Ah, the all elusive motivation that seems to come and go as it pleases. It’s never there when you really need it, and when it does finally appear, it lasts for such a short time before it is over-run with doubt, fear and confusion. We are often under the mistaken impression that we must have it to be able do things that will help us achieve success in life. The question I have often asked myself in the past, and the one I get asked regularly is, how do I get and keep myself motivated to do the things I know I need to do? It’s a great question, and the answer is very simple… you can’t!

You may be asking, if I can’t get myself and keep myself motivated, then how do I every achieve anything great? That’s another wonderful question. I will answer it just as I answered someone I am mentoring to write and publish a book. During the week, the email I received from this person was, ‘Since I finished my first draft, I’ve been finding it difficult to enter a momentum of writing again. Any advice?’ 

This is a very common question I get asked almost weekly. It was a question I often asked myself when I was writing my own books, and, working hard to make it as a professional footballer. Fortunately, I had the answer for this person because I had worked it out for myself many years earlier. This is what I replied, “Re-focus on why you are doing this. Visualise what life will be like when your book is published. Think about the lives you will impact and the difference you will make. Reflect on the money you will make and the options you will have. If that doesn’t motivate you, nothing will.”

The mistake this person had made was, losing sight of the big picture and instead focussing on the inconvenient and uncomfortable process. It is inevitable we will feel like we need motivation when we are facing something uncomfortable like; writing after a long day, getting up and exercising when we are tired, reading when we’d rather be watching TV or practicing something when it really is quite tedious. That being the case, we need to take our focus off the process and place it on the other side of the discomfort. The key to this working is that you need to have a clear vision of what that looks like and a strong desire to be there.

When climbing a mountain, focusing on of the pain of each step will cause many people to give up. The people who are excited to see the view from the top and experience the pride of their achievement will simply see each uncomfortable step as necessary to getting them closer to what they want. When my alarm goes off at 5:30am every morning to get up and exercise, I don’t think about how uncomfortable training will be. If I did, I would hit snooze. I focus on how good I will feel when I’m finished and how much I love being fit, lean and healthy.

Motivation is not something you can rely on, nor something you can manufacture. However, when you are clear about what you want and why, you don’t need it, because you will be happy to do what you need to do to get you there.