How to be more consistent

A client recently asked for some motivation.

Specifically, she wanted to be motivated to consistently take some actions that she was currently being inconsistent about.

Even more specific…how ‘bout I just tell you exactly what she said?

Client: “I exercise sporadically, I make efforts towards finding a new job sporadically, I take care of my needs sporadically. I can’t seem to take any of these actions consistently. Any good ideas for motivation?”

And rather than try to explain my view on this, how ‘bout I just tell you exactly what I said?

Me: “I’m of the mindset that if it were truly important to you, it wouldn’t be sporadic. I’m guessing you brush your teeth and feed your kids consistently; those have never been a problem. Your inconsistent results are likely indications that these things simply aren’t major priorities right now. And THAT’S OKAY.

We get so caught up in thinking we should want to exercise, prepare for the future, whatever, and then we beat ourselves up for not doing better. But who says we should want those things? Said another way, do YOU even want those things–really–or are they things you think you should want?

Question what you think you want and why you think you want it.

If you really and truly want something, it feels good and lights you up to think about it. You feel a natural push toward action.

But when you want something because you think it will help you avoid some horrible outcome or because you think you should want it, there is no feel-good. And there is definitely no natural inclination to act.

It’s the difference between wanting to exercise because it feels good versus “wanting” to exercise because you are afraid of getting fat or because you believe that adult women should exercise. Those reasons create extremely different feelings. The first needs no motivation–the motivation is built in. The latter two require motivation and usually end up leading to inconsistent, sporadic action because they aren’t true wants.

It’s the difference between wanting a new career so that you can add value to the world or so that you can have fun or so that you can earn money to play with versus wanting a new career so that you feel important.

The first few reasons are approach-based…you’re approaching something awesome. The last reason is avoidance-based.

The first few are genuine. The last is superficial.

Again, approach-based, genuine desires require no motivation. Avoidance-based, superficial “desires” require lots of motivation and muscle and effort.

I suggest you first determine what YOU really and truly want. What feels delicious, lights you up, sounds like bliss right now?

Then, do that. And oh yeah, accept that you want what you want. Let yourself off the hook for not wanting to exercise if you don’t really want to. Take a break from trying to be better than you are.

You don’t need improvement…truth and acceptance will do the job just fine.”

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