In my last post, I talked about how to get motivated – fast. I also talked about how motivation is a choice that YOU have to make.
But let’s be honest making that choice daily can be tough.
And the only question I get asked more than “how do I get motivated” is this…
“How do I STAY motivated?”
*It’s important to note here that when I say motivation, I mean finding the COURAGE and the drive to do the tough stuff – the things that often feel risky and uncomfortable.
Because most of the people I work with ARE what we generally consider motivated – they get themselves out of bed every morning, they work hard, they take care of others (often before themselves) – and they keep doing it all, day in and day out.
THAT takes drive. It takes persistence. It takes some degree of motivation.
Unfortunately, this motivation can feel misdirected to monotonous things that leave us feeling empty. And our whole sense of motivation can begin to wane when the satisfaction and excitement dissipates, when we don’t feel supported, when things don’t go as planned, or when things get tough.
And then people get on the phone with me and they want to know “Why can’t I stay motivated to do the things I know I need to do?”
I’m guilty of this, too…
In fact, just last week I was faced with a lack of “motivation” to write a blog post for all of you beautiful people.
I enjoy writing. I enjoy creating content that helps people. And I enjoy showcasing my knowledge and expertise. So why did I feel unmotivated to proceed?
I was scared. And I was uncomfortable.
Writing a blog meant doing a Facebook Live on the topic, since that’s the commitment I made to myself and my business. And getting on Live video is a bit of a “cross your fingers and leap” moment for me…
So I procrastinated. I found other things to do instead. And I kept thinking to myself “I just need to get motivated to do it.”
Because once I’m motivated, those fears will all just disappear and writing that blog post will just flow from me with ease, right?
So if you’re reading this right now and you’ve ever had a similar experience or similar thoughts cross your mind, I want to let you in on a little secret (with love, because I care about you)…
–> Motivation doesn’t always work. And it’s not the “missing piece” that’s keeping you from your dreams.
At some point, we’ve all bought into this lie that we need to feel good and ready to make a change. That courage and motivation will one day bubble up and boil over and we’ll just become ruthless, action-taking machines, slashing through goals one by one.
Problem is, our brains are built for the total opposite – to keep us safe from anything and everything that is scary, difficult, or uncomfortable. Or from anything that threatens to pull us from our easy-going, habits and patterns that keep us in our perfectly confined “comfort zone”.
Our brains do this to keep us safe and alive. They are wired to deter you from doing anything that is unknown that could potentially harm you.
And let’s face it, change is unknown. Stepping out of that cozy, pristine comfort zone is unknown.
In order to start a business, in order to change jobs, in order to go to the gym and eat right, in order to be the best spouse or parent – all of those things that you know you want to do in your life – they’re going to require you to do things that are scary, difficult, uncomfortable, or worst of all, uncertain.
Which means you can’t rely on “feeling like it”.
You likely won’t “feel” ready or motivated to change or to do something new.
So where does that leave us? If motivation isn’t the answer, how can we actually pursue and get the things we want most in life?
I’ll briefly repeat what I mentioned in my last post (because it’s seriously GOLD)…
YOU NEED TO CHOOSE IT.
Every day, you need to CHOOSE to make decisions that move you closer to your goal. And you need to choose to follow through, despite any resistance you may feel.
However, it is true that some days will feel easier than others. Some days you DO feel motivated, and resistance is minimal.
So what gives?
In short, motivation is emotional state that drives human behavior towards pleasure or away from pain.
And if you’ll notice, these “easily motivated” days are typically:
A) Following massive amounts of action (maybe in the days before).
B) When your ‘why’ feels just a little closer to home.
C) When the pain of where you are exceeds the pleasure of doing nothing.
For example, maybe you’re struggling to get to the gym today, but you’ve already eaten healthy all week and you’re getting married in 6 months and want that banging bride bod (ahem, this is me and I’m coining the term “bride bod”).
That scenario makes “finding motivation” just a little bit easier, doesn’t it?
So, how do we recreate these triggers to STAY motivated consistently (even when motivation doesn’t feel like it’s working)?
4 Steps To Staying Motivated (And What To Do When Motivation Doesn’t Work)
Step #1 – MAKE THE CHOICE
I know I sound like a broken record, and I know this sounds like the easy part, but really think about it – how many times have you put something off or completely avoided doing something due to a seeming lack of motivation?
It all starts with the choice to move and follow through, regardless of how you feel at the time.
Keep it simple – make the choice. Decide to move forward no matter what. And move to Step #2…
Step #2 – TAKE A SMALL ACTION
What is one thing you can do NOW to move you closer to your goal?
Take a small action. Even if you’re not quite sure of action steps 2, 3, or 4 just yet – taking ONE small action will get you progressing, like rolling a snowball down a steep hill.
Want to lose weight? Stand up and do 50 jumping jacks. Want to find a new job? Do a quick job search for what you’re looking for. Want to start a business? Write down who you’re going to help.
Continuing to take one small action CONSISTENTLY will build more clarity and breeds massive MOMENTUM (i.e. make a bigger, faster moving snowball), which will keep you moving forward.
Step #3 – BOLSTER WITH A STRONG ‘WHY’
Your ‘why’ is your deep-seated reason for doing what you’re doing (or what you WANT to do). It’s that driving force that makes you want to do and be better – whether it’s for your family, your health, your happiness, etc. It gives you a filter through which you feed all of your decisions so you can make sure you’re headed in a direction that feels aligned with who you are and what you want.
And it gives you the courage to take risks that you wouldn’t otherwise take.
Find your why. And then set up daily reminders to keep it at the forefront of everything you do.
Step #4 – INVEST IN SUPPORT
Stop trying to do it all on your own.
Look, I get it…I’m a strong, independent woman myself. But the one thing you’ll find in common across ALL successful people in every industry is this:
They have direct support (whether that’s in the form of a coach or a mentor).
It’s wise to not expect yourself to know it all. And it’s wise to know that in order to see past your blind spots you need real, raw support and guidance.
If you want to stay motivated, be sure you have someone in your corner who can not only pick you up when your down, but can hand you some clarity of your next steps when you feel lost in a whirlwind of tasks.
This last step is the glue that holds everything together. Receiving support will keep you sane when you just want to crawl back in bed. And sometimes, it’s the only place where you can draw on for motivation when you’re not feeling up to it yourself.
Not to mention, it’s your elevator up when you’ve been stuck on level 1.
Invest in deep, unbiased support if you want to stay motivated and radically change your life. Period.
Easy enough, right?
Here’s the reality: if you were looking for more than these above steps, then you probably forgot to do Step #1.
There is no other “magic pill” to staying motivated. I can’t tell you to go outside, hold your pinky in the air, and spin in circles and all of your motivation-lacking problems will go away.
What I can tell you is this…
All “staying motivated” is is a CHOICE, followed by an ACTION, followed by MOMENTUM – and then propped up with a a STRONG ‘WHY’ and deep SUPPORT.
And it only works if you do.
So in order to make this SUPER tactical and paint-by-numbers (my style), I want to do a quick recap…
Need quick motivation? Check last week’s blog post – “How To Get Motivated In 10 Seconds Or Less”
Need to keep the motivation going? – try the above steps.
Need deep, reliable SUPPORT to help you get clarity of your next steps and to gain momentum? Hop on the phone with me and we’ll see how I can help 😊
And above all else, remember that it’s OKAY to have an off day. It’s OKAY to feel unmotivated sometimes.
All it takes is the willingness to get back on the horse and freaking ride.
All my best,