3 Steps To Take When You “Lack Motivation” — And Why That’s A Dumb Thing To Say

Niklas Göke
Sep 28, 2015 · 5 min read

Look.

I get it.

It’s hard to get out of bed in the morning.

There are plenty of excuses not to, but I’m sorry, “I just lack motivation these days” isn’t one of them.

So here’s what I’ll do:

  1. Small rant about why that’s a dumb thing to say
  2. I’ll help you move past it

Deal?

Deal.

Why “I’m not motivated” is a dumb excuse

Here’s the problem with this statement:

It’s a generic excuse, that works for EVERYTHING.

It comes in all shapes and sizes:

“I don’t feel like it.”

“My game is off.”

“I can’t do this right now, I need to be motivated.”

That makes it sound like all your energy, all your drive to do anything, has been sucked out of you and your basically just a moving body.

That’s what I imagine someone with “no motivation whatsoever” to be like.

But you’re not lacking motivation.

You’re only lacking the motivation to do a very, very specific thing.

You’re not motivated to go run after a long workday. Okay, I understand that.

You’re not motivated to write 500 words first thing in the morning. Got it.

You’re not motivated to continue editing that forever unfinished video, because it would take you forever to get back into it. I’ve been there.

But do you see what happens?

Now this generic, all-cure excuse you can use for everything became a specific problem.

A specific problem that’s very much solvable. And that’s why it’s so scary to let go of your beloved “I’m not motivated”.

Because now, instead of asking the infinitely open-ended question:

“How can I motivate myself?”, all you have to ask is:

“How can I motivate myself to run 10k?”.

Once you pinned down what it actually is, that you lack the motivation to do, you can remove it.

Here’s how.

3 steps to get motivated to do a SPECIFIC thing

You can take these 3 simple steps to get to the root of any lack of motivation, find the actual problem and then throw something at it that’s specific to that problem.

Step 1: Find out what it REALLY is you’re procrastinating on.

Are you really putting off mowing your lawn, or do you never mow it anyways and just pretend it’s something that’s “in the way”?

Are you maybe just scared to start gardening and growing veggies because you simply know nothing about it?

There’s a great quote that goes like this: “If you really want to know, ask why 3 times.”

There’s an entire business strategy built around that.

Why do you never run after work?

Because you’re not motivated.

Why are you not motivated after work?

Because your job is exhausting.

Why is your job exhausting?

Because coworkers constantly bother you, 90% of which you hate.

Interesting. Turns out someone thought they avoided running due to a lack of motivation, when they just might have to look for another job.

So maybe you need to get motivated to start a side hustle.

Step 2: Find someone who’s done something that’s EXACTLY like the thing you want to do.

Guess who would be a great motivation to write more? A writer! Take a look at Jeff Goins, for example.

Want to up your basketball game? I know a guy who’s played a great deal of it quite well. His name is LeBron.

Need a kick in the butt to hustle your face off at your business? Let my friend Gary come to your rescue.

Pic via BizEpic

Our competitive nature lets us instinctively have the same reaction, every time we see someone who’s done something we want to do: “If he can do that, I can do that too.”

No matter how far ahead they might be, there’s always that flicker of “She’s no different than me.”

You need to jump on that flicker, and turn it into a fire.

Step 3: Binge watch their material

Watch, read, listen to and consume everything from them that you can get your hands on.

I’m serious.

You’re procrastinating already, you might as well procrastinate right into the work.

Because after a certain time of watching them, listening to their inspiring stories, their rallying talks and reading about their success, you’re gonna get so sick of it, you’ll eventually get your butt in gear.

That’s all there is to it.

The key to getting motivation right is to motivate yourself in a specific direction.

So just spend all of the time you spend procrastinating with getting motivated to do what it is you want to do.

This is the fastest way from “I’m not motivated to run” to running a 10k that I know of.

And I mean it. Because that’s exactly what I did.

Results

On June 14th, 2015 I had a really bad day. I procrastinated, wasted tons of time and I kicked myself a lot for not running the past few days.

I really wanted to run 10k in under an hour. I had run my first 10k in February, but was just shy of making it in 60 minutes.

But I “wasn’t motivated”. I hadn’t run in a few days, I was tired, my mind was all over the place.

So I watched a motivational video about Greg Plitt, a fitness coach who had recently passed away in a train accident.

I instantly thought: “Holy shit, this guy DIED training and I’m sitting here whining. It’s not a big deal to run 10k in under an hour.”

So I watched it again. And again. And again.

And at 8 pm I put on my shoes and went out the door. I listened to the audio of the video while running. I must have listened to it a 100 times that day, but when I finished, the clock showed 56 minutes and 28 seconds.

Boom!

Click the pic for the actual fb update.

I did the exact same thing yesterday and today. I binge watched Gary Vaynerchuk’s talks to motivate myself to hustle more, which is the exact reason I started writing this post at 9 pm on a Thursday, when I had already written 3,000 words the same day.

So no. “I’m not motivated” doesn’t count any more.

Just…

  1. Find out what it is you’re actually avoiding
  2. Find someone who’s done exactly that
  3. Watch them as much as you can

So what is it that you’re really avoiding? And what are you gonna do about it?

Better Humans

Better Humans is a collection of the world's most trustworthy writing on human potential and self improvement by coaches, academics, and aggressive self-experimenters. Articles are based on deep personal experience, science, and research. No fluff, book reports, or listicles.

Niklas Göke

Written by

Writing for dreamers, doers, and unbroken optimists since 2014. For more personal, infrequent updates, be my email friend: https://niklasgoeke.com/friends

Better Humans

Better Humans is a collection of the world's most trustworthy writing on human potential and self improvement by coaches, academics, and aggressive self-experimenters. Articles are based on deep personal experience, science, and research. No fluff, book reports, or listicles.

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