How do you find motivation?
I hate to say this but…
You don’t need motivation to do things. The reality is it actually goes the other way. You need to do things in order to find motivation.
Even then, motivation isn’t a magic spell that is going to make you do everything that you’ve never wanted to do. That’s why the real way to find motivation is more proactive than just waiting for some motivational wand to wave you into productivity.
The key to motivation is knowing how to use it properly.
What you need to do is:
- Learn about whatever it is you’re trying to do. (Ignorance is bliss, but that doesn’t apply to when you’re trying to build a habit or start a huge project.)
- Start the thing (and hopefully enjoy the experience or how it felt to have completed the thing).
- Decide if you want to go through with it (yay, we made it).
- Make some plans so you can keep yourself doing the thing for as long as you need (or want).
- Then use motivation to keep yourself excited, on track, and involved in what you’re doing (just don’t rely on it).
Motivation is helpful, but it shouldn’t be relied on.
Motivation should be used more like a casual cup of coffee than a needed cup of coffee.
Someone who needs coffee will feel tired, agitated, and less productive without their daily dose of caffeine.
But if you don’t feel like “I need to have my morning coffee or I’m not myself”, than a nice casual cup of coffee can provide an extra boost of energy and make you feel all warm and fuzzy.
Motivation should be more like this. It should give you a nice little boost when you need it, but it shouldn’t be the only thing that gets you out of bed in the morning.
You can’t rely solely on motivation to get things done. If you do you, might find yourself drained and unproductive when you run low on motivational energy. No amount of motivational quotes from Instagram influencers will change your life without a few other things.
So how do you use motivation properly and keep yourself from getting motivationally drained?
- Do the thing and get intrinsically motivated.
- Create plans and procedures on how you’ll do the thing (especially for rainy days).
- Find Quick small ways to incorporate motivation into your life.
1. Intrinsic Motivation
Intrinsic motivation is behavior driven by internal rewards.
Basically, if you want to do something, you need to want to do it. It’s a lot harder to do something if you don’t have the internal motivation to do it.
Deadlines, peer pressure, and punishments can only do so much for a person (and it’s probably not healthy to rely on these things). And reward systems aren’t effective enough on their own either. At least not external rewards.
External rewards can’t take you as far as internal rewards will. If something makes you feel good you’ll be more inclined to do it than something that will get you an external reward. Let’s say for example that you can either have your favorite meal for dinner or you can eat something you don’t like. If you eat your favorite meal that’s all you get, but if you eat the thing you don’t like you get $20. Is $20 enough to eat something nasty instead of your favorite food? Not for me. (That’s a lie I could really use that $20 but I digress)
It doesn’t matter what the task is. If you can find the intrinsic motivation to do it you’ll be more likely to stick to the thing than if you tried to reward or punish yourself into doing it.
How do you find intrinsic motivation? You have to do the thing. If you want to feel good about the thing you want to do, you just have to do it and allow yourself to feel good. Then after you can reflect and say “wow I was tired but I had so much fun doing XXX thing, I should do it more often” then the next time you don’t want to do it think about how great it went (and do the stuff below) and bob’s your uncle you’re now on your way to doing the thing again.
2. Make some plans.
Now that you know you want to do the thing and feel intrinsically motivated you’re almost on your way. The only reason I bring this up in an article about motivation is because the number one motivation killer is friction.
If you’re tired, or feeling low on time, and you hardly want to do the thing you know you should, then any amount of friction will be enough for you to give up. I know the feeling, I do it all the time. If I’m not really feeling like I want to write or edit today than I’ll say to myself “I’m just too tired today, I’ll do it tomorrow”. Sound relatable?
Friction makes things harder. So if you’re on the fence about something you need to remove as much friction as possible, or you may end up falling for the excuses you tell yourself.
Popular forms of friction that I struggle with are tiredness (you probably guessed that from how many times I use tired as an example), being low on time, feeling a bit down because the pandemic has kept me away from lots of people I love, and disorganization.
How do I get around this friction? I try to sleep more and do other things to keep myself from being so tired, I schedule in a time for the important things in my calendar, I call friends and family to pick myself up when I’m feeling low, and I’ve started to organize all of my online work so I won’t be held back by my disorganization.
So while you’re working on your plans for whatever you want to do 1. Locate the areas of friction that could stop you from doing the thing and 2. Find realistic solutions and make plans to get around the friction.
3. Incorporate External Motivation into your life.
Don’t get me wrong, external motivation isn’t useless. Regardless of what I’ve said so far, I do think it’s incredibly useful.
You shouldn’t rely on motivation, but you should use it to leverage what you’ve already built.
That’s why I kept external motivation for last. It’s like a shot of espresso when you’ve already slept 8 hours. It can make you feel like your on cloud nine if you’re already shooting for the sky.
If you’re ready for external motivation (because you’ve already been internally motivated and removed friction) try some of these fun things:
Surround yourself with other motivated people. The best way to get motivated to do something is to be surrounded by people who do similar things. If you’re surrounded by people who don’t like to go on walks, you won’t go on many walks. But if you surround yourself with people who love to walk and also want to walk more, you’ll both find yourselves walking more.
That’s why my first piece of advice is ALWAYS to find yourself in good company and in a good community.
Follow people online who motivate you. Gary Vee and Matt D’Avella are two of my favorite people to follow online for motivation. If we spend so much time online we might as well be getting value from the experience. Follow people who will encourage you, inspire you, and even educate you.
Find other external or intrinsic motivators. Now that you have internal motivation (because you feel good doing something) and your surrounded by great company that motivates you, try and find some other things that motivate you. For example, someone who loves working out might find that they also enjoy having some time to themselves or the way their muscles look. A writer might enjoy writing, but they may also enjoy the value they get from reflecting and releasing their deepest feelings onto the page. Look for other positives to motivate you, this way you can never run out of motivation 😉
After you’ve done all of that you should be motivated as heck and ready to do whatever it is you want to do.
Just remember that external motivation shouldn’t be relied on and we need to have internal motivation if we want to see something through!
Good luck on the amazing things you will now do with these fun motivation tips. And thank you for reading, if you got this far you’re cool. Leave a comment and like below so I know who all the cool peeps are.
Until Next Time,