Short answer – You don’t, but you can have the next best thing.
This idea that there’s this perma-motivated self-help guru who wakes up every day at 5 a.m, works out, meditates, feeds the homeless, then goes to complete a 14-hour workday on his seven-figure side business, just isn’t true.
There are the rare people who do work this hard, say someone like an Elon Musk, but he has goals that necessitate that level of effort.
If you’re able to create a life where you’re motivated, in general, you’ll be just fine. This is a place you can get to and this attitude will carry over into the actual days where you don’t feel so motivated.
Take my day for example. I didn’t feel extremely motivated to do much of anything. Still, I wrote two articles, will certainly hit the gym later, work on some videos, and record an episode for my podcast.
Now, will I work a 14 hour day? Probably not.
Will I blaze through every task with peak alertness and efficiency? Definitely not.
But I will do the thing I’ve managed to do almost every single day for the past five years of my life since I started this self-improvement journey.
I will work on something that moves the needle and make incremental progress along the way. This process of gradual growth creates a baseline most people can’t get to because they never reach that tipping point where motivation turns into habit and discipline.
90 percent of writers struggle to sit down and write anything, let alone daily. On a really bad day, I’ll still eek out at least 1,000 words, but usually somewhere from 3 to 4,000.
Most people struggle with getting to the gym regularly at all. I go 5 days a week and I never once have to decide to go.
I might blow the entire rest of the day after spending two to four hours working on meaningful things for my mind, health, and creativity, but I’ve created that baseline that makes my lows not all that low and sets myself up for extremely high highs.
Here’s how to do the same thing in your life.
You think you don’t have motivation, but you have an abundance of it.
You make decisions based on what your motivations constantly.
Why do people go to work every day even if they hate their jobs? Money, mainly not being out on the street homeless, is quite strong and persuasive motivation — so much so than you never ponder whether or not you’re going to go to work.
You need motivation to watch Netflix. You’re compelled by the entertainment of the shows, look forward to an escape from reality, or you genuinely want to wind down after a long day.
Motivation is context dependant. Think of a young kid with the dirtiest room you can imagine and Cheeto stains on his T-shirt. Yet, he’s been playing a video game for 8 hours straight. He’s highly motivated.
Dispel the myth you’re not driven by motivation. You are.
The problem is, you haven’t found a compelling reason to motivate yourself to do the really worthwhile things in life—things that require delayed gratification, facing your doubts, and overcoming obstacles.
How do you find something that compels you to do the work? You can draw a compelling reason from a variety of different places, but you have to make it compelling and you have to act quickly on the emotion that reason causes.
Sometimes, you’ll find a very compelling reason, you’ll get fired up, but then you’ll fizzle out. You can repeat this process over and over again. Most people do.
But, out of nowhere, you can find a reason that sticks long enough for you to reach the next step in creating lasting motivation.
This is why I tell people to focus on guessing their talents and strengths then using them to run experiments.
To this day, I’m not a super-motivated guy, but I built such a solid foundation because I found something I took to quickly and saw a future in with writing. I wasn’t great at it to start, but I could tell I had a chance to be good early on.
If you find something like that, the motivation you draw from gradually getting better spills over into other areas of your life.
Aside from, ‘I might be good at this’ some other compelling reasons to change your life are:
The most compelling reason of all? You don’t want to end up like most people in society.
You just don’t.
They’re good people. Hard-working. Intrinsically equal. But spending a third of your life doing what you don’t want to do just isn’t an ideal life. Nor is having zero control over your time. Nor is taking all your dreams to the grave with you because you were scared of nothing more than social rejection and a bruised ego.
There’s your reason to be more motivated. Not being motivated is absolutely fucked.
Understand this, and move to the next step.
These two concepts are the core of everything I’ve learned and taught about self-improvement. I mention them in every single article because they’re that important.
When you’re trying to build a new path for your life, completing the entire path itself isn’t important at all. You just need to complete the first 20 percent of the path and you’re 80 percent of the way there.
Most people quit almost instantly. About 95 percent of people who try an unconventional life path, business, or even a long-term goal like getting in excellent shape, quit before six months.
Few make it past a year. Almost none make it five years or more.
As you pass each milestone — 90 days, six months, a year, few years, five years — your odds of quitting fall sharply. Make it six to 12 months and you really have a shot.
You don’t have the full dream yet, but you have signs that success is possible — an audience, some customers, a two-pack at the top of your stomach, whatever — and you deposit little subconscious signals into your brain that you’re someone capable and deserving of success.
You do this piece by piece.
When I first started writing five years ago the prospect of writing three books, quitting my job, and owning a six-figure business wasn’t even in the realm of reality for me.
But it didn’t need to be.
Your biggest and wildest accomplishments will fall outside of what you currently think you’re capable of. So don’t even worry about them. Focus on getting traction first.
Next, there’s the self-improvement arc, which is just a fancy way of saying you’ve gone through the process of achieving a long-term goal. Once you go through an entire arc, you realize just how limiting your beliefs are.
And, when the next venture arises, you know from day one that you’ll never quit. You don’t have to guess or think.
I started a YouTube channel about a year ago and was able to commit a half-decade to work on it, just like that. The decision was set in stone right away.
After settling into my ‘dad bod’ during my marriage and finding myself 50 lbs heavier than I am now, I knew when I went to the gym on day one that it was a forgone conclusion.
Why? Because I’ve gone through the arc, the arc that is much like a workout routine — painful with little to no results, to begin with, some progress six months down the road, and effortless to continue once you have a year under your belt.
Follow this arc enough times and you reach the state of permanent motivation.
Some days I don’t feel like working all that hard and I don’t. I don’t wake up feeling like Tony Robbins every morning.
When I say I have daily motivation, it means that I’m certain my life is moving in a positive direction and that I’m going to do at least something to keep moving it that way.
I don’t worry about quitting, ever. I still have a bunch of self-doubts when it comes to larger goals, but I know they’re BS.
And since I’m doing something I enjoy and have spent a ton of time getting good at, all it takes is for me to start typing to get in the mood to write.
You can reach this point in your life too.
But no one can hit that traction point for you. Only you can do that.
I will leave you with some words of encouragement, though. I tried and failed at dozens of things before I got writing to stick.
I’ve been at truly lazy points in life with little to no motivation. But then, one day I stumbled across something worthwhile, decided to commit to it, and just…never stopped.
The same thing can happen to you and I sincerely hope it does.