Should You Stop Trying to Stay Motivated?

The internet is a place saturated with (obnoxious) people trying to tell you why you should do this or why you shouldn’t do that…why having plans is key to achieving goals or trying to motivate you through one way or another blah blah blah. It’s all the same right? And those videos that tell you to click on their link to find out their ‘SECRET’… like don’t get me started (sighhhh)….

Anyway, before I digress any further, basically there are so many people out there that tell you to be motivated or stay motivated by doing x or y, but is it ever that simple? For me there isn’t a formula for such things, motivation is simply the emotion felt through being inspired (admittedly stole this quote.. sue me), so no one can always be motivated just by doing this or that, emotions don’t work like that. Sometimes I tear up when watching the first Pokemon movie, when Ash sacrifices himself to end the conflict between brothers, forgoing himself for the greater good (WE ALL KNOW THAT SCENE), while other times I’m just like ‘Boy…. it’s not worth it….’. Thinking theres a formula for emotions is as stupid as it gets.

Unless of course all this speculation is purely based on my concept of emotions and motivation and no-one else thinks like this, in which case, stop reading now. But if not, read on 🙂

Don’t worry, I’m getting to my point soon…

So anyway, I was trawling through my weekly podcasts the other day when I came across a comment someone made about motivation, in which they said, (to paraphrase); “Instead of trying to stay motivated to do things, I live life disciplining myself to do them without motivation”. MIND BLOWN. It’s like finally someone on the internet has something worthwhile to say (I’m probably in the wrong places on the internet). But yeah, it’s quite an interesting concept to consider. Being motivated is easy. There are susceptible people that just eat up those aforementioned videos on the internet and think they’re going to rule the world. Thats the easy part. What’s hard is staying motivated.

The hard part of trying to stay motivated is the feeling you get when you aren’t. Like that guilt you feel from not being committed as much to something as you did yesterday. Almost like feeling guilty from giving up. And perhaps sometimes that guilt will actually motivate you but more times than not, that guilt drives you down. Following this you’ll probably start to fall into what I call “Tomorrow Me Syndrome” where you tell yourself you’ll do it tomorrow because telling yourself that makes you feel less guilty about not doing it today but it never happens tomorrow. Relying on staying motivated is usually not a winnable game.

So being a self confessed patient of the Tomorrow Me Syndrome, here’s what I feel there is to gain from what the guy said; if you look at you and your emotions as separate beings, then you will realise that your emotions are holding you back, not you physically. Your emotions are the ones pressing your guilt, your emotions are the ones stopping you from doing the things you want to do. Physically there’s nothing stopping you. Simple as that. There’s nothing stopping me from going to the gym, I just feel lazy (and fat).

So whenever faced with a decision and you feel your TM syndrome start kicking in, then stop and look at what’s actually stopping you. Are you physically tired or just can’t be bothered? If it’s a matter of not being bothered then try to detach yourself from those emotions and push on to do what you’ve set out to do. Looking at situations this way, and disciplining yourself in being able to detach yourself from those feelings may help you in the long run, during those days where you are void of motivation.

-Ryan

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