Lack of motivation is a problem that sooner or later hits anyone trying to make a major life change.
Think of any area of personal development. Lose weight. Gain muscular mass. Achieve financial independence. Learn other languages. Get promoted at work.
All of these major challenges require a good deal of action for a relatively long period of time. Therefore it is necessary to have motivation to fulfill these long term goals.
The problem is that our personal motivation varies a lot. One hour it is up, then it is down.
In today’s article, we will see exactly what to do when this lack of motivation appears. Let’s cover in detail:
- Why Lack of Motivation Destroys Long-Term Goals
- Willpower as an alternative to lack of motivation
- The theory of relativity of willpower
- How to prevent a lack of motivation from stopping your life
The first step is to understand the reasons why lack of motivation ends our biggest life goals.
Why Lack of Motivation Destroys Long-Term Goals
Relatively few people are able to meet the goals they set for themselves. And the big reason for this is the lack of motivation.
Or, if we think otherwise, the reason why so few people can meet their long-term goals is to base the whole process of change on the need for motivation.
Audacious goals such as changing the body, gaining financial independence or starting a business and others tend to fail because we try to make a drastic change that doesn’t fit the way our brains operate.
To understand this, we need to be animals as a result of a long evolutionary process. The main concern of our organism is to survive. It is not learning Chinese in 90 days.
Major rule changes are only possible with consistent action over time. Motivation is precisely the desire to perform this action.
The problem is that, as you well know, at one time or another the lack of motivation appears. When this happens, what other resources can we rely on?
Willpower as an alternative to lack of motivation
Do you know those days when you wake up extremely motivated? You go there, do your homework, and get a little closer to the big goal you set for yourself.
These days, you seem to be sure that motivation is the key to taking action and making major life changes.
But, because it’s not every day we wake up motivated, it’s not strategically smart to use motivation as the basis for a change process.
This means that lack of motivation is no reason for you to blame yourself for not achieving your big life goals. It just happens to all of us.
If we cannot use motivation as the basis for a change process, the alternative is called willpower.
The problem, as we highlighted in our article on willpower , is that this is a very limited resource.
Research has shown that willpower is a resource that is spent on use. With every decision we make, we expend our willpower as if it were a cell phone battery.
The greater the need for willpower, the more it is spent. For example, for most of us, resisting a bite of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies requires more willpower than resisting a plate of salad.
And at that point is the key to consistent action, achieving results that accumulate over time, and thus accomplishing your great life goals.
The theory of relativity of willpower
From all we have seen so far, we can come to some conclusions:
- To make major life changes, we need to take consistent action over time.
- If we need motivation to act consistently, sooner or later lack of motivation will sabotage our plans for change.
- If we spend a lot of willpower to act consistently, we will lack the willpower to move on.
This leaves us with an alternative. Use only a little willpower on days when a lack of motivation appears.
How much willpower you need to spend reading a page of a book? To do a pushup? To study a new word in the language you want to learn?
In the book Atomic Habits , he calls these tiny actions atomic habits (because they are the size of an atom). See the summary I made of the book:
Although they seem to mean nothing, it is these small repeated actions over time that accumulate the results that will make us achieve our great goals.
These habits are so small that they hardly expend our willpower. If you’re motivated to move on and read one more page, do one more pushup or study one more word, that’s fine.
But if the lack of motivation appears, that’s fine too. You have already accomplished your daily goal by taking such a small action that it is virtually impossible to procrastinate .
Preventing Lack of Motivation Catching Your Life
We have come a long way here.
We have seen why motivation is not a reliable foundation for our great life goals. We have seen that the lack of motivation sooner or later will appear. And we understand that relative willpower is the secret to consistent action over time.
Changing in the long term may not seem as exciting as making a drastic change in life, but it’s still much better than simply trying to change and not moving out of place.
Also, our willpower can be trained, like a muscle. When we use it consistently in small doses, we can gradually increase its use without it being so easily spent.
This is a virtuous cycle that, with the accumulated results over time, will make us achieve our highest life goals.
All you have to do is set small habits. Forced actions that are so easy to do that even when a lack of motivation joins a lack of willpower, you can still take action.
Now imagine how you would feel if even in the worst days of your life you were still able to meet your action goals?
This is completely possible as long as you understand the theory of relativity of willpower and set daily goals so ridiculously easy to beat that anyone can meet them.
Imagine feeling unstoppable and always on your way to your highest life goals. Imagine being always successful in meeting your daily action goals. Imagine each day being one millimeter closer to your big dreams.
You can start doing all this today. Just think about what habits are needed to make your dreams come true, and then define the minimum unit of action for each of these habits.