Like waiting for a bus that broke down three stops before yours — most days it’s never coming for you.
Many of you may know that I love writing. It’s something that I’ve always gravitated toward as far back as grammar school. Creative writing sparked something in me but of course, as I’ve grown older I began writing less and less even though it helped me feel a sense of aliveness and purpose.
Despite not being consistent with it, I’ve wanted to get better at it. Here’s the kicker: you can only get better by doing. Practicing, learning from others, and doing the work.
But what happens when I don’t want to do the work? This is the point at which I’ll seek out motivation for a helping hand. But what does motivation look like? What exactly is it, and how can I use it to get my butt in the chair and do the work every day?
Sad to say, motivation is not limitless.
There is no secret fountain of motivation we can tap into at any time — if there were we’d all be that version of ourselves that we hope for!
Motivation is more of a geyser, forcefully emerging from seemingly out of nowhere only to quickly recess back from whence it came, leaving us to forge ahead without it or to recede back to our old ways (and it doesn’t matter if we don’t like our old ways very much — they’re what we know and that makes it easy.)
Relying solely on motivation to create any substantial change will always result in frustration. It will take us only so far, like our parents dropping us off at our freshman dorms and leaving us to figure the rest out. Motivation can kick us out of the nest, but the rest is up to us.
So here are my two cents on getting past the point of departure.
Fall in love with “doing” instead of the “idea of doing”.
Do you imagine what it would be like to no longer look at your arms, or belly, or thighs, or butt with disdain but instead, admiration?
Do you often think to yourself how you’re ready to commit to eating better, working out every day, and making the changes you know you need to make?
How badly do you want fitness to be a part of your life?
Ahhh, that’s where things begin to fall apart. No one wants the discomfort of moving their bodies to the point of total exertion. That sounds horrible. And it can be. Working out can steal all your energy, leaving you sweaty, smelly and red-faced. No one particularly wants that.
Especially after a long day of work/irritating children/no sleep/rainy day/woke up too early/too busy running around/deserving a break… egads the list goes on!
If we could put into words that underlying thought, it would sound something like this: I don’t want fitness to be a part of my day if it means I have to work out when I don’t want to work out.
This is when motivation is supposed to swoop in and do the job for us.
This is how I feel about writing. There are days I don’t want to do it. I think I’m too busy, that there are other pressing matters that require my full attention.
“Other pressing matters” is my go-to excuse to get out of it. I know this. My brain thinks it quite clever but I’ve grown savvy.
“Other pressing matters” means I’m not motivated. I don’t see the benefit. In my heart, I know there is a benefit, but my brain, well that’s a tricky entity. It’s been sharpening this skill for years, to the point that some days I don’t realize it’s taken over.
This happens to a lot of us, so I wanted to let you know that I hear you and I feel your brain trying to get out of it!
Waiting on motivation is easy, and it gets us nowhere fast. Time passes and we’re left standing still. Unfortunately, there’s no way to make it easy and create the change.
Once we understand this we can begin to make progress.
Let’s look at this another way.
Seth Godin, a marketing genius and creative whisperer (every time I read his stuff I’m inspired to do something, anything!) speaks to the process, not the outcome.
Oftentimes we’re striving for the outcome without giving respect to the process, when in fact the process is what deserves our undivided attention. For me let’s say 10 blog posts is the goal or outcome I want, but I never get there, or it takes me longer than I expected because I’m only focused on the number, not what I have to do to get there. The process is the messy middle, it’s where the work has to be done, and I don’t always want to do the work.
But if I don’t want to do the work, I only want the outcome, I’m screwed. It’s a battle I’ll never win.
Same with our body goals.
Losing 10 or 20 lbs is a great outcome, but if you’re not willing to commit to the process, you’re not willing to do the work. When you don’t want to do the work, you’re allowing life to continually get in the way.
There is an upside.
When you begin to let go of the outcome and focus on the process, unexpected things can happen. Maybe you notice your arms are more defined, or you can do one push up when you never could do one, or you’ve built a routine that has you working out every day, or close to it.
If we begin to get excited over the unexpected, it can change our entire perspective.
Motivation will get you going, but it’s up to you to keep moving forward. We have to get uncomfortable when it comes to creating change, but once we do that, we’re in the beginning stages of creating a new process that can change everything!
It all begins by falling in love with “doing”!