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How to Find the Motivation to Do Hard Things

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A common reason why people lack the motivation to take meaningful action is because nothing is holistically driving their actions. Everything can and does add up to something, and if someone has no meaningful future vision or intended outcome, instant gratification will naturally outweigh less instantly-gratifying long term choices.

As humans, having a life purpose is important. However, it can’t be any purpose; it has to be one that truly resonates with our deepest selves. When in sync with this purpose, we have an undercurrent that’s positively influencing our choices on a subconscious level. 

Once in this state, it’s easier to stay in because the more positive our energy becomes, the more of a match it’ll be with other similar energy things. In other words, doing good things for ourselves is similar to the momentum of a ball rolling down a hill. This is why ‘cheat days’ can easily turn into ‘cheat weeks.’

The true secret to finding the motivation to do hard things, is to take small, meaningful actions that you know will ultimately lead to your vision in life. For example, if someone is running for president, it’ll be easier for them to eat well, exercise, and keep a productive schedule because they know all of these steps are essential for achieving and executing a successful campaign.

What is the vision driving you? Because if you can identify it, all of the difficult steps in your life will become easier. 

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If you don’t have a vision yet, can you still see positive change now? 

Yes, if you can ingrain within yourself the principle of flourishing vs. languishing. Just as the saying goes: you have to get A’s (on tests and quizzes) to have an A (in the class) –– if we want our overall life to flourish––then most of our micro moment-to-moment choices must also collectively add up towards flourishing rather than languishing.

The key to transforming your life energy is to ask as often as possible throughout your day: What would a flourishing person do? Then do it.

For example, imagine this: what would your life look like if you had everything put together in your life? If you were smashing your daily goals, etc. Imagine what this would feel like. Make a list of 5 – 10 things you would do every day that would help to ‘put your life together.’

It’s important not to imagine tasks that are too difficult or unrealistic; otherwise, they might leave you feeling discouraged by their ‘impossibility.’ As you imagine doing these doable tasks, soak up the sense of achievement and fulfillment you would get from it. Some of these tasks might even lead to you being more social or having more opportunities. Imagine what everyday of that life and the long term benefits would feel like. 

Now ask yourself: is the work/effort of doing those 5 – 10 tasks most days worth enjoying that feeling for the rest of your life? Yes! And if not, the tasks you chose might not be the most aligned with what you really want in life. 

Ultimately, having a long term vision is the easiest way to unlock deep motivation to take difficult action. However, if you can truly know that flourishing begets flourishing, you’ll be able to see changes in your life right away even if you don’t have a long-term vision yet.

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