Picture the scene: it’s January 1st and your motivation is sky-high. You’re armed with a list of aligned goals and you’re determined that this year is going to be the year you smash them. Fast forward two weeks and your motivation is lagging. Your goals feel like they are slowly slipping from your grip and the enthusiasm and self-belief you had mere days ago has gone MIA.

It’s a familiar tale for many of us and nothing to be ashamed of because here’s the thing: motivation doesn’t really exist. Sure, sometimes you feel really, really pumped to achieve your goals and like nothing or no one can stand in the way of your achievement. But when it comes down to it, our minds are actually primed to prevent us from doing anything uncomfortable. Our egos, the fear-based part of our brains, can stand in the way of those lofty goals, and motivation is no match for the ego.

You see, the ego wants us to be as comfortable as possible. It perceives any changes to your daily routine as a threat. It wants you to stay right where you are, even though you know you’re destined for better.

It’s something Mel Robbins has spoken about in the past. She says, “Motivation is garbage because at some point we bought into this myth that we have to feel ready to change… this falsehood that at some point you’re going to have the courage and the confidence.”

The trouble is, “In order to change and do all those things you know you want to do, you’re going to have to do things that are difficult, uncertain, or scary,” she continues.

Basically? Often when we try to feel motivated, our ego steps in and reminds us of the risks. It causes us to hesitate and make comfortable, familiar decisions about our lives, rather than the ones that will bring us closer to our goals. In short, fear sabotages motivation: it’s why it’s often so fleeting.

You can watch Mel’s comments here: 


Creating consistent habits

If you’ve set some pretty big goals this year (which we know you have), you might be feeling pretty bummed out to hear this news. But before you start mourning the loss of motivation and see this knowledge as a negative, let us tell you this: now that you know motivation is a temporary feeling you can fall back on something much more sturdy and reliable: discipline.

You may have heard the unattributed quote “Motivation gets you going, discipline is what keeps you growing.” Put simply, discipline means following through on your intentions, priorities and goals, even when the motivation isn’t there. It’s consistency that’s key.

That might seem like a tall order, but by living the following steps you can start to make discipline a daily habit. Soon you won’t need motivation to achieve your goals, because you’ll be making steady progress without it. How’s that for winning? 

Let’s dive in… 

Create small daily habits

Have you heard about the one per cent rule? In Atomic Habits, author James Clear says to build lasting habits you just need to improve by just one per cent every day. Trouble is, when fuelled by motivation, we often try to overhaul our entire lives in one fell swoop, rather than attempting to do things gradually. This approach can lead to overwhelm and eventually cause us to give up. 

So, here’s what you need to do instead: take the pressure off by considering how you can be just one per cent better every day. Maybe instead of committing to three gym sessions every week, you decide you’ll start by upping your daily step count by 1,000 steps, and commit to increasing it every day. 

Once you’ve mastered that you might decide that you’ll start getting your heart rate up by breaking into a run or completing a short workout. Over time, if you keep making gradual improvements like these you’ll get to where you want to be, whether that place is the gym, your dream job, or a loving relationship. 

See, the more you stick with these small habits, the more they’ll become a part of your identity, and, in turn, the more consistent you’ll become. 

James Clear calls it the “compound interest” of self-improvement. You're building your success little by little, step by step, instead of attempting to do it all at once. 

At the Head Plan we use our daily pages in the Productivity & Wellness Journal to write each of your daily habits down and make them happen!  


Reward your behaviour

Remember what we said about the ego before and how it likes to prevent us from moving forward? Well, get this: our ego is divided into three parts, the adult, the parent and the child. 

Just like a mischievous five-year-old, your child ego often wants to run amok; it doesn’t want to be disciplined, consistent, or follow through on your goals and it’ll happily steer you off course, particularly when your motivation is low. 

The good news? You can keep your child ego compliant by offering it rewards. Say you really don’t want to complete that tricky work task (your child ego would rather watch kitten videos on YouTube)  but you know you should because it’ll get you closer to your goals. You could get your child ego on board by offering it a reward like a hot cuppa or a cute purchase once it’s completed. 

The more you deliver these rewards, the more compliant your child ego will be. And you know what that means? You’ll be able to follow through on your intentions with a whole lot more ease. 

This is why rewards are included on our daily pages in the Productivity & Wellness Journal, they can be something as small as a cup of tea and chocolate in peace, a beautiful meditation, a bath, 15 minutes reading time, a phone call with your bestie or an episode of your favourite show. It is a moment of bliss in your day or anything that brings you joy, small or big. 

Here’s a pro tip: you can keep a wishlist online or at the back of your journal full of little treats you’re excited to purchase. Anytime you follow through on a task you really weren’t feeling motivated to do, pick one and add it to cart. It really works, trust us. 

Plan for setbacks

Guess what? Any time you set a goal, it’s likely that you’re going to be thrown a few curveballs. There will undoubtedly be tests and roadblocks along the way. The setbacks are there to help you grow, not to make you give up.

This is where your Head Plan Productivity & Wellness Journal is your BFF. Use it to not only plan out your day but to plan how you’ll overcome setbacks. When you use the weekly reflection pages you can note down any challenges you’ve faced, what lessons you’ve learned and how you’ll improve next week. It’s consistency in action.

Meanwhile, by setting daily tasks you’re ensuring your goals are top of the to-do list. It’s all about accountability and creating consistent habits you can stick to. Who needs motivation, eh?

Stop hesitating

In the video above, Mel Robbins points out that it’s hesitation that often holds us back from achieving our goals. We make split-second decisions where we decide to let our ego take control. Learning how to use that split second to your advantage can be life-changing.

You could try the Five Second Rule. When you’re faced with a scary or uncomfortable task, you simply count down from five to one and complete it before the fear-based part of your brain jumps in. Another hack? Close your eyes and visualize the outcome of achieving your goal and let that fuel you to move forward. 

Affirmations can be excellent for helping develop a strong sense of belief. Grab our Mirror Markers and write and repeat affirming statements like ‘I can achieve anything I put my mind to’ and ‘I have the courage to follow my dreams’.’ With practice, they’ll help you conquer the hesitation habit.

Consistency is key… 

Walt Disney once said that “all our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” The most important word in that sentence is “pursue”. Whether you’ve set a financial target, are building a company, or want to create a habit of self-love, you’ve got to consistently pursue those goals because motivation will only get you so far. 

Listen carefully: There is no giant step you need to take at the peak of your motivation. Really, achieving your goals is a series of quiet little steps taking over a period of time. And when you think about it, isn’t that so much more achievable? 

January 25, 2022

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