The Key to Success is Not Motivation

“We are the end product of our choices. Not the end product of our motivations.”

I always had this idea in my head that the best way to achieve my goals were scraping together enough good reasons to do it. Allow me to use a simple example.

I wanted to lose weight, but I have no self control. I don’t know how my body functions even though I know everything about health and how food functions. So here is a perfect example of the logic I had (it’s ridiculous, I know): If I quit eating sugary foods, I will lose weight. If I lose weight, I will be happy. If I am happy, I will not need to drink as much alcohol. Generally, by quitting sugar my life will be significantly better. I may even find that my skin looks perkier and, in fact, according to that one WebMD article, sugar is actually poisonous and addictive!! So just quit it already!

So I set out on my journey to quit eating bullshit food and replacing them by healthier options. I started going to the gym even. But I could not seem to stop myself from grabbing a piece of chocolate or breaking a cookie in half and believing that it’s better than a whole cookie. And later on in the day I’d eat a banana and some grapes because it’s just fruit, and one and a half teaspoons of sugar in my coffee. Because it’s better than two. That’s not so bad right? Result: I lost 0 weight. My motivation is hanging by a thread and my self-esteem? What self-esteem?

What I have finally learned about this mysterious key to achieving the things I set out for myself, is not reasons to do them. It’s not using reasons as a means of motivation to keep going when it’s cold outside and I don’t feel like going to the gym.

Did I seriously think that if I was to explain to a gambler the importance and benefits that quitting his gambling addiction would have, that he could spend more time with his family, build more meaningful relationships, save extra money for important things, and generally just live a happier life, that he would quit?

Of course not! What the fuck was I thinking? I wasn’t thinking. I was using reasons to motivate myself in the same way that I was using excuses for my shitty behavior. Always justifying something somewhere.

The thing is reasons don’t serve as motivation, in fact it serves merely as a positive side effect if you’re lucky enough. Nothing else. Wow! All the reasons in the world is not going to change our behavior, help us be sober, make us lose weight. No. It comes down to one thing, and one thing only:

Choice.

We are the end product of our choices, not the end product of our motivations. Choice doesn’t need anything. It doesn’t need reasons, it doesn’t need explanations or elaboration, it doesn’t have to be justified to others or made sense of. Choice needs jack shit! Choice needs itself. Choice is selfish, without being a dick. It’s merely saying, “these are the things that I want, and these are the things I don’t want in my life.”

Choice.