Motivation is not the starting point
Do you have lots of projects you want to get on with? You know, that bestseller you are going to write, the online shop you want to start, and that app you’ve always wanted to create? Those things that you wait for when the timing is right or when you feel motivated?
The common mistake that people make is waiting for motivation to hit them before they start doing anything. I am sure, like me, you have read so many 3 steps to motivation articles and you are so frustrated that despite following instructions and carrying out these steps, you are still not motivated and not achieving anything.
Here is the deal, the world does not remain stagnant until you acquire the magic pill of motivation.Motivation does not exist in a vacuum, it occurs only when you start making headway on something. If motivation is not the starting point then how can you get started on anything at all? The answer: habit.
1. The Creation of a Habit
If you look at many behaviour of authors and artists you will see that their work is usually the result of long term daily graft. The number one trait they have in common is that they all have the discipline to work on their craft on a daily basis. Often, this kind of work requires a person to make the point of purposefully taking action at a fixed time on a fixed day of the week.
In the case of an author or an artist, they might set a strict daily routine which is usually accompanied by a small goal. This could be something like write from 9am to noon and the goal would be 500 words or a short paragraph for an author. An artist could say that he will work from noon to 3pm and the goal would be to finish an outline on a draft.
At first, they would be aware of how difficult it is to get going, they would require huge amounts of discipline and they might even be easily distracted by other activities. As they repeat this daily routine however, it becomes easier and easier to get going and they might find that they feel something is amiss when they miss their routine for whatever reason.
When this happens it becomes a habit.
2. Habit and Motivation: The Not So Vicious Cycle
The beauty is that once a habit takes hold, you will find it easy to keep going because you are getting better each time you practise. Once a habit becomes second nature to you and you find it easier to take action daily, you will naturally get better at the task you have been practising. When you see yourself improve, you will then be motivated to do more and do better.
This is just human nature, in time you might even get into the Flow of things as explained here by MihalyCsikszentmihalyi in his book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. “Most enjoyable activities are not natural; they demand an effort that initially one is reluctant to make. But once the interaction starts to provide feedback to the person's skills, it usually begins to be intrinsically rewarding.”
It is a simple equation, you set a daily routine for a task, you achieve said routine, it becomes a habit, you engage in your habit, you get better at said task and your motivation grows. Habits can vary from person to person and it comes down to what suits your purpose.
3. A Routine must be set and followed
Habits always start from a task you want to achieve towards a bigger goal and you must start from setting a routine for yourself. Imagine this, you want to lose weight by exercising. How can you meet your weight loss and exercise goals if you turn up at the gym only when it is convenient for you?
4. A small goal must be set and achieved
When authors and artists work on their project which can sometimes last for as long as a year or even two, they start to lose sight of what they really achieve in a day. To combat that, they set small goals to be met each day. Think about the process, the steps you have to take. This is not a major goal like become New York Times Bestseller. This is your daily task, what you must achieve before you run off to do something else.
5. You will always rebel against something till you are good at it. Accept that.
Everybody loves doing what they are good at. That is just us humans. Before you get real good at something however, you will face days when you just don’t want to learn anymore. Accept it as part of life but don’t fall off the wagon.
Habits are not as difficult to build as people espouse them to be. Discipline to do something is not easy but it can be done when you know how to start, anyone who is anyone worth talking about will tell you that success is built by having the will to do something on a daily basis because it is the little things that add up. The little things grow to become big goals and before you know it, you will be one of the super motivated individuals.
What is the one habit you want to start building today? Get working on it!