What to Do When Motivation Just Isn’t There 

 April 29, 2021

When you start a new journey, routine, or habit… the motivation just seems to be pouring out of you.

You see the end goal as clear as day, you can picture how you’re going to feel, look, and perform. 

But then, a few days, weeks, or months pass, and all of a sudden, you find yourself dragging… again.

This is a motivation problem. Believe me, you’re not the only one who has it.

Here are a few simple steps you can take so that you no longer need to rely on motivation:

  • Prepare

Prior to starting whatever new endeavor you are on, it’s important to prepare. 

Let’s say you want to start exercising regularly. Before you start, maybe take some notes on questions such as: 

“Why do I want to start exercising?”

“How many times per week do I want to exercise?”

“Do I need to hire a Personal Trainer to help me?”

“How is my life going to be different after implementing a regular exercise routine?”

These questions, and more like them, are crucial in the planning process. But, I believe the first question, the “why” for doing something, is most important.

It is your “why” that drives you forward on days you don’t feel like getting out of bed. So, spend a lot of time thinking about this.

  • Journal

This may sound silly. But, as you’re going through the process of establishing your new habit, behavior, or task, take notes!

Write down things like how you felt after completing your first day, what your mindset was in week two, what feels good and what doesn’t, what needs to be changed or adjusted… 

Continue a dialogue with yourself so that you can stay “in tune” with what you will need to continue on a successful journey. 

A really easy way to start this process is by keeping a gratitude journal. 

Each night, prior to laying down for sleep, write down 3 things you are grateful for in this new journey you’ve taken on. 

Back to the exercise example, you could write down how great you felt during your workout, or how working out has caused you to think more about what you eat.

Make sense? Cool. Let’s move on.

  • Prompt

Your new behavior or habit can only go as far as you prompt yourself to go. 

Remember, the whole point of this article is to say that motivation is not worth following. So, you need to prompt yourself with specific actions in order to follow through on your new behavior. 

Here’s a funny example from my life: 

A few months ago, I was reading through the book, “Tiny Habits” by Dr. BJ Fogg. In his book, he brilliantly explains the idea of establishing a sound prompt in developing a new habit. I knew that I wanted to start a habit of doing push-ups everyday… but I really hate pushups. So, I applied Dr. Fogg’s Tiny Habits method, and got to work. The way I implemented this was similar to his example in the book. Instead of trying to do 100 push-ups everyday, I simply focused on doing 2 pushups after flushing the toilet, each time I used the bathroom. The toilet flushing acted as a prompt for me to do push-ups! After a while, I was doing anywhere between 10 and 40 pushups each time I went to the bathroom, which ended up being more than 100 every day. 

The idea here with the story is to make a large goal or habit, very very small. When you do this, you can build, rather than going hard for 8 days then falling off the wagon. 

Starting with 2 push-ups at a time for me turned into 30-40 push-ups at a time, multiple times per day. And I didn’t even once think about how motivated I was to do it!

So, there’s your action plan. Ditch motivation and get serious about preparing, journaling, and prompting. Used well, it can be a blueprint for success.