Does the following scenario sound familiar?
I always make grand plans for the weekends. I leave work on Friday feeling good. “Oh, when I get home, I’m going to get this to-do list done!” Then I get home and crash. Okay, fine. It was a long week and I need a break. I still have Saturday and Sunday!
Then Saturday morning rolls around and I don’t want to do anything. Then Saturday afternoon comes and I think, “well, I didn’t do anything this morning, so the day’s shot. Can’t start now.”
Then Sunday. “I didn’t do anything yesterday. I feel so unproductive this weekend. I can’t do anything today because I just don’t want to.”
Don’t you wish you could keep that motivation all the time so you always get things done?
Unfortunately, that isn’t going to happen. In fact, I think you’re hiding behind that excuse so you don’t have to actually do something you don’t want to do. Motivation is not a feeling.
That “feeling” above was inspiration. Motivation happened a long time ago.
You’re already motivated, or you wouldn’t feel bad about not completing your to-do list. You’re ambitious by the sheer fact that you have things on your to-do list. What a lot of us miss is that we don’t have to feel like doing something in order to do it.
YOUR BRAIN IS WIRED TO AVOID WORKING HARD. YOUR JOB IS TO TRICK IT.
Our feelings are what makes us human. They are how we interpret the world and relate to other people. But sometimes we have to put them aside so we can continue moving forward.
In Mel Robbins’ book and TED talk The 5 Second Rule, she talks about how our brains are wired not to want to do anything. They see something hard and immediately look for reasons not to do the thing we have to do.
Her solution is to count down from five. When you get to zero, you do that task, no excuses. Five, four, three, two, one, zero…go.
This method helps me work out when it’s the last thing I want to do. I decide on the objective to do at the end of five seconds and do it. Five, four, three, two, one…go put on workout clothes.
Five, four, three, two, one…go down to my workout space. Press play.
I’ve already broken down “go work out” into smaller tasks, and the 5 second rule makes it easier for my brain to handle actually having to do those smaller tasks.
YOUR FEELINGS BELONG IN YOUR “WHY.” NOT IN YOUR “HOW.”
Now, what do you do when you don’t want to do something even after you’ve counted down to 5?
Remember why you started.
Why are you here? What made this important to you in the first place? What will happen if you DON’T do what you were supposed to do? What will you miss out on, all because you didn’t take action?
This is where your feelings live, and nowhere else.
You’ve already put your feelings into this decision. You’re on your fitness journey and there were a lot of feelings involved in why you’re on this path. Your emotions and logic helped you develop your plan. You felt motivated at the beginning. It’s what got you started. But you didn’t really feel motivated.
You felt inspiration, fueled by an observation (you saw something that made you want to be fit) or information (you are at risk for diabetes and you desperately want to avoid that). That led you to become motivated to make a change, and that drove you to make a series of decisions about your health.
But motivation is just the first step. You have more deliberate choices ahead that will get you to your end result, and you can’t blame “not feeling motivated” when that’s not even a feeling.
You won’t always feel like it. But what separates champions from amateurs is their ability to do something even when they don’t want to. They do it because they have to. They do it because they’re always thinking about why they started, and what specific steps they have to take to get to where they want to go.
Five, four, three, two, one…
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