Motivation is a Luxury

motivation is a luxury

My heart sank. I couldn’t believe my alarm was ringing. It can’t be 5am already, it can’t. I really don’t feel like this. I snuggled deeper into my duvet, imagining the cold I would feel when I got up. I really, REALLY don’t feel like this. After a few minutes, I slumped out of bed with a sigh. A while later I was doing what I really, REALLY didn’t feel like doing. Gym.

Not Doing What I Don’t Feel Like Doing

Later that day, I received a call from someone who wanted me to give a presentation to a group of people. Sure, I said. I put the phone down and realised that I could start preparing straight away. “But, I don’t feel like it”, I said to myself, and promptly starting going through my emails. This time I let myself off the hook even though it was the perfect opportunity to get going.

In the first story, I chose to do something I didn’t feel like doing. We all do this, very often.

  • Ever brushed your teeth late at night when you didn’t feel like it?
  • Ever had a huge party one night, then got up to go to work the next day, even though you didn’t feel like it?
  • Ever visited your in-laws even though you didn’t feel like it?
  • Ever got up to nurse a crying baby – even though you didn’t feel like it?
  • Ever agreed to pick your teen up at midnight, even though you’d much rather be asleep in bed?

Very often we do things we don’t feel like doing. We are totally CAPABLE of doing things we don’t like or don’t feel like. That’s life.

In the second story there was something I didn’t feel like doing, and so I chose not to do it. I was buying into the belief that “I can’t do it because I don’t feel like doing it”. This is not such a good thing to be doing – procrastination causes stress eventually.

Most of us start buying into that belief when we are at school.

  • I can’t study because I am so unmotivated.
  • I can’t start on that project because I really don’t feel like it.

If I Could Only Get Motivated, Then I’d do the Work

Very often we believe that we have to be motivated first and then we can do the work.

NOT True!

We are totally capable of doing things we don’t feel like doing.

We DO NOT have to be motivated first.

When I started doing gym that morning, I wasn’t motivated. At ALL. Half way through the session I started feeling energised and enjoyed myself. By the end of the session, I was tired and sweaty and said to myself “That was good, I really needed that!”

Very often, if we choose to do the task we don’t feel like doing, and we begin it, we find that the motivation follows anyway.

The belief: “I have to be motivated before I can do the work” is false and limits us.

It prevents us from being as successful as we potentially could be. It’s one of the ways that we sabotage ourselves. We believe this thought and we treat it like a fact. Then let ourselves off the hook and we don’t do the work. If we’ve deeply integrated this belief, we don’t even feel guilty for not doing the work.

Throw Out the Limiting Belief, Bring in the Empowering One

If you want to move ahead more successfully in the world, throw out that belief.

Practice this one rather: “As soon as I start working, I’ll feel more motivated”.

If you are feeling unmotivated, say this to yourself: “I really don’t feel like doing this AND I’m going to do it anyway”. That’s how I get myself out of bed and to gym.

It’s always useful to acknowledge your feelings rather than denying them or making them wrong. Follow this by deciding to do the work anyway.

Now don’t get me wrong – motivation is GREAT and a wonderful way to get you going. There’s nothing wrong with working on upping your motivation levels. When you are feeling motivated, and you start the work, it tends to flow easily and effortlessly. You tend to enjoy yourself. The time flies because you are so absorbed in what you are doing.

Motivation might be a luxury –

you don’t need it,

but like all luxuries,

it’s wonderful to have!

Recommend Resources

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Audible - If you have trouble finding time to read, audiobooks are a great way to listen to books while commuting, working out, cooking, or any other activity. You can try Audible for free with the Audible free trial.

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25 thoughts on “Motivation is a Luxury”

  1. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with this! It rings completely true for me! I often find myself burdened by the false belief that I need to be motivated before I can do the work, and then allow myself to put it off, always at some later cost to myself. But the times when I manage to just start doing it, the motivation naturally follows because the more I get into the work, the more engaging it becomes and the more I naturally just want to keep going with it.

    So the question now is how to make yourself cross that hurdle more often than not?

      1. You know, I guess there is some strange energy flowing around us when we “take that action”. So, it definitely isn’t motivation but some subconscious pattern that pushes us to do it anyway. And it can be habitual too! Call it “Life Source Energy”?

  2. You are so right, motivation is a luxury and one that we should give ourselves often. Sometimes just changing the way you think about something, such as ‘I want to do this’ as opposed to ‘I need to do this’ can motivate you. Thanks for this great post and awesome download. I can’t wait to get working on it.

    1. Mantha, you are so correct about this. The kind of language we use has a huge influence on how we feel about something… Saying “I want to” is very powerful.

  3. SRIVIDHYA IYER

    Nice article. And truly needed for me. Motivation. I always used to see for reasons for not working out, not loosing my weight, and always will pacify myself that i dont have the right motivation. which i was looking from outside. Well said, its just inside us and we need to motivate ourselves. And the download article also looks awesome. Will surely give my feedback once i start reading it and implementing it the right way. Thanks. Waiting to read more such articles from your end.
    Thanks.

  4. My therapist always said “You do the thing first then you get motivated.” I believe many people get this backwards.

    You know after dinner would be great for you, your family, your dog but you just can’t get it together. Once you’re up and at it and on the walk you feel motivated to do it again!

    Thanks for this post :)

  5. I had a similar “light bulb” moment awhile back. I wanted to get fit, but knew I needed to work out. The problem was that I usually didn’t feel like it. I used that excuse for a long time. Then one day, just out of the blue, this thought popped into my head: “You’re NEVER going to feel like it. If you wait until you feel like it, you’ll never do it.”

    It was an epiphany of sorts for me that day. The next time I thought about going to the gym (and I don’t even go in the morning), I just resigned myself to the idea that I knew I didn’t feel like it, but I was going to do it anyway. And that’s what I do every time now – I KNOW that I don’t FEEL like it, but I just do it anyway. Somehow coming to that simple realization made it easier. And yes, once I’m done, I’m so glad I went.

    Thanks for the post!

  6. I get fed up with the oldies telling me how to be. This however makes sense. I am bored to death with where I live and their actions towards me but philosohpically I can cope.

  7. Life is dull in the countryside. People don’t have adequate entertainment to avoid tittle tattle as an interest. It’s a pity they can’t talk about themselves rather than an outcast like me.

  8. I hate to use the Nike slogan, but… I have become one who works without motivation. Sometimes I am motivated, but more often I just do it. I have learned to become disciplined as a writer and a musician. So yes, motivation is a luxury. The true test is whether you can keep moving when you’re not motivated. http://www.danerickson.net

  9. Now i’m really, really glad I went back to look at my old emails, because i seriously needed this right now. just finished a project i had majorly procrastinated on–all because i had no motivation, yet i pushed through.

    thanks so much for this, tho it’s a bit late for thanking you. have gone ahead and taken a loot at your book–reading that is on my list of daily objectives now.

  10. Thank You Kristen :)..I never thought of it this way..My life is definitely going to get better now..Thanks a ton

  11. What if I did the thing I have to do, and it didn’t feel good when I’m done, for example I woke up at 5 to go to the GYM, and I did not say “That was good, I really needed that!”

    What should I do? please tell me.

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