Motivation: What to do when it’s gone.
Turn it into a habit. That’s it. If you want you can leave this page now because that is really all there is to it.
But since you are here you should read on because the extras are also important and will help you come up with your own unique strategy to deal with a lack of motivation whenever you are faced with it.
So, let’s talk details.
I decided to write about what to do when motivation is fading because I came across the question in the nairaland forum.
It is a good question to ask because it is easily one of the biggest stumbling blocks to success.
When it happens and you don’t know what to do about it chances are you just up.
Or worse feel that there is something wrong with you, after all, you have seen people around you diligently go about their various tasks day in day out. So why can’t you be more like them?
We all feel a lack of motivation from time to time
Well, the first and most important thing you need to know is that nobody stays permanently on motivation mode.
We all have low moments. Times when we feel completely unmotivated to pursue with a passion that thing we had started with so much energy.
It happens to everyone and it’s not unique to you.
In a way that’s a bit of good news, it is nice to know that what you’re experiencing is not unique to you.
So it means there’s something other people are doing that you can do too to keep going.
But before we look at the solution in-dept it’s nice to know why motivation fades after some time this will also help you in developing your own tailor-made solution to the problem.
Motivation is an emotion
Being motivated is emotion-driven and emotions come and go. One minute you’re happy and the next sad another time you are jealous and it goes on and on.
Emotions come and go. It’s one of the many things that makes us humans.
The battle between the old you and the new you
Being motivated often leads to change, change in habits and perspective and usually at the height of motivation you are able to easily push aside or suppressed the old you that was unmotivated and not interested in going after what you are currently motivated to go after.
But the old you has been a part of you for a much longer time than the new you that motivation is trying to create.
so what happens next is that a battle ensues between the old you and the new you.
Most times the old you wins out because it’s who you have been the longest and it’s probably easier to be the old you.
Let’s say the new you now want to set aside two to three hours to study every day.
Now, those two to three hours have till date being used to do other things like say watch your favourite TV programs: premiership, zee world or other distractions like video games, Netflix, social media etc
You now automatically see the type of challenge you’re up against.
The old you crave what you used to do which was probably a lot easier than what you are currently doing that is studying.
So it is just not easy to break old habits.
Results are not immediately visible
One of the easiest and fastest ways to lose motivation is when you are not seeing immediate results.
For example, say you have just started a small business and you are throwing in all your energy and money.
Considerable time passes and you are not seeing the returns, in fact, you may even be in the red.
It’s easy to become quickly discouraged and unmotivated.
You suddenly find yourself questioning if you had made the right decision.
Perhaps you are about to leave your job. You have decided at the end of the month that you were going to submit your resignation letter and go over start that dream business.
In fact, you’ve been reading, studying, preparing and even invested money in a shop or already bought equipment and now it’s time to take the plunge.
It’s not so easy. What if you fail? On top of that, your parents are begging you not to leave the security of your job for this new adventure into the unknown that you want to embark on.
Thoughts and talks like that are enough to drive the motivation right out of you.
Failing to plan adequately for when how you are going to execute this new venture that you are so motivated about.
When you’re usually excited about something, you may find yourself rushing out to do it without thinking it through.
That is, without an adequate plan of action so what usually happens is you start out in a rush and then realise that you are a bit confused about what you’re supposed to be doing and how you are supposed to be doing it.
And because it’s not yet a part of you may forget to do it at times.
So the combination of occasionally forgetting and when you’re actually working at your goal dealing challenges associated with that goal (which is perfectly normal especially when you’re just starting something new) you can lose your motivation.
So now that we’ve gone through why motivation doesn’t last, it’s time to turn and look at solutions.
Actually there is just one solution which was the first thing I mentioned at the beginning of this article and that is to turn that thing you are motivated about into a habit.
A habit is formed when you repeatedly do something consistently regardless of any situation you find yourself in.
If it is sunny, you are going to do it. Raining? Even if there is a thunderstorm you find away.
So no matter what is happening in your life that thing must be done and it is usually done at a specific time during your day.
One of the best examples I could find to give the nairalander who asked this particular question what’s my habit of going to church on Sundays.
Since I was born I’ve always gone to church on Sundays.
My parents used to take me when I was a child and now that I’m on an adult I take myself and it’s a habit I cannot break.
I feel terribly uncomfortable and incomplete when I don’t go and I have a specific time I go too I attend the 6:30 a.m. mass it’s so critical that even if I’m forced to go for a later mass (service )it’s difficult for me.
I have even gone to bed by 4 a.m. only to get up at 5 a.m. to get ready and go to church by 6:30 a.m. I simply cannot help it.
Of course, there have been times when I have not been able to go like when I went to have my children at the hospital.
But as soon as I was able I was back doing it as usual. It’s a part of me.
This simply illustrates the power of a habit if you do not do it you feel incomplete.
Now, I want you to sit down and think about what you do in your life that is just like that.
That thing makes you feel uncomfortable until you have done it.
Now your goal is to achieve that level of habit with what you a currently motivated about.
Whether it is to study or to start that business, and work on it every day. Whether it is to learn a new skill, lose weight just name it.
Whatever you are motivated about that is good for you and you know you need to keep at it and get it done.
Try to achieve that level of habit to the point that if you do not do it you feel uncomfortable.
if you did not do it you do not feel complete.
Whether it’s raining or shining you have to do it.
So, how do you achieve turning something you’re motivated about into a habit?
The short answer to this is repetition preferably at the same time every day.
The long version will be another blog post coming your way soon.
Now over to you what do you think is your longest ever habit and what did you do to acquire it? Is it something you can replicate and use to establish a habit for the things you are currently motivated about?