Motivation? What Motivation?

Todd Henry

Recently I had a really bad start to my day. I’m not going to go into the details, but let’s just say that it was not how I wanted to start my day, and it put a shadow over the rest of it. I still, however, had work to do for my job, a blog post to write for this site, and things to do around the house. By 9 AM, however, I felt pretty much zero drive to do any of it, but not doing these things weren’t an option.

First, I take my commitments seriously. That includes to my work colleagues, my family, my friends, and even to those of you who follow Better Me. Not living up to my commitments without a really good reason is not okay with me.

Second, getting those things done gives me a sense of accomplishment, which usually makes me feel good. Having things waiting to get done, knowing that they’re waiting, causes me stress.

Yesterday I was thinking about this when I heard a recent podcast about motivation by Todd Henry. Todd has a new book on the topic coming out this month (The Motivation Code), and will be a guest on the Better Me Podcast later in the month as well.

In the podcast Todd was giving a bit of an introduction to the ideas around the book and said something that got me thinking. He said that, and I’m paraphrasing here, it’s not about finding your  motivation to do an activity (like exercise, write,  do laundry). It’s not the task that motivates you, but what you bring to it (how you approach it). You may not like a task you need to do, but if you like the end result, the near or far reaching effects of you doing that, that’s where the motivation may come from.

He went on to remind listeners that sometimes we want the results that could come from us doing the task, but we don’t want to put the work in. That’s not how things work (usually). For example I can say that I want to be very fit, but I’m not going to eat healthy and exercise. Not going to happen. I won’t get fit without the work.

While I was listening to this podcast, I was jotting down a few notes in the mix of that, I wrote “Does this mean it’s the ‘Why’ that Simon Sinek talks about.” Maybe. Maybe I’ll get more insight into that from the book, or maybe I’ll ask Todd about it during the interview.

Anyway, the reasons that I gave for getting things done that day even after the shitty start, motivated me to do so. They also happen to fit with my “why”, which is my purpose statement and is reflected in my Manifesto (which I wrote after reading a blog post about Todd on having a manifesto). 

Sometimes, when we’re struggling, when we feel like we just want to sit in front of the TV or pull the covers up over our heads, we have to think past the tasks we’re putting off and see the bigger picture. What will the result of me getting that done? And if that doesn’t move you, how about what will be the result of not doing it?

Think  past the task. That’s probably not where the motivation is.

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