Motivate yourself past resistance

Danielle LaPorte is a genius. I’m in the middle of reading The Desire Map, a book about mindful living and goal setting, which asks you to set goals based on how you want to feel, not based on what you want to have.

What? I know. It sounds a little touchy-feely. I wanted to call bull on the whole thing, and I approached it with a healthy skepticism, but it's a serious game changer. More on this book soon.

The Desire Map by Danielle Laporte
The Desire Map by Danielle Laporte

I just finished the part about resistance. Resistance is what happens when we start to feel tired of something, or when we get that “I jus’t don’t wanna anymore” mentality.

When we start something new, we feel really good for a while. Then, we hit a wall and our motivation disappears.

Danielle illustrated this example with the gym. People are often starting a workout regime, feeling gung-ho about it the first couple of times but then the original enthusiasm quickly wanes.

This is why the gyms are empty after the second week in January, Danielle reports.

Without completely re-writing Danielle LaPorte’s chapter on resistance, I’ll sum it up by saying that when we start something new or make a really important decision, we’ll feel really good for a while. Then, we hit a wall and our motivation disappears.

The resistance we feel is biology: the cells in our bodies are literally changing. And while it bores us emotionally, our cells are happily chugging away, accommodating the change and welcome more. So we often give up right before the habit is formed (16 days is all it takes, says Todd Herman, Danielle's sports psychology coach friend).

I often refer to this feel-good time as the Honeymoon Period. Things seem all rosey and perfect for a while, but then the good layers start to peel away and you get to the not-so-pretty meat of the situation. Like, going on a diet. Moving to a new place. Starting a new job. Starting a hobby.

Chinese Fortune Cookie: Knowledge helps you make a living; wisdom helps you make a life.
Chinese Fortune Cookie: Knowledge helps you make a living; wisdom helps you make a life.

Danielle’s chapter inspired me to write this post, and I wanted to share the wisdom because I hope it helps you, too.

Resistance is natural. Remind yourself why you started, then work to get over the hump!

In short: when you’re feeling less than enthused about something, remind yourself why you set out to do it in the first place. Remember that your resistance is natural, and if you work to get over the hump, it’ll soon become a habit (only 16 days, what!).

Me? I know why I blog: to feel like I’ve accomplished something. To help others. To make connections. To write.

Do I sometimes feel meh about blogging? Absolutely. Do I use the reasons above to re-motivate myself? All the time.

As soon as I visualize my goals with blogging (and other things), it suddenly becomes easier to block out an hour of time to write instead of plopping myself in front of the TV.

What goals are you working towards? How do you pick yourself up on a meh day?