Motivation is Stupid, Habits are better

I suck at being motivated. I will be extremely into something for a week only to see myself burn out.

For many years I interpreted this as a failure of choice. If I’d actually been “destined” to do this, Job, relationship, or hobby, my motivation would have never waned.

That’s bullshit.

The truth is Motivation is an exceptionally limited resource.

The best comparison I’ve ever heard is adrenaline. Motivation like adrenaline is great for getting yourself out of sticky situations, that might otherwise threaten to end a dream (or life) early. However, if you spend too much time in that state of overwhelming motivation, you burn out.

So what do you do?

you form habits, and you show up.

Dumb huh?

You just don’t give up. When you miss a blog post, you post one the next day. When you don’t feel like writing you show up and stare at a page. Because what you are doing is programing.

I didn’t work out for most of my adult life. But one day, after reading how good it was for my mental health, I decided to work out. I got a gym membership, and then I just went.

The first week, I didn’t do anything but walk around the gym. Seriously, I just put on my gym clothes and walked around, and left.

But week two, I just got on a treadmill for 5 minutes. The reason, I figured, I was already here, Might as well. That 5 became 30 and my visits became daily.

Now I get some form of physical exercise every day, and it feels weird if I don’t.

That state of “it feels weird if I don’t” isn’t guilt, it isn’t motivation, it’s just that the desired behavior has become such a part of your life you do it without thought.

The key though is not just to show up, but also not to make a big deal of your failures. You didn’t hit the gym…oh well…do it tomorrow.

It sounds silly but you want to reward yourself for doing and ignore the not doing. If you give the not doing attention, even negate attention, it tends to get stronger.

Motivation sucks. Just show up, try your best, and be ridiculously (in your critical head) kind to yourself about it.

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