How to Stay Motivated

I’d love to have a dollar for every time I am asked for ideas on how to stay motivated.

Because I think it’s a question on everybody’s lips.

How to keep going, how to stay focussed especially when you feel like you’re always slipping backwards.


Three steps forward, two steps back. That kind of thing.

There are many, many versions of it (the classic one being the smoker who stops for seven years, but takes it up again usually triggered by some emotional upheaval).

So how do you stay motivated?

The trick boils down to this.

When you feel that pull to move back to how it was, you’ve got to go and examine that.

You’ve got to turn towards that. You can’t just fight it.

If you try and resist it, it’s going to win.

You’ve got to turn towards it.

Because what’s really happening is that the pull to move back, well that’s the impulse to give yourself a break.

In other words what’s happening is you’re pushing yourself.

You’re pushing against what is normal for you, so you’re pushing your own comfort zone and your own barrier. You’re kind of pushing and you’re not noticing that you’re pushing because you’re doing what seems logical, and you’re working your way forward, and you’re wanting to build something new and all that sort of stuff.

You’re pushing without really noticing that you’re pushing, but you are actually out on the edge of your comfort zone.

Now what happens is that basically you can do that all day, but at some point you’ll realize that you’re tired. You’re not actually tired of the work. You’re tired of leaning on the edge of the comfort zone. There’s a bit of exhaustion from pushing on the edge of the comfort zone, and then the clock strikes five and a little voice out of nowhere says, ‘bugger it, you can have a glass of wine’, and suddenly the desire for that happens, or to go and watch TV, or to go out for dinner etc.

When you think about what is so attractive about these alternatives, well, the attraction is, that it gives you the chance to stop.

You can stop pushing, revitalize overnight, and then have another go tomorrow.

But it also means you don’t have to deal with the fact that you’re right on the edge of your comfort zone.

What’s really going on is that you’re actually on the edge of success, and it’s all feeling a bit weird and a bit odd, and suddenly all you want to do is make things come back into your comfort zone.

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But the thing is, if you’re pushing on the edge, all you’ve got to do is step back from the edge.

And by doing that you’re giving yourself a bit of relief.

The trick is to wait until it happens.

There you are in the afternoon. You’re powering along, and you’re about to move to do the next bit, and you think, ‘Ah, I’d rather stop and go and have a glass of wine’. When this happens, take a moment and just ask yourself, ‘What is the desire at this point for stopping?’.


You’ll find that it has to do with getting some relief and some revitalization. Because it means you can sit down. You can relax.

Sitting down and relaxing means by implication you must not have been sitting down and relaxing, therefore you were pushing and didn’t notice you were, and you want a break from that. Nine times out of ten it’s probably a good idea to do that. But when you notice there’s a pattern – and that it’s actually a pattern that’s stopping you from progressing – what it actually means is that you’re about to break through. You’re about to punch a hole in the edge of the comfort zone to break out.

The pattern is a form of self-sabotage.

Because that one thing that will give you the breakthrough is usually the thing that we’re going to do last.

How come?

Because it’s scary! Otherwise you’d be into it.

In our intellect we’re telling ourselves we’re not scared, but our actions are telling us, yeah, we’re scared all right, otherwise we’d be doing it. That’s pretty easy to do.

So we need to identify the thing that we need to do, the one thing that breaks our thinking?

Do you know what it is?

When you’ve worked it out, write down the one thing that you need to do more than anything else.

The reason that I say this is that in all likelihood it scares you a bit. After all, maybe it won’t work. And that’s the fear that’s running here. The fear of failure. The fear of rejection. It’s the fear that keeps the pattern running.

But if you don’t have a go, there’s no way of telling whether or not you will succeed.

So turn towards it. Have a go. And break through.

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