Do you ever struggle with feeling unmotivated to do the things you know you should do?
You know you should work on an important project, but you feel so much feel inner-resistance towards it that you’d rather do something else (like watching funny cat videos on YouTube).
I actually experienced that yesterday morning. You see, I was in the middle of my 30-day writing challenging, in which I . But yesterday, I just didn’t feel like it. I felt a lot of inner resistance towards sitting down and writing for 2–3 hours. I quickly noticed the excuses and procrastinative thoughts coming up.
In the past, I would’ve just given in to this feeling. I would’ve wasted a lot of time procrastinating, work on lesser important tasks instead and postpone the task until ‘tomorrow’ (but as we all know, ‘tomorrow’ usually stays ‘tomorrow’).
That’s also why, in the past, I didn’t earn a lot of money and had a hard time growing my business. I simply wasn’t doing the things I knew I should be doing on a consistent basis — and that’s one of the most common reasons why people don’t achieve their goals.
Link More Pleasure To Taking Action
Fortunately, I’ve learned a few things about motivation and productivity in my years studying high-performers. One of the quickest and surest strategies that many high-performers use to instantly get motivated is to focus on all of your reasons ‘why’ completing your task is so important to you.
In my case, yesterday morning, I took a minute to think about why writing the Medium post is important to me — and thus why I should do it. I thought about how it would help me impact more people, how it would help me build the PGL brand and how it could potentially contribute to help me get a new apartment in Amsterdam (because of the money I would earn through it). Immediately, the resistance disappeared and motivation appeared.
When I thought about all the reasons why I wanted to work — and how it would actually improve my life — I didn’t waste a second and quickly started writing.
Getting motivated and overcoming procrastination is all about reminding yourself of your ‘why’. It’s about looking at the upside of doing the work instead of thinking about the downside of doing the work.
So, the next time you struggle with getting motivated, think about all the ways your life will improve (no matter how small) from doing the work.
Clearly imagine how your life will improve. Ask yourself, how will my career improve? How will my business improve? My finances? And what about my influence, self-esteem, relationships or health? How does doing the work improve any or all of these areas of my life?
All of these reasons ‘why’ serve as fuel for inspiration and motivation so that you actually want to take action.
When you link more pleasure towards doing the work compared to not doing the work, you’ve made the necessary shift in thinking in order to stop procrastinating and be productive instead.
Using Pain As A Driving Force
Besides thinking about all the ways doing the work will improve the important areas of your life, you might also need to look at how not doing the work will negatively impact your life. Being confronted with the ‘pain’ of not taking action is an even more powerful method of motivating yourself to do the work instead.
Ask yourself, how will my life be negatively affected when I continue to procrastinate? Will I miss out on potential earnings? Will I slow down my growth? Will I strengthen the habit of procrastination? Will I hinder my business or career? Will my health, relationships or self-esteem suffer from not taking action?
Answering these questions will shine a light on all the painful consequences of not taking action, which is the fuel you need to start taking action instead.
In my case, I thought about how not writing a Medium article would mean that I’d slow down my personal and business growth, miss out on impacting other people’s lives, weaken my self-discipline and miss out on potential earnings. All in all, these negative consequences made me feel enough pain to say ‘screw it, let’s do it’.
When you clearly realize the long-term consequences of procrastinating, you make the pain of not taking action greater than the pain of taking action. This is a powerful way to get yourself fired up to stop procrastinating and do the work.
“If you want to make it big, you’ve got to push yourself beyond your limits. You’ve got to pump yourself up and get yourself into a hyper mental state. And you have to do this yourself. Nobody can do this for you.” — Tony Robbins
Furthermore, I find it very useful to think about my goals and personal values when I feel unmotivated. I think about how not taking action is (probably) not in alignment with my goals, the person who I want to be and the personal values that I have.
If I see myself as an action taker, I’d go against my own identity when I would procrastinate instead. When I clearly think about this discrepancy, it usually triggers something within that inspires me to take action.
Now Do It
The next time you feel unmotivated to work, exercise or do anything else that you know you should do, clearly think about how taking action will improve the important areas of your life. Link so much pleasure to these benefits that taking action is the solution you want to take.
If that doesn’t motivate you enough, think about all the negative (long-term) consequences that not taking action brings to your life. Clearly feel the pain at this moment so that you’ll start to link more pain to procrastinating than to taking action.
Using this method of ‘pain’ and ‘pleasure’ is one of the surest and quickest ways to get motivated. It only takes one or two minutes, but you’ll feel fired up to take massive action.
To Your Personal Growth,
Founder Personal Growth Lab
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