If you have something you should do - for any reason - and you struggle to muster up the motivation to do it, here’s a simple technique to get going:
- Write down all the long-term benefits that you can see from doing it.
- Pick the most important one. Stick to that one long-term value (for now).
- Write down all the immediate benefits from doing it.
- Pick the one that is most motivating for you and stick to that for now.
This will give you a clear picture of the single most important long-term purpose for doing something and the most important reason to do it right now.
I should start exercising. I realize I should start doing daily walks for 45 minutes. But why? I write down a bunch of reasons why, like “I want to get in shape”, “I want a more healthy body”, “I want to live longer” or “I don’t want to be puffing and breathing so much when I play with my kids”. I pick the one that is the most motivating for me: “I want to get in shape”.
But why today? Why now? I list all the potential reasons why I should get going right away: “I enjoy a walk in the woods”, “I get a sense of pride”, “My girlfriend gives me praise for it”, “I get to philosophize and structure my thoughts better when I talk to myself while walking”. I pick the last one.
And here I am doing my daily walks - for a long-term purpose and for a specific reason today.
The immediate reason can lose it’s power as you exhaust it. Then simply write a new list of immediate reasons to do it and pick the one that you now fancy the most.
If the long-term purpose loses its motivating power, find another that gives more energy by writing a new list and picking the one that rings true for you.
It can be this simple.