Motivation, a powerful yet often difficult to obtain phenomenon.
In a consumer culture, where endless marketing can make it seem like there is a solution to all our problems by spending money, finding real intrinsic motivation is hard.
That’s why quick weight loss pills and other supplements sell so well.
They give the illusion that we don’t really have to change anything. That we can ‘fix’ our problem with an external product all the time.
But it doesn’t work like that.
Often it’s akin to grabbing a McDonald’s takeaway when we feel hungry.
Whilst its convenient and might temporarily satisfy our feeling of hunger, are we really getting what we need? Or are we getting a fake and insidious product that does more damage than good?
I’m sure the answer is pretty obvious. But many of us are aware of this and yet still make the same convenient and unhealthy choices.
So how can we get intrinsically motivated to make lasting change?
Find Your Why
No human is always 100% motivated, 100% of the time. We all have highs and lows.
But the key that keeps some of us consistent is our intrinsic motivation.
Our deep rooted reason for doing it. Our why.
Those that have a strong why, can bear any how.Friedrich Nietzsche
This keeps us going at times when we really don’t feel like doing anything.
And consistency is absolutely key in achieving any goal.
A good way to find our deep reason why is to go beyond our surface level reason for wanting to do something and ask ourselves why multiple times.
At some point, the pain of inaction becomes greater than the pain of action
One of the most influential books I have read is the ‘War of Art’ by Steven Pressfield.
In fact, without reading his book I doubt I would have quit my secure job to start up my own business.
He has a phrase that has resonated with me since I read it:
‘At some point, the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it’.Steven Pressfield
To put that into the context of physical activity, it means that at some point it will be less painful for your mind-body-spirit to make time for movement and experience a bit of physical discomfort, than it is to stay sedentary sitting on the couch all the time.
Sitting on the couch might be less painful now, but doing it too much will likely lead to pain in many forms from chronic back pain to soul crushing emptiness.
So not moving our body will likely be more painful over the course of our life than moving our body!
So why do we need to be motivated to do something that overall will likely be less painful?
Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change
Conventional health and fitness relies on getting mentally stronger by pushing through pain and having discipline.
This is okay for the army and professional sports.
But pain and discipline requires willpower, and willpower is always finite. Unless you are a Jedi master or a Spartan warrior, willpower usually runs out sooner rather than later.
So what if we changed the way we look at living a healthy lifestyle?
What if eating healthy foods wasn’t restrictive, but a gift to our mind, body and soul?
What if exercise didn’t feel like a punishment, but a service to our body that has been designed to keep us alive over many years of evolution?
What if relaxing and turning off distractions was a present for our heart and intuition to connect with ourselves?
Motivation is the RESULT of action
It’s funny, but I often feel more motivated after doing something, not before.
Motivation, just like confidence and getting good at something, comes by doing the thing.
Motivation is the result of action.
Do the thing and you will have the power.
But getting started is the hardest part.
So it’s vitally important to start with something easy.
Something that we are 10/10 confident in doing whether it’s a five minute walk a day or adding one vegetable to our dinner.
We will likely struggle away and fail to being with and that’s okay. It’s part of the process.
Failure is progress if we don’t give up.
The incredible power of scheduling
Schedule in just five minutes of a healthy habit a day. Write it in your diary. Write it on the fridge! But pick a time every day for a week and commit to it.
If you miss a day, get straight back on it the next day.
If you don’t schedule it in, you’ll usually end up thinking ‘I hope I find the time and willpower to exercise today’.
Of course, it never happens.
You’re always waiting to feel motivated and inspired, but you never do.
Science suggests that just writing down and scheduling what you will do means you are more likely to actually do it.
Not only that, but if you have a set time when you do it each day it becomes a habit. When it becomes a habit, you start doing it on autopilot without realising it.
This makes it easy to do.
Just get started
By finding our deep why, changing the way we look at things and scheduling something easy to do in our diary, we can get started.
It doesn’t matter how small we start.
Because motivation is the RESULT of getting started.
Good luck 🙂