Motivation is Not Your Problem

Motivation is Not Your Problem lifesum

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This just might change your life.

After a few months of working at Lifesum, I found myself in a lunch rut. I’d been eating the same two things 5 days a week for about 3 months. Carrot soup, or salmon with seeds and spinach.

It was good for me, but it was boring, so I wanted to make a change. The problem was that making a change required energy and time. I had motivation, but the time and energy I needed to invest to make the change happen put me off.

What if ultimately we all have that same problem?

We all have motivation. Motivation is the idea, or thing that makes us want to do something. It is not a magical, mythical creature that only the most skilled hunter can find. The problem is not motivation. The problem is the whatever stands in the way of us doing what we feel motivated to do.

Once I realised that all I needed to do was find some quick, simple recipes that I wanted to eat, I found a way to do so. One afternoon I poured myself a glass of wine and sat down to look up a few recipes. Done.

Our focus needs to move away from motivation, to the follow-through, or the system that will help get us where we want to be.

How do you ‘follow-through’?

“Eliminate the things that not only slow your progress, but which keep you from moving forward.”Lidiya K, Addicted to Success

What’s standing in your way? Think about it this way, if you want to take a walk through a forest and there are branches in your way, you cut them out the way so that you can move forward. What are your metaphorical branches? These are your blockers. When it comes to me exercising, obvious blockers can be that the gym is too far away, or the fear that I might miss out on seeing friends. How do I get rid of these? It could be as simple as choosing a gym that is close by or working out in the mornings so that my evenings are free.

What will make it easier for you to do what you’re trying to do? Let’s say you want to cross a river. You need a bridge. What things can you do that will make it easier for you to follow through? These are your bridges, your facilitators. For example, I’d like to go swimming twice a week, but I don’t have time to do laundry twice mid-week, so a ‘bridge’ could be to buy two bathing suits so I only need to wash once and don’t have to wear a smelly suit.

Finding out what stands in the way of you achieving your goal, and finding out what will help catapult you there, helps you ‘make the helpful activity easier to do, and the unhelpful activity harder to do’ (James Clear), thus creating an environment where you’re more likely to succeed.

Unfortunately, blockers and facilitators aren’t enough to get you to follow through. There’s one more thing you need and it’s grit.

We don’t like to talk about grit because grit sounds hard, which is because grit is hard. But it’s necessary.

Grit is the chess move that determines if you win or lose the game. If a ‘can’t’ attitude is a blocker; a ‘can’ attitude, a.k.a. ‘grit’, is the ultimate facilitator. I like to think of grit as ‘doing it anyway‘.

If the blockers are out the way, and the facilitators are in place, the only thing that can stop you from following through is lack of grit. You need to do what you’ve facilitated. And once you’ve done it, keep doing it. It has to be a completely unemotional decision every single time. It can’t be about whether or not you feel motivated, because if it’s based on feelings you’ll only do it when you feel like it. You have the motivation, you’ve done everything you can to make it as easy as possible to do, so the only thing left is to do it.

Essentially, if I have a clean bathing suit in my bag and I’m walking past the pool, I’ve already done all that I can to make it easy to go for a swim. All that remains is to do it already.

So DO it already! When you’re this close, why not?

/Femi, The Girl Who Hates Working Out

RELATED: I Really, Really, Really Don’t Want To Workout, But I’m Going To Anyway

With Lifesum, tracking your healthy habits (and the not so healthy ones) becomes a breeze. We’ll help you pick the right food, and eat the right portion sizes, to reach your personal health goals.

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