Self-motivation can be a tricky business. Making changes can be very difficult when you only have yourself to catalyze the action necessary to make those changes. For many, the process of change looks something like this:
Emotional Inspiration -> Motivation -> Action
The problem inherent to this process is that the emotional inspiration that leads to motivation for change, is usually a negative one that actually inspires people to do the opposite of taking action. For example; The emotional inspiration for weight loss may be the shame, sadness, and depression associated with one’s negative self-image. But these same emotions are the one’s that keep people out of the gym, make them want to binge eat ice cream, and only worsen the problem.
Another problem with the above way of thinking, is that it does not account for the fact that, to effect change, motivation and action are really on a continuous loop:
Inspiration -> Motivation -> Action -> Inspiration -> Motivation -> Action
Most times, doing the action required for change causes another set of emotions that serve as motivation to act again. When a person gets a good workout, they feel good about themselves and are motivated to go back to the gym and do it again. This concept provides the basis for a new way to approach change and manufacturing motivation: start with the action! Instead of relying on an emotion to give you motivation, which can sometimes be counteractive, get out there and do something! Even the act of taking a small step will likely motivate you to keep going. Thus, the new approach should look like this:
Action -> Inspiration -> Motivation -> Action -> Inspiration -> Motivation
When you have a large task to do, instead of languishing in the fact that it’s so large it seems insurmountable, take one small step. When I am unmotivated to write an article for my blog, I will tell myself, “Okay, just write the first paragraph.” Once I do that, the creative juices have started to flow, and I find it much easier to continue and often finish! Need to design your new website? Simply start by picking the color scheme or layout. Dreading writing your business plan? Just create the outline. More than likely, taking just a small step will motivate you to continue. Once you take one step, it’s easy to say, “Well, I did that much, might as well do a little bit more.”
The thing I have noticed about success is that it is less about knowing, and more about doing. When I first began down my own entrepreneurial path, I didn’t know all the ins and outs of online business website creation, etc. But I started with small steps, taking the actions necessary to learn. I read up on the relevant topics and I practiced what I was learning by trial and error. What’s more, taking these steps and learning as I did, only inspired me to continue learning and do more.
A person can become successful without knowing everything there is to know about what they are doing. They can try and fail, or try and succeed, but either way, they learn from doing. A person will never become successful by knowing everything and doing nothing.
Start by doing.