Finding Motivation: What To Do When You Don't Feel Like Doing Anything
by Chris Widener
In all of my interactions with people, I've never found anyone, regardless
of their level of success, who doesn't sometimes find themselves simply
not wanting to do the things that they need and want to do. It is a part
of human nature that there will be times that, in spite of all that we need
to do, and even desire to, we will find ourselves not wanting to do anything.
And what separates those who will become successful from those who will
maintain the status-quo, is the ability at those very crucial moments of
time when we are making decisions about what we will do, to choose to find
the inner motivation that will enable us to conquer our complacency and
move on in action.
I find that I confront this issue in my life on a regular basis, so the
following success strategies are not merely pie in the sky techniques,
but proven ways to get yourself to go even when you don't feel like doing
Honestly evaluate whether or not you need a break.
This is the first thing that I usually do what I find that I don't want
to get to a specific action. The fact is that oftentimes we will have
been working very hard and the lethargy we are feeling is really our body
and emotions telling us that we simply need a break. And this is where
it takes real intellectual honesty because when we don't need a break
our mind is still telling us we need a break! But sometimes we do need
a break. I'll give you a good example. I don't particularly like to exercise,
but I do almost every day. Sometimes, I find myself before going to the
club thinking about how I just didn't feel like going. Most of the time
I am just being lazy. However, sometimes I realize that my body needs
a break. So from time to time I will take a one or two daybreak from working
out. The benefits of this are two-fold: One, my body gets a break to regenerate
itself. Two, after a day or two, I begin to miss my workout, and eagerly
anticipate a turning to the gym.
Other examples: Perhaps you are a salesman who has been phoning
clients for a week straight, day and night. You wake up one morning and
just dont feel like doing it any more. Well, take a break for the
morning. Go to a coffee shop and read the paper. Go to the driving range
and hit some golf balls. Take a break and then get back to it!
I'm at a point in my workout schedule now where a typical workout day
for me consists of 30 to 45 minutes of aerobic exercise, and about 30
minutes of weight lifting. So when I find myself not wanting to get up
and go to the gym, I will sometimes make a commitment to go and just do
a smaller workout. Instead of deciding not to go, I'll commit to doing
15 to 20 minutes of aerobic exercise and 15 to 30 minutes of weight lifting.
This is also good for two reasons. One, I actually get some exercise that
day. And two, it keeps me from getting into a cycle of giving up when
I don't feel like moving toward action. Other examples: Maybe you are
a writer who simply doesnt want to write today. Instead of the long
day writing you had planned, decide that you will at least outline a couple
of new articles. You will at least get these done, and you may have found
that you put yourself into the writing mood after all.
Change your routine.
I have found that what keeps me in the best shape and burns the most calories
for me, is to do 30 to 45 minutes on the treadmill every day. Now let
me be very blunt. I find running on the treadmill to be extremely boring.
Usually I can get myself to do it, but sometimes I need to vary my routine.
So instead of 30 to 45 minutes on a treadmill, I will break down my aerobic
exercise routine into a number of different areas. I will do ten to 15
minutes on treadmills, 10 to 15 minutes on the reclining cycle, 5 to 10
minutes on the rowing machine, 5 to 10 minutes on the stair stepper, and
then back on to the treadmill for five to 10 minutes. I still get my exercise,
but I'm bored a lot less.
Other examples: Maybe you are in construction and you have been
working on the plumbing for a week, and it is getting monotonous. Dont
do the plumbing today! Go frame-in the office.
One way that I motivate myself to do something when I don't feel like
doing it, is to tell myself that if I get through the work that I need
to, I will give myself a little reward. For instance, I may tell myself
if I to get up and go to the club I can take five to 10 minutes off my
treadmill exercise, which will shorten my workout routine, and I'll allow
myself to sit in the hot tub for a few extra minutes. Hey, it works!
Other examples: Maybe you are a mortgage broker who feels like
sleeping in. Tell yourself that after the next three mortgages you close
you will take your kids to the fair, or your spouse to the movies. Maybe
youll give yourself a night on the town with old friends.
Reconnect the action with pleasure rather than pain.
Psychologists have long told us that we humans tend to connect every action
with either pleasure or pain. Tony Robbins has popularized this even further
in the last few years with something he calls Neural Associations. That
is, we connect every action with either a pleasure, or pain. When we are
finding ourselves lacking motivation, what we are probably finding about
ourselves is that we are associating the action that we are thinking about
with pain, rather than pleasure. For instance, when I'm considering that
not going to the health club on any given day, I am usually associating
going and working out with having no time, the pain of exercising and
weight lifting, or the boringness of running on a treadmill for an extended
period of time. What I can do to re-associate is to remind myself that
by going in and doing my exercise I will feel better about myself, I will
lose weight, and I will live longer. This brings me pleasure. When we
begin to run those kinds of tapes through our minds, we find our internal
motivating force unleashed and changing our attitude about the action
that we are considering.
Other examples: Maybe you are a counselor who really doesnt
want to spend the day listening to people. Your association may be that
it will be boring, or that you will be inside while it is sunny outside.
Instead, re-associate yourself to the truth of the matter: Someone will
be better off because of your care and concern. Think of your clients
and the progression they have been making recently and how you have been
a part of that.
Chris Widener is a popular speaker and writer as well as the President
of Made for Success and Extraordinary Leaders, two companies helping individuals
and organizations turn their potential into performance, succeed in every
area of their lives and achieve their dreams. Join subscribers in over
100 countries around the world! Get Chris' FREE weekly Made for Success
Ezine by sending a blank email to email@example.com. Get his FREE
daily SuccessQuote with action point by sending a blank email to
SQ@infogeneratorpro.com. Get his FREE monthly Extraordinary Leaders Ezine,
one of the world's most widely distributed leadership newsletters, by
sending a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his websites
Copyright 2002 Made for Success. Used by permission. All rights reserved
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