Every night of the week I pack my workout clothes into a small black tote. It is labeled “Fresh” and it hangs off one corner of my bed, ready to be loaded into the car the next morning. That is about the only motivation I need to get myself to the gym. The same is true for other areas of my life, but lately I’ve been short on motivation. And I’ve been asking myself, “Motivation, are you still there?”
This lack of motivation was affecting more than my gym sesh. It was also seeping into my other commitments like writing, relationships, and weekend activities. Basically, it was every part of my life where I was not seeing that instant gratification. When that happens, we tend to wonder if we are truly being effective. At least I was…
Then, almost as if by some divine intervention, I pick out this (not so) random book from my shelf to pack for a work trip to Nashville. The book is called The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Through the end of the flight, I was already about one-third of the way into the book. And in those pages, there were comments about perspective that really stuck out.
The Real Problem
These words lit up on the page: The Way We See The Problem Is The Problem. Immediately the next question circled in my mind. Was it really motivation that I needed? If you consider the example of the gym, I didn’t need motivation to get me to exercise after a full workday. Gym buddies, app alerts, and monthly fitness challenges were great, but I was already getting my workouts in before any of those came to be.
So what wasn’t I looking at? Something else was bringing my mood down, and I hadn’t quite called it out. Then it became clear to me through the words of Stephen R Covey in Part Two of his book. He says to begin with the end in mind. It is a simple thought that is many times simply overlooked. I had forgotten my destination and that was the real problem.
Finding the Right Motivation
Some people realize that motivation alone will not get the job done. Athletes may dread that early morning wakeup call, but they know that extra hour of practice will show on race day. That student working another set of math drills might be watching friends toss a football outside the library window. It will be worth it when he receives final grades. And that’s what changes everything.
We get stuck in wanting to feel that motivation every day. Instead, the real motivator should be in knowing that every day adds to achieving the end result we really want. Having a mental picture of the end should change how we see those smaller activities. I’m not going to wait until I feel like going to the gym. And I won’t put a project on hold because the motivation is no longer there. Picture yourself where you want to be, and the things you do will follow.
Verses to reflect
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…”
Colossians 3:23 NIV
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Galatians 6:9 NIV
“If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.”
Matthew 5:41 NIV