When was the last time you wanted to take action, but sat doing nothing, wishing you had some way to increase your motivation?   You might have wanted to exercise more, change your diet, start a new project, complete long overdue tasks around the house, or spend more time with your friend or family.  Most people have an experience like this on a regular basis.

Why does it usually seem so difficult to motivate ourselves?

bigstock-Beautiful-bored-and-tired-busi-102213Let’s start with defining motivation so we’re all talking about the same thing: “the art or process of giving someone a reason for doing something.”  (Free Merriman Webster dictionary)

So when we say we need more motivation, we are looking for a reason that will get us to act.  And yet, I contend, we usually have plenty of reasons for taking action.  We know what we want to do and why we want to do it.  And yet we still don’t act.

Well, if we don’t need more motivation to take action, what do we need?  Why don’t we do what we want to do so often?

As readers of this blog know all too well, our behavior and feelings are ultimately the result of our beliefs.  If we want to do something and have reasons for doing it, but are still not acting, we have beliefs that are acting as barriers.

So when we fail to act it’s not because we don’t have sufficient motivation; our beliefs are overpowering our motivation (our reasons for acting).

Specific beliefs that squash motivation

Ask yourself how the following beliefs might undercut your motivation and keep you from acting:

  • Mistakes and failure are bad.
  • If I make a mistake or fail I’ll be rejected.
  • I’m not capable or competent.
  • What makes me good enough or important is having people think well of me.
  • What makes me good enough or important is doing things perfectly.
  • Nothing I do is good enough.

Imagine there is something you intend to do, such as starting a project that could bring in some additional income or impress your boss at work.  You clearly are motivated in that you have plenty of good reasons for taking action.

Now imagine you have some of the beliefs listed above.  Can you see how they would sabotage your motivation and keep you from acting?  So when you say to yourself: I wish I had more motivation, can you get that you already have all the motivation you need.  What you really need is to get rid of the beliefs that prevent your motivation from moving you to initiate and sustain action.  Once you eliminate the destructive beliefs, the motivation you already have will be sufficient to get you to take action.

We usually don’t need to motivate others

Although we’ve been talking about motivating ourselves, the same principles are relevant to trying to motivate others.

There clearly are times when we’d like someone else to take action and they see no value in taking the action we’d like.  In such cases, all we need to do is inform them of our reasons, i.e., provide motivation.

More often than not, however, the people we want to take action already know the reasons for acting.  In other words, they are already motivated.  They are stopped from acting for the same reasons you are stopped: negative beliefs.

I’ve written about how “service technicians” often don’t provide excellent customer service even though they’ve been told all the reasons why that is important, because they believe they are technicians whose job in to fix and maintain equipment, not take care of customers. If they believed they were “customer satisfiers” they would automatically take care of customers, without any additional motivation.  (For more details see https://www.mortylefkoe.com/everyone-knows-change-is-difficult-%E2%80%A6-are-you-sure-2/)

Friends and family don’t require motivation either

All of us have had the experience of having a family member or friend offer to do something for us and then not do it.  We immediately try to think how we could motivate them to do it the next time.  But if they offered to do it to begin with, they probably already know what we want and why we want it.  They already are motivated.

What’s keeping them from acting are beliefs, such as, What others want is not as important as what I want or What others want is not really important.

The next time you ask yourself how you can better motivate yourself or someone else, ask yourself is it really a reason for acting that’s missing, or are there beliefs that are overcoming the reasons that are clearly there.

Procrastination isn’t caused by a lack of motivation

People who procrastinate often think that they put things off because of a lack of motivation.  Is it clear now that putting things off, not doing what we intend to do, has nothing to do with a lack of motivation? Get rid of your limiting beliefs and watch yourself move forward without the necessity of any additional motivation.


Thanks for reading my blog.  Please post your questions or comments about why motivation either isn’t necessary or doesn’t work.  Your comments will add value for thousands of readers.  I read them all and respond to as many as I can.

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Copyright © 2013 Morty Lefkoe