Finding Motivation

DISCLAIMER: THIS POST IS KIND OF CLICHE, BUT IT’S STUFF I NEEDED TO GET OUT OF MY BRAIN. ALSO SORRY FOR WRITING IN SECOND PERSON, I’M NOT YELLING AT YOU I PROMISE.

A lot of magazines, blogs, journals and other media platforms are constantly discussing and analyzing what the various “keys to success” are, trying to sell their readers a comprehensive list of traits they must have in order to achieve success. Despite the extensive quantity of content that there is on this subject, I truly believe there is only one trait one must have in order to achieve any sort of success. Motivation.

Motivation is the most important trait to have when leaping over the hurdles to success, but it’s also the hardest one to build up and maintain. It applies to all aspects of life; work, fitness, personal life, future goals and dreams, all things that rely on our own personal motivation so that one day we can accomplish what we want. It’s what sets apart the dreamers and the achievers, the people who aren’t afraid to pull on their boots and go through the processes of making their dreams come true.

I think it’s completely normal to struggle with finding motivation sometimes. The excuses to make the choice to not do something can be endless, generally resulting in a lack of motivation to accomplish anything. Falling into ruts and traps can happen easily and the effects of being in one can be compounding if you don’t fight to get out. It’s like one of the principles of inertia that I “learned” about in physics: An object at rest will remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force.

The spiral downward is dangerous and the longer you let yourself fall into it, the longer you’re going to have to crawl back out. Not going to the gym today means that you’re already a day behind where you want to be. It’s recognizing that these little excuses that hold us back are not worth listening to, and choosing to do what we know will set us on the path to success that is the key. While sometimes difficult or nearly impossible, it’s what needs to be done. There is so much pleasure that comes with being able to cross off an item on a never-ending to-do list, a sign that actions are leading in the right direction, that our efforts are not a waste but are adding up to something.

With motivation comes inspiration, and generally success or some sort of accomplishments also follow. Things that motivate me are lists of things I need to do, with an aching desire to cross things off the list. Tracking progress is a great way to stay motivated; every time I look at my Endomondo running app and see how I’ve increased the distance and average min/mile over the past month, it motivates me to run more, to improve my stats even more and set goals for the future. This is just one example of goal keeping and tracking progress, but there are so many more ways to apply the concept to our daily lives.

Stop picking up the remote instead of your gym bag. Stop hesitating to send that email to share that idea that you have that could blossom with the help of others. Stop showing up for work at a job you hate instead of searching for something better. Put down the box of Cheez-its and pick up the bag of spinach. It’s all about these little victories that can add up to so much more in the grand scheme of our lives.

Now that I’ve revealed all of my thoughts surrounding motivation, I want to know,

What motivates you?

Some of my motivational internet resources:

James Altucher’s Blog

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