How to get motivated?: Staying motivated isn’t easy. Why is it that your motivation seems to do a runner at the point when you need it the most? And how come no amount of hype can seem to kick start you into action.
When you’re unmotivated it can feel like you’re drifting without a purpose or flitting from one task to another without fully completing anything to a satisfactory level.
As you begin to wonder why you just can’t seem to get your shit together to do those little things which you know will help you move forward, feelings of guilt, inadequacy and frustration can begin to bubble to the surface.
So what can we do? when it feels like it’s we need a NASA size rocket up our backside to get us back in the game.
Well talking of NASA, a few months ago I happened upon an interview with Mel Robbins: a motivational speaker, coach and creator of the 5 second rule- an idea that was originally inspired by the countdown of a NASA rocket launch.
Mel’s take on motivation turned everything I had previously thought on its head and completely blew me away.The first point that really hit home in this interview was the statement she made that motivation is total BS; a complete load of baloney!
According to Mel Robbins we’d all be better off if we stopped trying to get motivated…Whaaat?! Yep, you heard me. Stop with all that searching and trying to gear yourself up to get cracking with making those changes, because here’s the thing…. you’re naturally going to kick back at making changes because change can be scary, uncomfortable and overwhelming. Ok so I knew that much but what has that got to do with lack of motivation. Isn’t this the part where motivation is most important? Well no! apparently not. Now, this is the part that really surprised me…. Mel states that you’re NEVER going to feel ready or motivated to do the things that are scary, uncomfortable and such.
That last statement right there was the real ‘aha’ moment for me. All of a sudden things made complete sense. The many times I promised myself I’d start tomorrow and failed to follow through. All the procrastinating I did before finally getting down to it. The times I felt wholly inadequate for not being able to make a start on what seemed to be the simplest of things. It all created a wonderful sense of relief (sigh)
Well, now you might be thinking if motivation is going to elude me it doesn’t exactly bode well for achieving my life goals, where does leave me with getting things done. Before we go any further as to how we can still achieve our goals let’s take a little look at the reasoning behind this perspective.
By nature as human beings, we are not necessarily designed to do what’s uncomfortable, scary and so on. But here’s the rub, to make change and progress in our lives we are often called upon to step outside of our comfort zone, to do those very things, challenge ourselves and face our fears.
When faced with challenges, uncertainty and fears our natural instinct is to hesitate before taking action .When this happens the brain goes into protection mode. To our brain hesitating equals discomfort which then equals potential harm. Now because our brains are totally amazing and one its many functions is to protect and keep us safe if it perceives danger of any kind it will look for ways to protect you. It will pull you away from any sort of action that will it thinks will cause you harm. It will convince you into thinking that you shouldn’t do something, get up to all sorts of mental tricks to dissuade you and that folks is the Mother of all de-motivators!
Mel Robbins explains that just a microsecond of hesitation is all it takes to send a stress signal to the brain, a signal that it then interprets as a sign to go into protection mode…hello, lack of motivation!
So the upshot is this, you are only truly going to feel motivated to do the things you enjoy or are comfortable with. This also means that you’re never going to feel fully ready to make that leap out of your comfort zone which let’s face it isn’t much good for doing those things which are difficult but necessary for self-development. Well, heck that doesn’t sound too promising does it!
So What now?
What do we do with this new insight, how can we combat this lack of motivation which according to this way of thinking just isn’t going to be there when we need it the most anyway. These 3 steps may help you to move forward even when you’re not feeling the motivation.
Step 1: changing your mindset around motivation:
• Stop waiting to get motivated or be ready
• Know that you are only one decision away from changing your life, from changing your
career or improving your lifestyle or relationships and you don’t need motivation to do that.
Know you don’t need to be motivated to take action.
• Know that you have the instinct to know what to do you just need to act on it.
• Know that you just have to get out of your own way.
• Know that it’s emotions that drive those moments of hesitation and the little decisions we make every day that keeps us away from doing the challenging and scary stuff. Being aware of this means you can use the 5 second rule to override lack of action.
Step 2: Setting intentions and goals.
Setting simple intentions and goals to reflect the first small thing you need to do in order to move forward helps to switch your brain into the next step: taking action. The brain sees the intentions and goals as a checklist of sorts. It being so clever and all will then try to remind you to carry it out. Once you have these reminders the trick is to move from having a thought about doing something into action as quickly as possible. This then bypasses the hesitation stage that puts the brain into protection mode.
Step 3: The 5 second rule .
Mel Robbins devised the 5 second rule to launch herself into action when she was going through a period in life where she had lost all motivation. The rule is a simple yet effective way to fool the brain into making decisions that will lead you into action and on to progress.
The 5 second rule interrupts the automatic thoughts, habits and behaviours that you pay no mind to but what keeps you on the same old track and gives your brain a chance to sabotage things. It fills that micro-moment before you hesitate and allows you to access a window of opportunity that moves you from having an idea about doing something into actual action.
The rule uses the action of counting backwards from 5 to 1 to awaken the action part of your brain. This is the part of your brain you need to change behaviour, thoughts and learn new ways. When you reach the number 1 it also acts as a prompt and a trigger for getting you going. It also teaches you to become a person who thinks and then steps into action.
Using the rule couldn’t be any easier. You simply count backwards from 5 to 1 for any situation that you want to turn around.
Ways in which you can apply the 5 second rule:
• In your interactions with people: changing the way in which you speak and behave towards those around you.
• To jump-start you into action. Countdown and carry out the intention you have set ie get out the door for a walk, getting out of bed on time or picking up the phone to make that call you’ve been putting off.
• Changing your thought patterns.Countdown to shift your mind away from negative self-talk and replace it with thoughts or mental visualisations that make you happier and more confident.
• Use it to flip a feeling or emotion you’re having from a negative one to something more positive and helpful.
There are many more ways that the 5 second rule can help you to change situations. I have found the 5 second rule to be particularly effective for kicking me out of procrastination and into action.
Mel’s perspective on motivation and her simple 5 second rule has been a godsend to me. It has made me re-evaluate the need to be ready or to have the motivation to get things done. It has taken away the pressure of find ways to get or stay motivated.
Why not try it for yourself. Learn more about the 5 second rule and Mel Robbins here.