Have you ever ran a Google search for “How to stay motivated”?
If you had, you wouldn’t be alone. In fact, my research shows that about 3,600 people search that very question every month. Maybe, if I’m lucky, you found this post by searching that very phrase.
I would argue that your problem isn’t with motivation, it’s much deeper than that. Motivation is cheap, it’s easy to get, and it’s just as easy to lose.
If you’ve ever struggled with motivation and searched for a motivational quote or YouTube video, you know the issue I’m talking about here. You get pumped up from the quote or video and jump into your endeavor only to find yourself lacking motivation just a short time later.
Before I jump too far into this, I want to mention a quote from one of my favorite online mentors, Brendon Burchard:
Aha! Do you see what he’s saying there?
It goes much deeper than talking about motivation as an energy source; it’s more about motivation as a reason for why you’re doing what you’re doing. It’s not about how to stay motivated, but rather, what motivates you to begin with.
Let me unpack this a little bit.
How to Stay Motivated vs. What Motivates Us
I don’t want to go all Webster’s Dictionary on you, but motivation has two definitions:
- “The general desire or willingness of someone to do something.”
– This is what I refer to as Motivation as an Energy Source
- “The reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.”
– This is what I refer to as Motivation as a Reason Why
You found this post today because you’ve been using motivation for energy, but that energy is a finite resource.
Motivation as an Energy Source
Motivation is an excellent tool to get you going, primarily when you’ve just set a brand new goal. Whether it’s losing weight, saving $1,000, or establishing a new personal record in the gym, motivation (a.k.a. enthusiasm, drive, ambition, initiative, or determination) will usually get you started with a bang!
The problem is that motivation is fleeting, just like willpower.
When you start something new and exciting, motivation comes built in. It’s strong at first, but when you hit a rough patch, the daily routine gets boring, or you don’t see results quickly enough, you might lose patience and throw in the towel or get discouraged.
Related Podcast: ep. #017 – Navigating the Ups & Downs of Goal Setting with Dr. LaTanya Moore
That’s when you turn to Google and search for “how to stay motivated”. You’ve exhausted your motivational energy.
I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with using motivation as a means to give you a boost, but if we rely on motivation alone to achieve our goals in life, we’re sure to fail.
Because there are so many things in life that drain our motivation and willpower. Some days, when things go perfectly well, it’s easy to stay motivated.
On other days, you might face some tough situations that drain your energy and your mood, and when this happens, it’s easy to talk ourselves out of the things that are more difficult or mundane.
This happens when we rely on motivation as an energy source and the more you rely on that, the more often you’re going to get derailed. But there’s a better way! Let’s reconnect with what our motivations were for even starting in the first place, also known as our reason why!
Motivation as a Reason Why
Let me start with an example: Bob loved his job at XYZ Company, but he left to pursue a new career at ABC Company because it paid twice as much. Bob was financially motivated. He took the job to earn more money.
With me so far?
Alright, now that we’re beginning to separate the two types of motivation, let me ask you this question: What is your reason behind your goal? Put another way, why do you want to achieve your goal? What is your internal motivation for doing this?
Read more about finding you’re ‘why’ here.
Identifying why you want to do something is a much more powerful concept than seeking external motivators or how to stay motivated.
For example, getting up at 4:45 isn’t usually fun for me, today especially. I had an exhausting weekend I did not want to get up this morning. I had to remind myself that if I slept in, I would miss my morning workout (which affects my overall energy and mood) and I wouldn’t get to write this article.
I didn’t need to seek external motivations to get up and get going, which is good because there is no way I was going to search for a motivational YouTube video that early in the morning. I had to recall my motivations for initially setting those goals: I want to workout five days a week, and I want to write a new article every Monday morning.
I’ll end with another quote to help illustrate my point. This one comes from Dr. Michael Gervais during an interview on the Tim Ferris Show.
If your goal truly matters to you, then you have a reason why you’re shooting for it; you have a motivation that is driving you. Connect with that reason, write it down where you can see it every day, and you’re sure to follow through and achieve success.
Are you struggling with motivation or how to focus on a goal?
Are you still wondering how to stay motivated? Drop me and comment below and we can chat or visit my contact page and get in touch with me privately there.
I look forward to chatting with all of you.