“I’m just not motivated” or “I just couldn’t find motivation” have been two phrases that I have heard clients say a lot throughout the years. And even though I don’t recall using either very much myself since it’s been many years that I’ve had a different stance on it, I know that even now I don’t always feel motivated to work out even though I love it. And I certainly don’t always feel motivated to skip the extra beer or the cookie.
But I do a lot of things that I don’t enjoy without feeling motivated to do them. I love doing laundry as an example of this. I am never motivated to do laundry. I may have had times in my life that I’m excited to wash a new pair of running shorts or cute new outfit, but I could count those times on one hand. But in my life I’ve done thousands of loads of laundry without motivation. So why is that? Why do those loads get done without fail every week of my life without motivation? Because my mind tells me that the alternatives to not doing the loads of laundry are not an option.
In my mind, the alternatives to not doing laundry are to either wear dirty clothes, buy all new clothes, or have someone else do my laundry . The feeling of wearing something dirty is not something I enjoy at all. I sweat a lot when I workout so my clothes get all the feelings of gross-ness that come with that.
And while getting new clothes is mostly fun for me, I definitely do not have the budget to constantly replace clothes nor do I want to make that time and effort. Plus 99% of the time when I buy something new I want to wash it right away so that doesn’t solve the problem.
I could send my clothes to the laundromat but that cost also seems impracticable just like bringing someone in to do my laundry.
So a couple times a week the laundry gets done. It’s not that I’m motivated to do it, it’s that my mind doesn’t think the alternatives are better, so like Nike suggests “I just do it”. I’ve accepted that doing laundry is a less fun moment of my life and I move on.
If you think about your life and things you have to do, I guarantee you do things you do NOT enjoy and are not motivated to do. But you still do them. You have a mindset around them that you don’t think the alternatives are realistic options.
Ever not want to go to work and still do? Even if you love your job I’m sure you have days you don’t want to go but force yourself to. What about paying bills? Is that enjoyable for you? Probably not but you still do it, right? Those things are not in your mind as optional.
If you struggle with eating healthy or working out, it could be because your mindset right now is that it is optional to do these things. Right now, the alternatives in your mind exist in a category of ok. You do not view them as not an option like I do with wearing dirty clothes. Eating something less than optimal or skipping the workout is in your mind as ok. If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t skip them. You would suck it up and get it done.
Working on changing your mindset away from viewing something as optional takes a lot of time and practice. Changing a thought pattern that you have been in for a long time won’t suddenly change overnight. It is going to take practice and patience.
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