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Want Motivation? Act First!

Weekly Topic: My ways of increasing motivation

Mar 9, 2021 | 2 Comments

If you're like me, you struggle a lot with motivation. There are so many important things you could do with your day, so where do you start? If you have too much to do, do you get anxious about which one to do first? What if you don't succeed? What if it's too hard? These worries might stop you from starting in the first place. Maybe you run away from your to-do list and watch three hours of Youtube videos. Now it's three hours later, and you feel even worse!

Mark Manson, an author I enjoy, wrote an article (WARNING: he uses a couple of bad words) several years ago that really helped me understand motivation. Manson believes that first, we feel an emotional inspiration.
"I'm so fat, I feel unattractive." "My English is terrible, I feel stupid."
That emotional inspiration gives us motivation.
"I want to lose weight." "I want to improve my speaking."
That motivation causes us to act.
"I'm going to the gym." "I'm going to sign up for a lesson with a tutor."

So, inspiration leads to motivation, which leads to action.

The problem is that the emotion we feel might give us motivation, but it also might take away motivation! If I feel terrible about my body, that might motivate me to go to the gym, but it also might motivate me to avoid the gym. If I feel terrible about my English, it might motivate me to sign up for a lesson, but it also might motivate me to avoid lessons because I don't want to feel embarrassed about how bad my English is.

Manson has a solution: act first!

Instead of waiting to feel inspiration, just do something. Just go on a walk. Just read an easy news article in English. When you take action, even a small action, you build confidence.
"I'm walking!" "I'm reading!"
Then, you feel good emotions about what you accomplished.
"I walked a kilometer, I feel healthy!" "I read a whole article, I feel smarter!"
This emotional inspiration builds more motivation.
"I want to exercise more!" "I want to keep learning!"

So, action leads to inspiration, which leads to motivation.

If you have trouble getting motivated, just take action. Try it today!

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