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The Motivation Myth You Really Need to Know If You Want To Make Changes

· motivation,making changes

Don't get me wrong. I do love a good motivational speaker.

Les Brown has to be my number one. Not only is the man hilarious, he is a great story-teller who will have you laughing one minute, tearful the next- before pumping you up so you're feeling ready to take on the world.

I love this. I love motivational speakers! The only problem is, it doesn't last.

I view motivation a lot like the tide- it comes and goes.

I'm sure you've had mornings when it felt like you woke up on top of the world, right? In high spirits and a spring in your step. Nothing could stop you.

Only to wake up the following morning and think to yourself ''I'd rather stay in Bed, I'm done with being an adult''.

Because of Motivation's fleeting nature, I consider it's importance over-rated when it comes to taking action.


The bottom line is this- We don't need to feel motivated in order take action. Whether we feel like it or not, we can act.

In my new client questionnaires, often I'll read 'I'd like more motivation'.

We've grown to tell ourselves that if only we felt motivated, we would take action towards achieving our goals.

In truth, motivation helps but it isn't necessary.

What we really need is... Discipline.

It is discipline that will get me to the Gym on those cold winter mornings.

It is discipline that makes you turn down that late night beer after work.

It's discipline that ensures we stay on track with our goals.

I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.' - Muhammad Ali

Imagine for a moment, if Muhammad Ali had only trained when he felt motivated to?

How different would his life have looked, I wonder?

3 Tips for getting Disciplined

1. Get clear on your non-negotiables.

The first step to getting more Disciplined is to get clear on your non-negotiables.

The commitments, the personal standard you are not willing to negotiate on.

Perhaps it's about going to bed at a certain time each night, a set number of workouts per week or a minimum amount of water drank each day.

Looking at your current goals- what non-negotiables can you commit to that will you serve you in achieving your goals?

I once had a year 7 science Teacher called Dr. O'Reily, a fierce North Irish lady with very clear non-negotiables.

Walking into our first lesson, we were told ''I don't mind any of you being late for my classes as long as you have a valid excuse- death, loss of limb, something like that''.

She wasn't joking. We quickly learned her high standard and to no surprise, my class left Year 7 with great grades. Her very clear standard of what was expected helped us all to excel.

2. Set yourself up for Success

Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.

So I've recently joined a gym. I'll pack my gym bag with my kit and water bottle, the night before.

Even if I wake up and don't feel motivated to leave the house and go for a workout (this often happens)- it's easy enough for me to take that initial step and leave the house. Grab my bag which is by the door, and off I go.

When we're waiting to see if we're motivated or 'feel like', we're not best prepared for taking that step. Which is only more work and more reasons to say no.

Get one step ahead of yourself by preparing.

How can you prepare better and make it easier for yourself to push through lack of motivation?

3. Trust it will get easier.

Your discipline muscle gets stronger the more you use it.

In Hal Elrod's book, The Miracle Morning, he shares an idea to keep in mind when making changes and developing habits.

Let's say it takes 30 days to a form a habit (I appreciate the research is mixed around the truth in this- I'm using 30 days just for this example).

The first 10 days= It will be unbearable.

Days 10-20= It will be uncomfortable.

Days 20-30= You'll be unstoppable.

Of course, this is a generalisation but there is truth in it.

In the beginning, it's always a struggle but, it does get easier.

Bear in mind if you can commit to showing up, being disciplined in the beginning, at some point, the struggle will subside.

Look back at the changes you've made in the past and I'm sure you'll find some personal examples where this has been the case for you too.

So think long term.

Sure, right now you may feel unmotivated but trust it will get easier and soon you'll be enjoying the positive benefits of making the changes you desire.

I'll end by saying this- motivation has its place in the change process.

However, it shouldn't be relied on to get us to where we want to be.

Thanks for reading,

With Love,


Enjoy this short clip from the man himself, Mr. Les Brown!


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Will Aylward