Whether you’ve started to workout or you’ve started a business, or you’re just trying to figure things out in your life, you hear the word “motivation” most of the time, and you want to keep your motivation levels up.
Many people give up on the things they start for many reasons, and one of those reasons is that they don’t feel motivated anymore!
You see, when you start doing something that will benefit you, when you pursue a dream, or simply when you’re fed up with your situation and want to change things; you start very optimistic and enthusiastic.
But as you go through the process you’re going to encounter some hardships. Let’s face it, things out of your control are going to happen and there will be days where you just don’t feel like doing anything.
Even though you start very optimistic, many things along the road are going to drain your motivation. Motivation is not something that you can rely on to achieve your goals and stick to your resolutions and long-term plans.
You can wake up one day feeling like shit, no matter how you were motivated and inspired the last day, and if you allow this feeling to control your actions, you’re going to suffer a lot.
You need to realize that along the road, stuffs will happen, you will run out of motivation, that’s why you need a strategy that insures you don’t slip out of the track and stick to your progress.
If you rely only on motivation to work, means that you only work when you’re motivated, not only you will not get anything done, but you’re committing one of the top sins that keep you from getting what you want: lack of persistence.
It’s perseverance that separates those who succeed and those who fail, this is not just a fancy quote or some sort of theoretical knowledge, it’s absolutely true.
It doesn’t matter if you did the right things for a while, you will not get the results unless you are consistent, at least you won’t have sustainable results unless you’re consistent.
It’s said that if you rest for too long, the weeds will take the garden, if you don’t take care of your seeds everyday by watering it and taking the weeds off, you won’t reap any crop.
So, in this article, we’re going to talk about what to do when you feel like motivation has run out, when you don’t feel like doing it, or when you feel like you want to just give up.
I’m going to give you a strategy, or a mindset, that will help you to persist even when things go crazy, so that you be consistent and do what you have to do.
When We’re Inspired and Motivated, We Can Give Our 1000%, Can’t We?
Think about it, when you’re totally pumped, you get things done pretty well, you go to the gym and just nail it, you get down to work with a smile from cheek to cheek and you give your very best.
We can’t deny that we get such days, where everything just goes smoothly; we’re feeling very well, we don’t only go to the gym, we go there and we train harder than any time before.
We’re supposed to do an assignment and we get it done very well before the deadline, we’re just full of energy.
We’re told to run for 1 mile, instead we run for 2 miles, we do more than expected, at least more than we’re used to do.
And that’s great actually, it’s totally OK to take advantage of these days where we’re pumped.
The real challenge is when things get tough, when we just don’t feel like it, during these days we screw up the whole process by procrastinating and not being persistent enough.
So, How Can We Get Things Done When We Don’t Feel Like it?
The short answer: force yourself even when you don’t feel like it.
Even though this is absolutely true, still it’s not detailed and not specific.
Force yourself to do what?
So, let me tell you the main point of this article, the rule that you need to stick to when you don’t feel like doing things.
When you’re up, go for the maximum,
When you’re down, stick to the minimum.
That is it, that is all you need to know in order to keep going when things get tough, but let me explain it in details.
This simply means that you need to set a threshold, a baseline, for the minimum effort that you’re going to do, and no matter what happens, you never do less than that.
Usually the minimum is a lot easier, and it takes less power to force yourself to do it.
Back to our gym example, when you’re pumped, you can go to the gym and lift more weight and basically train harder, you do your maximum, but what about when you don’t even feel like going?
In this case you can set your minimum as “just showing up” so that when you feel down, you don’t force yourself to go there and pump that iron like a maniac, you only force yourself to do your minimum which is just showing up in this case.
And actually when you push yourself to do your minimum, you may find that it’s not that difficult, you’ll start getting momentum and feel better, and as a result you can go for more than just your minimum.
Instead of just showing up, you can end up doing really great.
As simple as this may sound, it makes all the difference in the world. It’s a lot easier to force yourself to do that minimum instead of that maximum.
And don’t get me wrong, once you force yourself to do the minimum, you need to try to push a little more, why is that?
Sometimes you’re just not feeling like it, you can do it but you don’t want to, in this case you simply force yourself to do that minimum, it doesn’t take much will power, and then push from there all the way to the top.
However, sometimes you really have to stick to that minimum, you’re really feeling down and drained, maybe because of bad news, things out of your control and you’re just feeling down.
If you lost 10000$ in revenue while expecting to make 5000$, then you’re going to feel down.
If you’re going through a break up, you had really a wonderful relationship, and it’s all over now, of course you’re going to feel down.
During these times it’s very hard to feel motivated and energized, and it’s very tempting to just give up and do nothing, so doing the minimum effort will ensure that you remain consistent.
In other words, you lower your exceptions of yourself, as we’re going to see in a second.
And doing this for a while, will give you the strength that you need to go beyond your minimum.
If your minimum is just showing up, after a while you can show up and do a decent job, and soon you will become strong enough to set a new minimum that is much higher than your previous one.
Ideally, your minimum should be a small thing, yet it keeps the ball rolling and saves your progress.
The ideal example is if you want to reach a certain destination, then you need to fill your car with enough gas to reach there, let’s say that you need to fill half of the tank.
Here the minimum is to fill half of the tank, nothings less, otherwise you won’t reach where you’re going, yes you can fill more than just the half if you have more money or you want to secure yourself, but the minimum is the half or you’ll run out of gas before you reach.
Also if you’re using the subway, you need to make sure you have enough money to get you there in the first place, that’s the minimum.
If you’re working out at a gym, you can set your minimum as just showing up.
I’ve been using this for a while now, no matter how I feel, I just pick my bag up and go to the gym, most of the time I end up feeling great after the workout.
I also have a minimum with my writings, every day I wake up at 6 am, regardless of how I feel, about 6:30 am I’m in front of my laptop writing or taking care of other important project, I’m not allowed to do anything else until 7:30 am.
So my minimum here is to wake up at 6 am and get to work at 6:30 am, at 7:30 am, I’m free to go and do whatever (Usually I stay until 9 – 10:30 am, remember momentum?).
Even if I’m still sleepy or I don’t know what to write about, I only think about getting my minimum done, I just focus on waking up on time and getting down to work.
This helps to be consistent with your approach, now I don’t even struggle to wake up at 6 am, consider that few months ago I used to wake up at 12 pm or even 1 pm and only once in a while get things done (only when I feel like it).
Motivation is not something that you can rely on to build habits or to stick to your long-term plans and resolutions.
It’s going to run out! Sorry for not being so positive, but you’re going to go through days where you don’t feel like doing anything, where all you want to do is to hit the snooze button and go back to sleep.
The only solution to this, and the hardest one, is to force yourself to do things even when you don’t feel like it, we all know that.
That’s going to make you stronger to handle more unpleasant activities and develop your discipline.
That said, we need to focus on forcing ourselves in a more strategic way.
You need to set a baseline, draw a line on the sand, for what is your minimum, what are the things that you’re going to do regardless of how you’re feeling.
When you’re up, do your maximum,
When you’re down, stick to your minimum.
Your minimum should be a small thing, yet it keeps the ball rolling.
Because when we feel down, we don’t think clearly, so it’s important to draw that line and declare “no matter how I feel, this (your minimum) must be done”.
And as the name suggests, it should be small thing, small that you can’t say no. Actually small things which are consistent are better than those “big spikes” that come and go.
Sticking to these small things is going to help you become persistent and also it will help you to establish strong foundations for good habits that you can build a character on.
Have you ever set a minimum before like “just showing up” for the gym or other stuffs? Do you believe that it’s better to do small things consistently than to do “big thing” once in a while? Speak your mind 🙂