What is it you need to do, or for that matter what you dream of doing? Both are constants in our lives for most people, and for most are often sadly unachieved. Do you want to exercise more? Lose weight? Work in a different field? Become better at the work you do? Read your Bible completely through or investigate your faith and learn more? Serve others in some way? Play and instrument? Give and participate in causes you know are serving others? I could go on forever with listing things, but you get what I mean. There is a never-ending litany of things we will go to our grave wishing we had done. We will beat ourselves up our whole life for not doing those things, too.
I have a favorite phrase that has always inspired me. “It’s not the things you do in life that will stay in your mind so much as the things you didn’t do.” So why am I harping on this? Because I think that waiting for the inspiration to do something is the wrong way to go about getting where you think you might like to be. Whether it’s cutting the lawn or getting a bachelors degree, the secret to being motivated is to start doing whatever it is and then the motivation will come after. I like psychologist Jerome Bruner’s way of putting it: “You’re more likely to act yourself into feeling that feel yourself into actions.”
I remember when I first started working out. I was exhausted and I felt like I wanted to throw up. I was so exhausted I went to bed at 7 p.m. that night. But it’s strange looking back on that miserable (forced at the time) experience…now I feel an absolute demand in me to run and lift if I miss even a day at it. It didn’t take long to get to that point either.
Interestingly, I think this applies to so many things that it is mind-boggling. Consider for a second, the idea that love and happiness comes more as a by-product of actions than it does as a full-blown feeling before hand. Do the things you know you should do in a relationship, and the relationship grows.
So if you want to grow in a certain direction, start with the right attitude and take actions NOW that will propel you in that direction. Don’t be deterred at first by the lack of a feeling of motivation, it will come as the by-product of your progress.