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Got Motivation?

There’s no substitute for “just do it.”

Motivation isn't magic - it's an intentional, freewill choice to act (or not to act). We so often think that motivation is linked to feelings - but that is only true if you DECIDE to link your motivation to your feelings. So many people make that choice, and make it so often, that it seems like motivation is a feeling. That's deceptive. And the proof is that many of the heroes we admire are heroes because they motivated themselves to do something extraordinary despite feelings of hopelessness or defeat or confusion. So, their motivation did not come from their feelings. Their motivation came despite any feeling.

This truth can be seen in little things as well as the epic and courageous. I may feel lethargic and disinterested in the mundane tasks I must get done but that doesn't mean I have no choices. I do not have to allow those feelings to affect my motivation to get things done. I often do - I just don't have to! Knowing that…reflecting on that…praying about that - is the first step toward motivating myself PAST my lethargy and disinterest into being productive, even on a Monday!

In my own, admittedly limited experience, I've also found that an awesome, heroic motivation to do something is usually the result of a thousand smaller motivational choices along the way. It's not usually one mighty leap - which is probably why heroes are few and far between. I wonder if so many of us, and I do include myself, are so busy allowing self-interested feelings to keep us from making small motivational choices that we are not in the habit of making good motivational choices - there is no build up, no exercise, no motivational muscle when the epic choice comes suddenly upon us, we're weak in motivational skills. The one who has made so many smaller, seemingly insignificant motivational choices is motivationally healthy with bulging intentionality muscles, ready and able to make that big, powerful choice in the moment of crisis.

So - want to be a hero someday? Start with intentionally motivating yourself to get past whatever self-interested feeling you're allowing to keep you from doing that little task - and intentionally...simply...DO IT. I've discovered that a good way to do this is "one little task at a time."

Sounds silly, even trite, even ridiculous...but it's just true.

Stephen King was asked how he wrote his novels and he responded, "One word at a time." He wasn't being silly - he admitted that sometimes just asking himself "what happens next," and answering that question with just one more word – THAT can be a real task, an effort of motivation. But you don't write 100's of thousands of words by accident or magic or even waiting for a feeling - because often you just feel like putting your fist through your monitor (trust me, I'm a writer too).

You do it one word at a time.

In the same way, intentionally choosing to ignore that feeling of "I just don't want to do that - it's boring or tedious and besides, it's a little thing anyway" - and choosing to go past it…simply doing the next task whether you want to or not…THAT can build up your motivational muscles so you're ready to be the hero in the moment.

So, make your bed…go for that exercise walk…open up your Bible and pick a chapter to read…get into the habit of building little motivations so you’ll be ready for the big ones when you need it…

Let's be task at a time...

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