Ways to get motivated

Is motivation what you really need? Are you sure it isn’t discipline?

You can muster strong motivation to do something that interests you and still not get it done! Motivation does not lead directly to ‘execution’ of our desires.

According to motivational podcaster Jocko Willink, "motivaton" doesn’t really mean what we imagine it to mean. We imagine being "fired up", "eager" and "passionate". These are feelings. Willink says that motivation is not a feeling that someone else can give you. It is a reason for acting which, more often than not, you have to find for yourself.

Our motivation is the answer to the questions: "why should I do this?", "how will it help me?" Doing things is actually a chief source of motivation. Thinking "That was fun, let’s do it again", "I’m glad I did that, can’t wait till I do it again", "going there was a big help to me, I plan to go back", creates a kind of virtuous circle where motivation begets more motivation.

What you probably mean when you say "I need motivation" or "I can’t get motivated" is this: "I lack discipline", or "I need to discipline myself". Discipline is about doing rather than thinking. Willink himself rises at 4:30 AM, puts on the gym gear he laid out the previous night and starts his morning workout before even thinking.

If you are motivated to do something such as recovering from mental health issues, you know WHY you are going to do what you are going to do. You then need to plan WHAT and WHEN and HOW you are going to do it. Then you must commit to executing your plan.

That takes discipline. Discipline is obeying your own commands and carrying out your own decisions. If you decide you need to rise at 6:00 AM each day and work out for half an hour, you need to plan and prepare for that workout. Once everything is in place, you need to commit to executing it at the appointed time. If you do all of this and your alarm goes off at six and you still say "it’s t-t-too c-c-cold to get up!" you are disobeying your own orders. That is no longer a motivation issue, it’s a discipline issue.

By Warren Heggarty from Panorama Magazine


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