I recently put a poll in on my Instagram stories (if you’re not having fun with me there already, come find me!) asking which of the things I usually talk about helps my audience most.
And in giving a few options, the overwhelming #1 answer was: motivation.
So it got me thinking about motivation – especially at the beginning of a new year, we’re closing in on the first month and motivation either already has waned (like, a LOT) or we can feel it’s beginning to.
The new and shiny has worn off and we’re now in the dull gray end of January (literally – lots of beat-up-looking snow).
PLENTY of resolutions are already in the 2021 goal graveyard, and several more will be six feet under in a couple weeks (research has estimated up to 80% of resolutions fail by mid February – yikes!).
But what separates those that end up with RIPs over them and the ones who are still flourishing?
Is it really just a matter of motivation?
These two definitions are sufficient for what we’re delving into today.
- The reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.
- The general desire or willingness of someone to do something.
The first being a specific set of reasons, the second being a more general idea of motivation.
See, it’s easy to get an inflated sense of the role of motivation this time of year because motivation is really (I mean REALLY) high.
The new year brings a can-do attitude with a sprinkle of magic, making us all invincible and certain that we’ll accomplish everything we set our minds to.
Then reality hits and on Monday we go back to work five pounds heavier from the holiday treats and eggnog.
We made all these plans and goals when we had high motivation, but when motivation dwindled, those plans and goals are now beyond unrealistic.
So What Gives?
As you might have guessed – we’re exceptionally good at setting goals and resolutions when motivation is high, but we find ourselves up a creek when motivation wears off.
And if you’ve been reading for any amount of time, you’ll probably have guessed the solution to waning motivation: HABITS.
Yes ma’am!! Right you are!
Motivation comes and goes – whether it’s your own motivation or the effect my motivating efforts have on you.
But if you have a plan for when motivation wanes – aka habits – then you won’t see your consistency go to shit… it’ll still be there chugging along because you’ve got the habits in place to make it so.
When our motivation is peaking, we quickly forget about how we’re wired for laziness (it’s science, not your fault).
So when planning your habits, to best set yourself up for success, plan them for when your motivation is at its lowest point.
If you’re questioning me here and thinking I’m nuts, stick with me for a few more lines and it’ll make sense.
Even though you can take advantage of the high motivation now, odds are it won’t last. So if you plan for low motivation, and start the habit now, it’ll carry on even as motivation dwindles – thus maintaining the habit.
It’s akin to “slow and steady wins the race.”
If you can do the habit with super high motivation, great! Buuuuuttt you also have to be able to do the habit with super low motivation… so plan for the low end.
I’m not out to make myself obsolete – I do like helping motivate people to get healthy. But for when I’m sipping an umbrella cocktail on vacay or playing in the garden, you won’t need me to motivate you because it’ll be something you can do even with minimal motivation.