Last year I wrote a blog post called 5 ways to motivate yourself to study a boring subject and/or complete a project. I suggested strategies such as thinking positive thoughts, practising visualisation and taking small actions steps.
Doing all of those things are great, but I’m sorry to say that I missed the obvious when I wrote that blog post.
The obvious being – Just get started.
That’s right, just take action. Pick up a pen. Start typing words on that blank screen. Get your book out of your bag. Write your name on the page. It doesn’t matter what you do, just as long as you begin.
You see, many us live with the mistaken idea that we need to feel motivated before we start something. You know what I’m talking about, you are waiting for that moment when you feel motivated, pumped, excited and ready to begin your work!
Now ask yourself this, how often do you wake up feeling this way?
And if you don’t, do you say to yourself “Oh well, I’ll do it tomorrow. I should feel different tomorrow!” and proceed to log into Facebook or your email?
To be perfectly honest, most of the time I don’t wake up feeling super motivated to work on my PhD, to write my next book or to go to the gym. But I don’t let that feeling stop me. I just get started. I pick up an article and highlighter. I turn on my laptop. I put on my gym shoes.
For many years I lived with the mistaken belief that I had to feel motivated before I started my work. Naturally, this thought resulted in a lot of procrastination and stress!
Until I came across a quote by famous artist Chuck Close. He said –
“I always thought that inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you aren”t going to make an awful lot of work. But if you just to get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur and something else that you reject will push you in another direction”
What I took from this quote is that it’s OK to not know exactly what you’re doing and how you’re going to do it. But just by getting started, ideas will start to come to you and whatever you’re working on will evolve and start to take shape.
In addition, you’ll probably notice that after a little while, the work doesn’t seem as bad or hard as you thought it would be. Subsequently, you’ll start to feel motivated which will lead to more action being taken.
In short: Action > Motivation > More Action
The reality is most of us will never feel completely ready to start a significant project or to go for the things we’ve always wanted in life. So why waste any more time? Just get started!