It’s Not How, But When to Get Motivated

Motivation is like a train. Used incorrectly, such as outside of the tracks, it won’t work. But if it’s moving on the tracks, good luck stopping it!

Motivation is misunderstood. Most people think that its primary use is to incite action, but that’s akin to using a hairbrush to brush your teeth. It might even work sometimes, but not effectively.

  • What People Think: Motivation > Action > Results
  • What’s Actually True: Action > Motivation > Results  *OR* Action > Results > Motivation > Results

Some people think I’m anti-motivational, but I’m only against the way that people are taught to use it (motivation > action).

If you depend on motivation to take action, you will not achieve goals. Why? Because even a small amount of resistance, whether internal or external, can swiftly kill any feelings of motivation.

There are two types of motivation that I’ve talked about before. Only one type—a reason for action—is required to take action. That type does not fluctuate based on the weather or the type of morning you’ve had. The other type is as strong as a graham cracker—it will crumble under mild pressure.

The Correct Impetus for Action

The ideal driving force for action is not motivation. It’s choice. If you choose to do something, it should be as good as done. Until you get to the point where that is your perspective, you will struggle to live your best life. The moment you decide that motivation is your driving force, you have failed.

Relying on motivation means that you’ll do whatever you feel like doing. And so life becomes this never-ending battle of trying to manipulate your feelings to suit your needs.

I’m not twisting that around to fit my narrative. That’s literally the definition of motivation: the general desire or willingness of someone to do something. Think about the implications of doing whatever you feel like doing. That means you have no control over your life, because no, no human can reliably control their feelings all of the time. It means you will almost always take the path of least resistance (which is rarely the preferred path).

Compare that mess to choice-driven actions, which aren’t based on how you feel, but on exactly how you want to live. It’s an astounding difference, and likely the key difference between successful and unsuccessful people. But this article isn’t merely about bashing motivation, it’s about wielding it correctly.

It’s Not How, But When to Get Motivated

The question people always ask is “how do I get motivated?” The better question is when, and people don’t ask that because they (incorrectly) assume that when is right before you want to take action.

At what point should you pump the loud music, think about your dreams, and recite powerful quotes to supercharge your motivation?

After you’ve already begun taking action.

As for why you’d do this after action and not before it? Motivation is not a starter, it’s an accelerator. Getting motivated often fails to overcome initial resistance to action, but it rarely fails to help you run faster, lift more weight, or work harder.

There are fewer obstructions to getting motivated once you’re in action. Here’s some internal dialogue examples to help you see this and connect it to experiences in your own life.

Getting Motivated before action (internal dialogue):

  • I can do this! But I’m not doing it right now and I haven’t been doing it lately… Hmm…
  • This is everything I want to do and be. So why aren’t I doing it yet? Am I missing something?

Getting Motivated during action (internal dialogue):

  • am doing this! Yes! Sssssomebody stop me!
  • am in the process of becoming who I want to become! Let’s goooo!

I think you get the point. When you begin action, you change the dynamic of the motivation game. Before you’re in action, motivational thoughts are easily discouraged by the fact that you haven’t done anything yet! But when you’re in action, any motivational thought you have is like gasoline to a fire. That’s why the best time to get motivated is after you begin action.

How to Begin Action Without Motivation

First, you must use a smart strategy, and the more you practice acting without motivation, the easier it will become. The best strategy I and thousands of others around the world have tried is the Mini Habits strategy, which teaches you how to shrink your goals down to bust through that initial resistance and change the motivation dynamic.

Taking action without motivation is actually easy if you have the correct mindset and aim, but it’s very easy to do things like have a small goal on paper but secretly intend to do more (which is no different from a typical goal that fails to get you started). That’s where the Mini Habits book can help. It shows you how to approach your goals, mentally and on paper.

Mini Habits and Mini Habits for Weight Loss are both currently on sale as Kindle Monthly Deals ( only)! These only go on sale a couple times per year!

Mini Habits $5.99  Only $2.49 (58% off)

Mini Habits for Weight Loss  $7.99 Only $3.49 (56% off)

If you learn to overcome initial resistance and then get motivated, you’ll experience a lot more success. Try it today. Set a small goal, like one push-up for exercise, or one house chore for cleaning, and after you begin, then try to get motivated. You’ll never look back.

Read Mini Habits and Mini Habits for Weight Loss if you haven’t already!

(photo by nadja.robot)

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