If you decided right this second that you wanted to set and achieve a goal (short or long term), what would be your first order of business? Really take a second to think about 1) what it is that you’d like to accomplish and 2) what you would honestly do to jumpstart that process.
Why is that being asked? Because there’s a misconstrued idea in the digital age that long lasting “motivation” is as simple as finding images of beautiful sunsets with inspirational quotes written in crisp, clean fonts and putting them on Tumblr. Or Tweeting Drake lyrics, or a person writing out a bold Facebook status, making a boastful declaration to friends about how this is their time, their year, their world – and soon everyone will see them fulfill their destiny. The problem here is that no amount of stimulating quotes or verbal “guarantees” via social networks is going to lift butts from couches, and put one foot in front of the other to actually take steps forward, giving merit to these empty pledges.
We can’t be too critical of ourselves, because there’s productivity kryptonite everywhere these days. On TV, the Internet, in bars/clubs, etc., how do we steer clear of distractions in exchange for success? Finding motivation is easy, but maintaining it? Not so much.
When seeking productivity, we think we’ve got to light a fire under our butts, and there are metaphorical matches to spark things up lying all over the place. The problem is that, instead of starting an inferno or even a bonfire, we let the match burn out, leaving us right back where we began – unmotivated.
It might be an infomercial for the Insanity or P90X workout that provides you with a week of, I’m gonna get in shape! enthusiasm, as you spend 150 bucks on an impulse purchase, that you might not even want by the time it arrives in the mail. Who can blame you? There were washboard abs everywhere and the “Before & After” pictures looked so legit, you could picture yours immediately. Plus, it’s 3 easy payments of $39.95 – how could you resist?
Or perhaps you saw an old high school friend is having success, and a self-loathing infused motivation developed. You’ll take some time to Google potential classes, jobs or whatever opportunities sound pleasing in that moment. How long will that last though? The next day, next week, or sometime shortly thereafter, we’ll close those windows and spend 45 minutes watching whatever is viral that month on YouTube.
Movie montages are also big liars. They show significant life changes and massive tribulations being conquered over 90-second spans, with Coldplay blaring in the background, and characters breezing to the finish line in a matter of moments. We don’t have that luxury in real life. The motivation must be genuine, heavy-duty, and willing to die in pursuit of the prize. Don’t confuse the things you’re doing for money, to one-up somebody, or because it might be fun with the things you know you have a passion for. The dreams that keep you up at night, but still manage to occupy your mind even when you’ve finally dozed off. It’s those cravings that shouldn’t require a “Hey, guys, look what I’m going to do!” status update. Sure, some quotes or rousing words may serve as a dousing of gasoline on your already burning inferno, but they are more of a bonus than a basis.
If you’re content where you are, then this doesn’t apply, but I know a lot of people out there want more. Some people want to do more and be better, and do better and be more, which is a beautiful concept when pursued relentlessly. It’s a safe bet that whatever hypothetical goal you selected in your mind at the beginning of this article is something you genuinely desire. It’s worth questioning if you’re doing enough – or anything at all – to make that dream come to fruition.