Motivation Isn’t Going To Save You

Whether you’re looking to get started on a new project, a personal change in your life, or even just looking to get started on studying for the night, chances are you’re going to need a little motivation. Maybe it’s listening to a song that will pump you up, or watching an incredible scene from a film, or hunkering down for a 15 minute Ted Talk. Whatever it is, I’m sure you’re going to start doing what you’re intending on doing, but let’s be honest here, it ain’t helping you. Motivation is overrated. It is useless in like 99% of circumstances when you’re facing strife and if it’s what you’re looking for when you’re under pressure, you are doomed to fail.

What you don’t realize about motivation is that it will never last. How many times have you been in the middle of an exercise, tired as heck, listening to a pump up song only to realize that it’s really not hitting like it was at the beginning of your lift. Or while completing a task, you hit a wall, then you find yourself less gung-ho to get it done. You see, motivation is external. You get motivated by things that inspire you from the outside. What this means is that motivation is finite to what you can perceive at that time.  And as we also know, adrenaline – also finite. Eminem’s Lose Yourself will get your butt to the gym but it’s not going to lift all that damn weight for you when you’re 3 sets deep into your bench press. When you’re in the middle of a flow, getting something done and you hit a wall – any outside motivation will just be a distraction and a time waster.

What you’re actually looking for is discipline. It’s something that you literally have to do. Perhaps the best way to build motivation is to build routine. For example, when I was a post-grad student. I woke up at 6 am, got to school at 7 am, worked out for about 45 minutes, then would proceed to head to class until around 5 pm. It was a hard schedule at first but it was something that I made a routine out of. This was the greatest way for me to build discipline in my life and it served me well.

Now let’s talk about why you lack discipline. So when I tell my friends that I have lost around 60-70 lbs and that I did it within like 9 months, they are super interested in hearing how I did it. But when I start to break down the science to them, what I did, and how I didn’t cut corners – they lose interest immediately. They were motivated about losing weight because someone that they know did it, so it’s realistic. However, once they heard that it takes so much work, they gave up on listening. Why? Because they don’t want it enough. That’s why all my friends who want to go through a change in their physical appearance, have not changed at all. How bad do you want to make that change in your life? If you want it enough and you build a routine, discipline becomes easy. And that’s when falling out of discipline gets hard.

But what if I told you that you’re already quite disciplined. After you wake up and before you go to bed, chances are, you’re brushing your teeth. Chances are also pretty big that you probably have a hard time not doing those things. Waking up on time for work/school – I bet it’s hard to get up in the morning but I bet it’s even harder to not wake up and deal with the consequences. You are disciplined. You just aren’t disciplined in what you need to be disciplined in right now. And just as your parents drilled it into your mind to brush your teeth twice a day, you can discipline yourself to do anything you want. You just got to want it enough.

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