Motivation Follows Action
Ever not achieved a goal or not done something because you’re not motivated? You know you should do it, but decided to wait for the motivation to appear. In the meantime, the monthly gym membership fee keeps coming out of your account, you’re moving less, eating crap, the washing is still sitting there, your admin vortex is getting overwhelming and that book you want to write is still just an idea in your head.
There’s a whole lot of intention, zero motivation and not much action.
What if you didn’t need motivation to get started? There goes that excuse!
Too often we wait to feel motivated before we take action.
The key is to just get started, no matter how you feel and it doesn’t have to be anything big. If you don’t have the motivation to go to the gym, just put on your gym gear and do some push-ups, squats or burpees and tick that off as a start. Achievement is one of the natural rewards for our brains (alongside things such as food, water & sex), which then release the neurotransmitter Dopamine - and Dopamine is the chemical for motivation! The simple act of putting your gym gear on and doing a little something can be enough to spark the motivation to move more.
Procrastinating about writing that book? Do 5 minutes a day.
Overwhelmed by your massive to-do list? Just tick off one thing.
This is why we encourage our clients to put their training gear on as soon as they get home from work and tick that off as a ritual. It’s amazing how many people report they have started to move more from this one, simple step. It’s not necessarily about ‘just do it’, it’s more about ‘just do something’. Once your gear is on, even if you manage a few squats, stretches or a walk, you will get that lovely dose of dopamine and the motivation to do more will follow.
The key is to not focus too much on how you feel. Instead, focus on the WHY, or the purpose behind the action. This is what we call ‘purposeful action’. If your WHY is to be able to play soccer with your kids on the weekend (without getting puffed out after 5 minutes), then that is WHY you are going for that walk or run. When you complete it, that’s when you focus on how you feel.
Motivation follows action and feelings follow behaviour. It is more powerful to do something and let your feelings follow than wait for the motivation to arrive, because it might never come.