Maybe you can relate to the following scenario…
I have a task that I need to do. I know it needs to be done because I wrote it down on my to-do list. I know it needs to be done today because I put today’s date next to it as a deadline. I have everything I need to be able to successfully accomplish this task. I have the skill, I have the ability, and I have the time. But there is one thing I lack that is keeping me from starting…
I don’t feel like doing it.
I’ll be honest with you. I face this type of situation all…the…time.
Somewhere between dreaming, scheming, planning, strategizing, and organizing I lose the motivation for the doing part. I have all of the tools and resources and time to get something done, but I just don’t feel like doing it.
Fortunately, I’ve learned the secret formula to get past this. You’ll be amazed at how effective it is.
Do what needs to be done for five minutes.
Trust me on this one – IT WORKS. And here’s why…
We buy into the myth that says we can only do the things that need to get done when we feel like doing them. We lie to ourselves. Our feelings are actually barriers to our effectiveness. They keep us from doing the very thing we know we need to do.
Doing what needs to be done for five minutes causes you to IGNORE your feelings. It’s you being able to look at your feelings and say to them, “You’re not the boss of me!”
Once we start doing the thing that needs to be done something incredible happens. Over the course of those five minutes your feelings begin to change. In fact, I find that my feelings (which I’ve chosen to ignore) change from not wanting to to do something to not wanting to stop doing something. Five minutes of doing will change your feelings. You can do anything for just five minutes.
You don’t want to exercise so just tell yourself you’ll exercise for five minutes.
You don’t want to write that paper so just tell yourself you’ll write for five minutes.
You don’t want to clean the closet so just tell yourself you’ll clean for five minutes.
Motivation comes after I do something…not before.
Try it. Right now. Conduct the following experiment:
1. Identify the task you need to do but don’t want to do. It could be exercise, cleaning, writing, whatever. All you need to do is look through your to-do list. It’s the one thing you keep putting off.
2. Set a timer for five minutes.
3. Recognize every feeling that’s telling you not to do this thing right now.
4. Ignore those feelings, start the timer, and get going on the task.
5. When the timer goes off, compare your feelings now with your feelings from five minutes ago.
What you’ll discover is that the timer has actually become a distraction because you’re in the middle of accomplishing something and you don’t want to stop :).
Motivation doesn’t come from a feeling, it comes from doing something.
So the next time you look at your to-do list, don’t start out thinking you need to find the motivation to tackle the items on your list. Instead, find five minutes to get you started. The motivation will be along shortly.
Question: What other strategies do you use to increase your motivation?
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