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Why I Think Motivation is Crap
I’m sure you have heard it over and over again. Motivation is the key to success. Find the motivation to achieve your goals! My reaction to that is bullshit, motivation is crap! I’ve searched for motivation high and low and that little bastard is the best hide-and-seek player I know. Let me dig a little deeper into this before you get all Beyonce on me and say “well, of course, you need motivation to succeed”.
Motivation literally means the desire to do something. Seriously, if I waited until I felt like doing something, I’d never get anything done! The only time I think motivation works is when one person is motivating someone else. Now don’t get me wrong here, I know that motivation for some people is the “reason” they are doing something.
When you have depression and/or anxiety motivation can seriously be non-existent. Why? Because even if you have a very “motivating reason” like for your kids, for better health, for sanity. Depression can take that reason and throw it right out the window. Have you ever gone days without leaving your house… your pajamas… or your BED?! Iknow I have.
This is why I think motivation is crap. I suffer(ed) from depression/anxiety. It can be debilitating. But I have a system that helps me push past this. I don’t need motivation. Motivation is crap! Let me break it down for you…
When we make decisions, we don’t make those decisions based on what we know we need to do. No, we make decisions based on how we feel, right now. If we’re in a depressive state a majority of the time, how sound do you think those decisions we make are going to be? If we feel bad, we’re probably going to make bad decisions. Ones we know we shouldn’t (or should) make to accomplish those goals we keep putting off.
Bliss inner voice: “I should really eat healthy today.”
Depressive inner voice: “Eating healthy is too hard and doesn’t taste nearly as good. Who cares, life is short, eat what you want.”
Bliss inner voice: “But you know eating right makes you feel better, not just physically but mentally too.”
Depressive inner voice: “You’re tired and you don’t have time to do anything but a quick, cheap and crappy meal that tastes good in the moment. Go ahead eat your feelings, it’s ok.”
But here’s the deal. You’re never, ever, EVER going to feel like doing the things you know you NEED to do (aka motivation) in order to have what you want. [I mean eventually you probably will, but it takes a long time to get to that point. We’re talking making a new change here.] If you’re a parent this analogy will more than likely hit home (even if you’re a pet parent). Think about how we need to parent kids. If we didn’t push our kids to do their homework, eat their vegetables, say please and thank you and just let them do what they feel like. They’d be permanently embedded in the couch watching tv or playing games 24/7. And they’d grow up to be inconsiderate jerks or possibly worse: a menace to humankind.
Your Inner Child
I like to think of my inner voice like it’s a little child. More specifically it’s me, as a little girl (see cute picture above). Innocent, full of wonder and curiosity, wide-eyed and ready to learn. However, when depression kicks in, that’s when this sweet innocent child turns into a toddler having a temper tantrum and refuses to do anything they know they should do. She’s irritable, moody, cries with the snap of a finger, hates her life and doesn’t want to do anything.
When we start to get down, we get REALLY hard on ourselves. We talk down to ourselves, say negative things about how we look, call ourselves stupid, etc. We need to stop doing that – especially in our depressive state. And this exercise I’ve started recently works so extremely well, that it’s totally shifted my mindset.
Parent Your Inner Brat
Since we’re talking about motivation here – this is how you parent that inner “brat” to really get your ass in gear despite your depression. When you have a thought or feeling like you should be doing something to make a change (like healthy meal planning), act on it immediately. And I mean I-M-M-E-D-I-A-T-E-L-Y!!!
If you don’t act immediately that bratty toddler voice is going to come up with thousands of excuses for you NOT to do it. There are several ways you can act on this thought – whether that be to make a grocery list, dig through recipes, research healthy eating tools, or even just to schedule a time in your phone with a reminder to sit down and do this. Whatever big or small action you can take immediately will help push you towards your ultimate goal.
You need to remind yourself that YOU are in charge here and you need to get that little girl to do what she’s told. You also need to truly parent her here. Hold her hand, remind her of all the tasks she needs to do. The biggest thing here is you need to be constantly taking action. Don’t. Stop. Moving.
Remind that girl of what she needs to be doing. Be firm with her and don’t let her off the hook. But here’s the catch, you need to do all this like a loving parent would do to get their child to do something. You can’t yell at her and call her stupid or fat. That’s going to push her down even farther. No, you need to be encouraging and uplifting to her. Remind her that YES SHE CAN do this. She is beautiful, strong and when she really puts her mind to it she can accomplish ANYTHING!
Treat that little girl with compassion and respect and you’ll start to see less and less of that bratty toddler. Soon enough, you won’t need motivation. Because motivation is crap anyway.
Bonus tip: Find a picture of yourself as a young girl that you love and use that picture as motivation to treat yourself with kindness. I went so far and posted this picture as my personal Facebook profile. Every time I see that picture (same one as above) I am reminded that I am still that beautiful little girl who deserves happiness and love, especially from herself.
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P.S. Can you please share the below image on Pinterest? That would be awesome!