Motivation is great when you have it. It makes you excited about things, and you’re eager to put your nose to the grindstone and start working. When you don’t have it, however, your productivity can plummet. Instead, stop relying on motivation and start creating systems of habits to get things done.
Picture: Dennis Hamilton
As personal finance blog I Will Teach You to Be Rich points out, motivation comes in waves. It’s unreliable and therefore should not be relied on. Instead, giving yourself a system that makes it easy for you to do what you need to anyway is a better approach to instituting change:
One of my mentors, BJ Fogg, who runs the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford, says we should assume that our “future self” is going to be lazy with no motivation. We need to set up systems to make achieving our goals as easy as possible — even when our motivation is low. In other words: Motivation DOESN’T work. Systems do.
While it’s nice to feel motivated, you’re a lot more likely to stop drinking soda and start drinking water if all you have is water in the house. Feeling motivated to be healthier isn’t going to be enough all the time. With any habit you can get into, the more you can structure your life around you to accommodate the way you want to live, the more likely you are to stick with it even when motivation fails you.