Why you shouldn’t rely on motivation alone but good habits

So you have been thrilled and excited that –you are now a member of the gym, you have started your business, you are on a job, you are following a diet plan but somehow your level of enthusiasm is taking a nose dive.   That right there was motivation at play but along the way, you feel you are struggling and losing your mojo. You start feeling deflated, uninspired or lack enthusiasm you felt at first. You are not alone. We also get numerous questions on how to keep motivated and better still remain energised to slay those goals. You see the thing about starting a business, a career, a sport, a diet is they don’t happen in a day or weeks – you are up for a marathon and not to a sprint run. What motivation gives you is the energy for a sprint run, not for the long haul. Motivation is what gets you started but is hardly enough to keep you going.  I know we surprise many when we advise them to quit relying on motivation but instead focus on building life-long habits. It seems like a half-baked suggestion but why not read through and find out for yourself whether what you seek is motivation or good habits.

Motivation is temporal and never last long

Motivation is temporal. It is unreliable. It sucks. It fizzles when you need it most. One day you are having the energy to nail your project, the next day you can’t even lift a finger. That is the nurture of motivation- It is fleeting. It never lasts. Let’s call it for what it is a *biotch.  No doubt when motivation is at its best, you will feel like you are on top of the world. In such moments it just feels like motivation is the key driver to success, the must-have ingredient for achieving your goals. Everything that looked impossible seems achievable and nothing can stand in your way-That is how motivation works –it certainly fires you up. This is why anyone seeks for it –there is magic in motivation when its available. If you think about it, we can all run even 5 miles a day, but can you do the same the next day, the day after and for a month. On a single occasion, you could be more fired up and extra motivated that you can easily take on a 5 mile run without blinking but how long can you last? This is what separates champions who rely on good habits from anyone who just rely on motivation. By all means, when you feel motivated, take advantage of it but importantly use it to develop sustainable habits. Don’t exhaust your motivation to achieve short-term fixes.

Motivation disappears when you need it most

Motivation has a tendency to disappear leaving you crashing and feeling like you are no-way better. It is on the day you feel like meeh and you want something to drive you that motivation vanishes as well-Boom it’s gone. So what happens when you feel unmotivated, nothing gets done? Life stops? Do you let go and leave a project that is nearly halfway through, do you quit a diet that is making you feel better, do you stop training and lose the benefits -certainly not. You will find many times that motivation never sticks, you have to keep nurturing it or seek for additional support otherwise it just thins out. This is even true for very successful people. It’s the nature of motivation.

People think to do something they must be motivated. Such mentality or mindset is poisonous. It can backfire back in your face. Motivation is based on emotions and we know how their rollercoaster story goes.  Emotion can be high up on a good day and take a dive on a rainy day. They are unpredictable so is motivation. Motivation doesn’t come in equal daily doses, some days it takes a dip and some days it’s very high.

Habits are lifelong and a better ‘friend’

Everyone including the most successful people or even the most positive persons experiences days when they completely feel less motivated. The difference lies in what else they rely on to keep going.  Waiting and relying on motivation can derail your plans. Instead, you should make use of the days when you feel motivated to develop life-long habits. It is in moments when you feel like you are having to drag yourself to do things or your focus is being diverted that habits play a crucial role in nailing your goals.

If you are looking for a permanent ‘friend’, nurture yourself a good habit. When you get through life adopting good habits, they become you. In-fact they won’t be you without the habits. You know you are in the habit of doing things when on the day you miss a routine you go crazy and feel like a better part of you is missing. You can’t miss on business meetings without feel guilty, you can’t even think of cheating on your diet plans or cheat on your morning jogging routine-Your habits are ingrained within you. You have added to your DNA some extra must-haves. Habits will never let you down, in-fact when you feeling down a good habit will get you back on your feet.

Habits bring consistency

Many people can do some incredible things for a short period of time but can never make it through. How many times do you notice new faces in the gym, new faces at a local business networking forum especially in the month of January,  but 3 months later they are nowhere to be found? This is not anyone’s fault, they just rely on motivation which hardly provides them with the much-needed consistency.

If you were a sports person, each day whether you like it or not you get your training done, if you are a business person, every day is cash flow and balance sheet day, if you are a student nearly every day is a studying day. By the end of the day, all the things you are supposed to do become second nurture. You end up being in the habit of just waking up and going for a jog, preparing healthy foods or focusing on your business. When you miss any of your routines you feel crap, you feel guilty, annoyed and can’t wait for the next day—that is habits. Habits don’t just appear, they are rare, intentional and repeated.

Habits become part of your body and mind

You can only succeed years on if you rely on solid good habits. If there is one good thing about good habits is your brain and body gets used to them. Now that is powerful. Many struggles to get things done because of voices that lie beneath. I am sure you have heard your friends say they are their own enemy. The mind is a great weapon but yet it can send us to our own demise. It is when we feel least motivated that the brain plays all sorts of scenarios for us-“you know you aren’t cut for this or you hardly have any talents so there is no way you can achieve anything. These constant battles happen in the brain”. Yes, sometimes the body tells the mind its too tired or it cant get on so time to quit and so the brain does its beat-shuts off everything. All of a sudden you cant carry on.

The difference lies when your good habits tell your body and mind that no matter the obstacles, struggles or challenges the situation can turn.  Your habits literally feed your mind constantly that there hardly is any space to get distracted. Your mind and body adjust to your habits and drive you through obstacles or challenges. This is what sustains you through the path to your success. Don’t get us wrong, by all means, take advantage of the times when your motivation is high but make it a point to develop good habits that can take you through your journey.

Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going. Jim Rohn


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19 Comments on Why you shouldn’t rely on motivation alone but good habits

  1. You explained this well because l get frustrated disappointed with myself each time l lose my mojo. Always thought one must always be motivated, very helpful

  2. I believe I try to push hard but sometimes I get too exhausted and jaded. You just made me discover what I need to do, refocus refocus and get me some habits

    • We all get exhausted, remember this is a marathon. You will run out of energy and feel like you cant push through. There are days that are better and there are days you are completely out of all sorts. The key is to build your habits when your motivation is high. You will find that with habits you can trigger your own motivation on days you feel jaded.

  3. This explained so well what was going on with me. I used to hate routine because I felt it stifled creativity. Now I see the value in it, at least some of the time. Thank you for that.

    • Karin. When it comes to good habits you will notice they wouldn’t necessarily come across as a routine, but as a way of doing things even in a better way. You would have the ability to overcome obstacles, challenges or deal with new situations because of your good habits.

  4. Thanks a lot for the article ?, anyway about my self, it’s like the habit is there in my mind when I don’t wake up at 5 to do yoga and meditation…I really feel guilty about myself, but it’s like my body can’t control anymore, my brain give orders, my body do something so different, I know it seems crazy, but i’m serious,that’s my only struggle.

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