litter
It takes too much energy.
Spin it around
I am fortunate to have such a sweet kitty.
He deserves a clean potty.
Clean is healthy for everybody.
It only takes a few minutes. [The idea of doing it is worse than actually doing it.]
Take the Thinking out of it
You don't use brain power to think about taking breaths or blinking – it's done for you. It's automated. When your body tells you that you have to tinkle you head for the bathroom – you don't try to talk yourself out of it. We say, “Excuse me, I have to relieve myself.” By doing the hard thing now, you are relieving yourself. You are making a decision that will influence your tomorrow.
Yes, that was a urination analogy. Did it work for you?
Do the dishes now so your morning begins with a clean sink. Run your dishwasher overnight and unload it first thing in the morning so it is empty and ready for the day ahead. Relieve yourself of some self-imposed anxiety.
Action begets action. Action fuels confidence.
Set a Timer
The next time you work on a task you hate, set a timer and see how long it truly takes.
Changing the litterboxes legit only takes 5 minutes. See I disproved my thought that is take too long. Kitty is happier. And it’s better done sooner rather than later if you know what I mean.
See? I relieved myself. I relieved myself of the cycle of procrastination, guilt, regret.
Make it Fun
My family calls me Captain No Fun. Fun is not my thing. I was born old. But, maybe fun is a motivator for you! How can you make your task less dreadful? Link the task to something you look forward to WHILE you're doing it – like lame household chores or exercise – listen to an awesome podcast while you’re washing dishes; watch Netflix while you’re on the treadmill; blast some music while you’re folding laundry. I walked on my treadmill this morning while watching Schitt’s Creek. I literally laughed for 30 minutes. Seriously, my husband had to check on me.
If you can’t watch or listen while you’re doing your dreadful task, reward yourself after it has been completed. After my workout, I’m going to cool down with [insert fun idea here].
Name Your Month
If I am going to be more intentional, I need a theme. An over-arching idea to drive me forward. Plus, I can decorate my planner with stickers that match my theme. My Lisa Frank nostalgia is strong, y’all. All my goals should point toward that monthly theme. Joyful January means I will master my daily routines because by doing so I will relieve myself of decision/indecision loop. When my brain is clear of clutter, I am happier, and I have more room for joy.
Nail Down Your WHY
I had a lightning-bolt breakthrough this week. My WHY wasn’t compelling enough. If your brain isn’t buying into your WHY, it’s going to be much harder to achieve your goal. I had to reevaluate.
Goal: Eliminate alcohol and then maintain my new alcohol-free life.
WHY: For my family. I want to set a good example for my kids.
It was the right why; the noble why; the socially acceptable why, but, sometimes you need to be selfish to make it stick. The lightning bolt that struck me said my is Freedom. Freedom to have fun, be present, pursue my goals and a live a fully-present, authentic life.
If you're flaking out and forgetting your priorities your WHY might not be strong enough.
Set Yourself Up for Success
Prepare yourself for the task. If your goal is to get your workout done in the morning, make sure you set out your clothes, locate your shoes and make sure your headphones are charged. This needs to be done the night before. I can turn any small hiccup into an excuse to delay or opt out of my workout. If I can’t find my shoes or my headphones are dead, then I am 150% more likely to bail.
Still not convinced? Become a scientist in your own life. Commit to your task for one week. How do you feel when it's done? Every night I feel too tired and lazy to wash my face. But, as I'm doing it, I notice how lovely it feels to rinse off the grime of the day. How refreshing it is to smooth on my night cream. How this simple act changes my attitude and helps me transition toward a calm mind that is ready for rest.
Ask why. Why do you think it’s too much effort to wash your face before bed? Do you think you don't deserve a clean face and clear skin?
A body in motion stays in motion. It’s science. And, don’t fuck with your momentum. Also, science.
Get it done, feel awesome and reward yourself! Consistency is super important, when you still get it done, even when you really don’t want to, you are solidifying your habit.