From time to time—OK, OK, everyday—I’m asked for tips about motivation.
Here’s what I think: Motivation comes and goes.
It’s just a feeling. It’s lovely to have, sure, and you get all inspired and busy when you have it, but the fact is you can’t count on it. Motivation is really just about “feelin’ it”, and truth be told, you ain’t always gonna be “feelin’ it”. The real action is in taking a stand for yourself and making a commitment to do something whether you feel like it or not.
I didn’t wait to “feel like it” to stop smoking cigarettes. If I had, I’d probably be puffing on a Marlboro as I write this. And if you’re married, you probably didn’t say in your vows “I promise to be with this person for as long as… I feel like it”. No. You take a stand, and then you live into that stand, whether you feel like it or not. That way you don’t have to depend on a fleeting feeling of inspiration that, while it’s great to have, shouldn’t be the only source of fuel to drive your behavior.
Remember, some writers achieve greatness not by waiting for a burst of inspiration, but by setting a definite schedule where they sit in front of the computer even if not a single word comes to their mind. The discipline and commitment to do it anyway—even if motivation is temporarily absent- is what gets the job done.
So in my view, the best “motivational tips” are those that help you set the stage for success. In Unleash Your Thin we call them “intention actions”—like setting out a water bottle before bed so you remember to take it with you in the morning.
If you make it easier for yourself to act, you may not need to depend so much on something unreliable like “motivation”.
Instead you’ll come to depend on something much more powerful: Yourself.