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Blog: Not Feeling Motivated? Try This Simple Solution

By Dr. Laura on May, 24 2022
Blog: Not Feeling Motivated? Try This Simple Solution

You know, I just don't feel very motivated to do the show today. I guess if I'm not motivated, I shouldn't bother, right?


I get callers now and then who say, β€œWell, I want to lose weight. I want to get this degree. I want to finish this paper for school. I want to do this. I want to do that. But I'm just not motivated.”  


As though you needed to be motivated to get the job done. You need to be motivated to get your ass up and go take a walk.  You need to be motivated to keep up a healthy regimen, complete your responsibilities, clean your house, and take a shower.  


Can we dump the motivational speakers and all of that?  I think we need to dump that. I think it's risen to the level of psychobabble. β€œI don't feel motivated. Therefore, I'm not gonna.” 


Does that sound like a bratty adolescent? I think so.  


The point is to do things when you don't feel like it. I have a lot of responsibilities, obligations, and tasks. I don't always feel motivated.


Sometimes, I feel darn lazy about it.  


You don't need to be motivated. Do you know what motivation even means? Think about it. How would you define it? Do you just say, β€œFeeling like it?”


Motivation is a drive, a drive that moves us toward a desire or a goal. However, it doesn't last long. It comes in bursts of energy, commitment, and enthusiasm. 


What do you do the rest of the time? The rest of the time you don't feel motivated, you still have to do these things because they're necessary to move forward toward your goal, be it health, work, spending time with your kid or your spouse.  


Nobody is motivated all the time. Motivation is fleeting and you can't count on it. Does that mean you sit around and wait for a little puff and then move? Will you then sit around and wait for another little puff and move? No. 


I'll tell you what makes the difference. Routines.  


Imagine you're an athlete and you have a routine of getting up and having a certain breakfast. There are certain workout things you do, there are certain meditative things that you do. Some people have some weird little things that others laugh at. These kinds of rituals reduce stress and anxiety because you do them thoughtlessly, without thought - literally just without thought. 


If you don't have a routine, then you worry and you overthink. That's why a lot of athletes don't do well. They overthink it.  


I’ve told you the story of an elderly tennis coach who called me to the net after seeing me get frustrated when I didn't hit the ball as well as I wanted to.  


He told me, β€œOnce you hit the ball, it’s gone. It should be gone from your mind. When it’s gone from your racket, it's gone. Anything that goes from your racket anywhere else, it’s gone, it disappears, it never happened. Your job is to wait for the next ball.”  


That was eye opening for me. I was overthinking it.  


I have a routine that I do before going on-air. I don't sit around and go, β€œOh God, I can't wait to get on the air!”  


I love what I do, especially when I’m very productive with some callers when their lives have changed by looking at something differently. Those things just give me tons of happiness. But, you can't anticipate that will always happen. I don't want to worry about whether it's going to happen or not. I still have a full routine. 


Successful people will tell you they have routines and they pretty much stick to them. They aren’t being weird. In fact, it's the opposite of being weird. Rituals and routines are great because they are a regular set of actions that we do consistently and it makes us feel like we're in control. The more you feel like you're in control, the less you'll be stressed and anxious. 


What if you were having cardiac surgery and the heart surgeon came in and went over to the table and said, β€œYeah, I don't feel motivated,” then turned around and walked out? 


Don't wait for motivation. If your heart surgeon was waiting for motivation, you'd be dead on the table. The surgeon has a routine. By the time the routine is all set, the surgeon is focused on the next step, which is to cut you open and make it better. 


I have a routine when I take on something new. I have to build to the level of having a routine and until I do that, it's nervous making. When I first started sailing, I knew the front of the boat. I knew the back of the boat. That was pretty much it.  


I have a routine on the boat. By the time we turn on the engine to get out of the slip, I'm in the race. I like when the tactician says to me, β€œSo, Doc, are you ready?” 


I'm born ready. I'm ready ready. Give me a great start.  


Sometimes, we have starts that are so hair-raising, I stop breathing just to make sure we didn't go over early. Last week, I think we were one second shy of being early. The truth is if you're not early, sometimes you're not trying hard enough to make a good start. 


Start thinking of how you're going to have routines even around dieting and exercise. What's your routine? 


I have a warm-up routine that takes about seven to nine minutes, depending on how much I talk. Just this morning, I said to my trainer, "I'm just tired today.”  


β€œIt’s 7:30 AM, what do you mean you're already tired today?” he said.  


β€œI don't know, I just feel tired today. It's been a stressful week and weekend. I had a lot of things in my mind. I'm just tired today,” I replied.  


I still did my warm up routine, and you know what? I had a ton of energy. Do you know why? I just put my mind and body into the routine and didn't keep thinking about how tired I am today. I'm not even tired now. 


My trainer upped the curl by three pounds and if you're a weightlifter, you know three pounds can feel like lifting a whole building when you're already at the edge. 


I hope you all understand now. Forget the motivation; it's crap. Develop rituals and routines.  


When people get up to hit the ball, they take the bat, they tap their shoes, it’s part of the routine to get into the moment.  


It's very hard to just get into the moment in the middle of a sailboat race. If somebody just dropped me into the boat and said go, even with all the years’ experience, it would probably take me about five minutes for my body and my mind to get into their routine of feeling the heel of the boat and the breeze on my face because I didn't work up to it.  


If you have a paper to do, have a routine. It's the only way. Motivation is fleeting, and you can't count on it.






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