How to be successful without motivation

2nd November 2016

I’m always motivated. Everyday. 24/7.

If someone ever says that to you, run away. Far, far away. They are telling porkies!
Motivation is an elusive beast. If I could catch it and cage it, I’d keep it in captivity forever. But I can’t and it actually sounds pretty cruel, doesn’t it?
The thing about motivation is that it’s so unreliable. If we hired someone with the same skill set as motivation, we’d fire their arse quick smart. Let’s have a look at their CV:

  • Shows up every now and then. When they feel like it. (Usually late)

  • Inconsistent

  • Unreliable

  • Makes huge promises

  • Is a show-off

What we love about motivation, is that it makes our tasks easier. That thing that seemed so hard to do, almost seems effortless. Getting up to go to the gym: easy. Eating healthy: it’s a cinch. Writing back to emails: bring it on.
Motivation can lead us in into a false sense of security. How many lofty goals have you set, meetings have you committed to, or even catch up’s you’ve said yes to, all because you were on a motivation high? Then, the day comes and you literally couldn’t think of ANYTHING worse.
Motivation leads you on, and then stands you up. Bastard.
Let’s stop looking at motivation as another thing we need to acquire. We now know the cold hard facts. Motivation is elusive. It comes and goes, is unreliable, and it lulls us into a false sense of security. We don’t need it.
Let’s make plans based on our average feelings. That way when motivation comes along, it’s a little bonus. It’s like going out with that nice guy and then he turns out to be funny and cool (and maybe even rich!).
If this sounds pessimistic, it SO isn’t. I’m all about the positivity! I have just woken up too many times from a motivation high the night before - where I've set lofty goals, and then lived the following day with a failure hangover. I think I’m no good, I can’t achieve anything, and I’m weak – because Miss Motivation set me up. I had set my goals thinking that I was going to feel like a million bucks all the time, forever and ever, Amen!
When you get to know yourself, you become a little more level-headed. You appreciate motivation when it comes but you don’t rely on it. Similarly, when you feel crappy and think the world is out to get you, you know it won’t last forever. As they say:

So what are my tips for getting shiz done, without motivation? Here they are:

Set your goals when you are feeling level-headed. Let Miss Motivation be your dreamer, and Miss Average be your planner. (And Miss Downer – we just wait her out)

Do it anyway. So you don’t feel like doing the thing that will lead to your goals? Well, you don’t have motivation to blame for setting them. You know Miss Average has your back and there’s a reason she set this goal. Trust her and DO THE THING. As I always tell myself: I have never regretted getting up to exercise. Ever.

Forgive Yourself. So you’re not motivated like Little Miss Positive-Pants over there? It’s ok! Do not compare and do not care what others are doing. It doesn’t make you happier, and it doesn’t lead to long-term achievement of your goals.

I really hope this helps you out. It’s my foolproof plan. And I’ve learn from A LOT of mistakes and biiiiig stretches of my motivation going MIA.
Now I don’t worry, because my baseline is way more dependable. I can get things done regardless of my moods. And, when old-mate motivation does finally show her face – it’s party time!

Emily Beaton