I’m neither motivated nor inspired every day of the week.
In fact, I’m often demotivated and uninspired.
Sometimes I’m not even disciplined. I’m even downright lazy fairly often.
This might be hard to digest for people that know me. I work as a self-employed coach in both martial arts and performance coaching. I have an eight-month old daughter and relationship with my partner to maintain. I pay my bills, set up meetings, study courses, get qualified, read books, listen to audiobooks, exercise in various ways every week, play video games, compete in martial arts, make time for friends and family and jerk off on a regular basis.
I do a lot of things.
But very often I am demotivated, uninspired, undisciplined and lazy.
But none of those things matter.
The only way those things matter is if they are all of the time. And nothing is all of the time.
We can get into vicious cycles in our heads where, for example, we feel lazy. On one day we order pizza, we binge something on Netflix, we play video games and then lament our choices over an indulgence induced stomach ache.
Then on top of that, we feel bad.
“I’m so damn lazy today.” We label it. We assume it as part of our identity, and we don’t simply let it pass.
Then we do it again the same week.
“Oh my god I’m so lazy, people are even SAYING I’m lazy. God, what’s the matter with me?”
What we don’t often realise is that these come in cycles.
Kind of like getting a nasty cold. Whenever I get one I know for a fact that someday I won’t have a cold, and I’ll return to normality. It sucks for now but it’s ok, it will pass.
I’ve never beaten myself up for having a cold. I don’t know anyone who ever got mad at themselves for having a cold. It just happens, and you deal with it and let it pass.
Periods, where you lack inspiration, motivation and discipline, may also last some time. You may even wallow in it for a little bit.
It’s not a bad thing. It’s just part of the cycle.
What you can consciously do, however, is ride the momentum when you feel inclined to break out of the funk. Then you can get a shit load of stuff done.
I operate very largely on momentum.
Once I get going, I’m a machine. Whether it’s training or learning, I’m the same way. If I can get a tiny little bit of something going, I run with it.
For me, doing the dishes often turns into cleaning the kitchen before I stop. Starting a new course often turns into three new qualifications done at the same time. The quest to learn a song on the guitar turns into a study on new picking styles and chord progressions that can last 2–3 months at a time.
So what if you have periods where you don’t want to do anything? As long as it’s temporary and the general trend of your life is forwards and upwards, you can forgive yourself some slip-ups. You can even enjoy them.
This is what works for me. Other people prefer simply to keep going at a consistent, moderate pace. There are others still who can run at the red line for six days and then crash on number seven.
This message isn’t for those people.
This is for those who beat on themselves mentally for failure, for lack of perceived achievement, for laziness.
To you, I say this. Just try and find that first, “un-failable” step in the right direction. Something so minuscule and achievable that it can be done in maybe 2 minutes or less.
For example. Want to lose twenty kilos? Start by standing up, and decide that on that day you’re going to walk on the escalator and stand on the train. You might even walk to work.
Want to write a book? Write a sentence. Take it from there.
Want to learn to cook? Get the timing down perfectly on rice or pasta.
What is the first and most basic achievable step in the vague direction you want to go. Do that when you’re ready to. Then catch that wave of momentum and ride it.
Did you do it? What’s the next easiest step forwards. Ride it as long as you can and then rest. And forgive yourself for it. Maybe you needed a breather.
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