Lack of motivation is a problem that, sooner or later, affects anyone who tries to make a big life change. Think of any area of personal development. Weight loss. Gain muscular mass. Achieve financial
independence. Learn other languages. Being promoted at work. All of these major challenges require a good deal of action over a relatively long. That is why it is necessary to have the motivation to fulfill these long-term goals. The problem is that our personal motivation varies a lot. One hour is high, then it is low.
In today’s article, we will see exactly what to do when this lack of motivation appears. Let’s cover in detail:
- Why the lack of motivation destroys long-term goals?
- Willpower as an alternative to lack of motivation
- The willpower relativity theory
- How to Prevent Lack of Motivation from Locking Your Life
The first step is to understand the reasons why a lack of motivation ends up with our biggest life goals.
Why the 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 that is the lack of motivation. Or, to put it another way, the reason so few people are able to meet their long-term goals is to base the whole process of change on the need for motivation. Audacious goals like changing your 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 brain operates.
To understand this, we need to be animals that are the fruit 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 carry out this action. The problem is that, as you well know, at one time or another the lack of motivation appears. When that 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 chores and get a little closer to the big goal you set for yourself. On these days, you seem to be sure that motivation is the key to taking action and making major life changes. However, as it is not every day that we wake up motivated, it is not strategically smart to use motivation as the basis for a process of change.
This means that a lack of motivation is no reason for you to blame yourself for not reaching 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. Various researches have shown that willpower is a resource that is spent with 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 batch of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies requires more willpower than resisting a salad plate. And at this point is the secret to having consistent action, obtaining results that accumulate over time and thus achieve your great life goals.
The willpower relativity theory
From everything we’ve 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 the motivation to act consistently, sooner or later the lack of motivation will sabotage our plans for change.
- If we spend too much willpower to act consistently, we will run out of willpower to move forward.
This leaves us with an alternative. Use only a little bit of willpower on days when a lack of motivation appears. How much willpower do you need to expend to read a page in a book? To do a push-up? 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 it seems that they mean nothing, it is these small actions repeated over time that accumulate the results that will make us achieve our big goals. These habits are so small that they hardly spend our willpower. If you are motivated to go ahead and read another page, do one more flexion or study another word, that’s fine. But if the lack of motivation appears, that’s fine too. You have already met your daily goal by so small that it is practically impossible to procrastinate.
Preventing a lack of motivation blocks your life
We have come a long way here. We have seen why motivation is not a reliable basis for our major life goals. We saw that the lack of motivation will sooner or later appear. And we understand that relative willpower is the secret to consistent action over time. Changing gradually and in the long run may not seem as exciting as making a drastic change in life, but it is still much better than simply trying to change and not move.
In addition, our willpower can be trained, like a muscle. When we use it in small doses consistently, we can gradually increase its use without it being spent so easily. This is a virtuous cycle that, with the results accumulated over time, will make us achieve our greatest life goals. All you have to do is set small habits. Forced actions that are so easy to do that, even when they lack motivation joins the lack of willpower, you will still be able to act.
Now, imagine how you would feel if, even on 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 willpower relativity theory and set daily goals so ridiculously easy to be reached that anyone can meet them. Imagine feeling unstoppable and always on the road to your greatest goals in life. Imagine being always successful in meeting your daily activity goals. Imagine each day being one millimeter closer to your big dreams. You can start doing all of this today. Just think about what habits are necessary to make your dreams come true and then define what is the minimum unit of action for each of these habits.