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This post could have had a bunch of different titles:

  • Nontraditional Strategies for Motivation
  • What to Do When Motivation Just Won’t Come
  • How to Kick Yourself in the Butt
  • Maybe You Don’t Need Motivation (!!! You’ll understand this one in a few…)

Ultimately I knew it didn’t matter what I called it. We’ve ALL had the feeling I’m describing, and we all look for ways to get around it.

But I won’t get ahead of myself.

By now, you know I’m a podcast junkie. The Think and Grow Chick podcast by Courtney Sanders is one that fuels my habit.

Last week while driving to work, I listened to Courtney share all the lessons motherhood has taught her about motivation. And believe me, with an almost 2-year-old, I could ABSOLUTELY relate.

As always, I appreciated Courtney’s realness, her transparency, and her honesty about how she remains motivated in one of the most rewarding yet exhausting phases of life.

It made me realize that when it comes to matters of mindset, we actually need more realness, transparency, and honesty.

I’ve seen enough blog posts and IG graphics full of self-righteous quotes about self-motivation and grinding and hustling and working nonstop. But after you read those things, what life changes do you actually make?

Not many, I’d guess.

At the end of Courtney’s episode, I found myself wondering…

Is motivation really all it’s cracked up to be?

Why are we ALWAYS talking about motivation without acknowledging that sometimes motivation is NOT the answer.

In this post, I’m going give you two critical solutions to two critical questions:

  1. How to (realistically) get motivated when you’re exhausted AF
  2. How to get things done even when the motivation just won’t come no matter what

Pin me to come back to this post later!

Why are we obsessed with motivation?

I think our obsession with motivation is linked to our infatuation with “busy-ness,” “the grind,” and “the hustle.”

We just think it’s what we’re supposed to do constantly, to the extent that we don’t know what to do when we DON’T feel motivated.

According to the Google:

Sounds like a reasonable definition, but it doesn’t quite tell the whole story.

It’s actually helpful to understand that there are two major types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic.

  1. Intrinsic motivation comes from within.
  2. Extrinsic motivation comes from an outside source.

Neither is necessarily “better” than the other. We’re all intrinsically and extrinsically motivated depending on specific circumstances.

Here’s where the nontraditional strategies come in.

How to increase intrinsic motivation

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Do you really want it?

I’m gonna admit. My first reaction used to be that if you weren’t self-motivated enough to do something, it meant that you really didn’t want whatever it is you claim you wanted.

But as I lived a little longer, I realized that wasn’t always the case.

For various reasons, it is possible to really want something without being motivated enough to make it happen.

However, this question is still one that you should ask yourself from the jump.

When it comes to achieving big goals, it’s important to be able to have tough conversations with yourself in order to figure out what your goals really are.

2. Have you prayed about this?

Now this isn’t a spiritual blog, but I’d be lying if I said prayer wasn’t a huge part of my motivation mindset. It might also be a part of yours.

That being said, this topic is a potential source of conflict from a spiritual perspective. (My BFF and I recently had a conversation about this.)

There are some who believe that if you’re walking in your purpose, doors will be opened for you and that those open doors serve as confirmation that you’re aligned with your purpose.

However, there are others who believe that doors could be opened for you even if you’re not walking in your purpose and that open doors alone shouldn’t serve as confirmation.

Regardless of your belief, if you pray to a higher power, be sure to also pray about the goals that you’ve set for yourself. Make sure those goals are in alignment with your higher power.

How to increase extrinsic motivation

If you can’t muster up motivation from within, maybe you can find motivation externally. Here are a few nontraditional strategies to try:

1. Bribe yourself.

I told you these were non-traditional strategies!

“If you work out this morning, you can have XX for lunch.”

“If I knock out a blog post and a half, I can go out with my friends.”

“If I make an A in this class, I can take a vacation.”

Take the thing you really need to do and link it up with something you really want to do.

And then stick to the deal you make with yourself!

2. Guilt yourself.

Sometimes “doing it for your family” sounds good but it doesn’t produce actionable results.

Take it a step further.

Print out pictures of the people who motivate you – your spouse, your parents, your kids, Oprah – and hang them in places where you tend to feel unmotivated.

Your bed, your refrigerator, your desk…

Let them serve as constant reminders of WHY you need to get your shit together and start getting stuff done.

3. Have a BRIEF scroll on Instagram.

I almost don’t even want to include this in the list, but I trust that you will use this suggestion responsibly O_O. This brief scroll has the chance to go into unhealthy territory real quick…

I’m not promoting sabotaging your mental health, but I am promoting giving yourself a kick in the butt by using others as inspiration.

For example, on days when I REALLY REALLY REALLY don’t feel like working out, I check out my favorite fitness guru on IG…

Look at pics of Bey after having 3 kids…

Watch Tracee Ellis Ross’s workout videos…

Get just enough to be encouraged and motivated, but not enough to be envious and self-critical.

How to be productive when you just don’t FEEL like it (aka you aren’t motivated at all)?

Here’s the meat.

tell me what do you do when you've done all you can?

– Donnie McClurkin
This is when tough love comes in.

If there’s no motivation from within or from without, forget about motivation. You need to work on RESOLVE.

In many cases, resolve can be more important and more influential than motivation.

Motivation is an outcome, a result…It depends on something else to happen.

Resolve is a DECISION. Only you control that decision. You don’t need motivation to make that decision. You just need to decide to do it.

When you don’t FEEL like it – no, of course you don’t have motivation, but you still have resolve.

Another way to describe resolve is through Nike’s tagline: JUST DO IT.

When you don’t FEEL motivated – whatever! Who cares? You just freakin’ DO IT!

You don’t get motivated to do it. You JUST DO IT.

Courtney briefly alluded to this in her podcast episode by emphasizing the importance of not dwelling on things and thinking about things. She’s not promoting reckless abandon. She’s promoting RESOLVE.

That’s the answer. I hate to be so blunt, but it’s frustrating to aways see all these motivation tips as if we always have motivation. We don’t. That’s reality.

Resolve helps you operate and accomplish your goals in REALITY.

so what will you resolve to do today? this month? this year?!