What would make your life more extraordinary?
Do you want to run a marathon, eat healthier, write a novel, move to another country, go back to school, finish a degree, travel the world, apply for another job? Maybe all of the above.
Too often, we wait for motivation to strike before we take that first step to pursuing our dreams.
“I don’t feel like exercising today. It’s too cold out. I’ll start tomorrow.”
“I know I said I’d eat more vegetables, but work has been so busy. I’ll just grab something quick, and start my healthy eating plan on Monday.”
“I really want to write a book, but I don’t have my character’s motivation figured out yet. Or the plot. Or what genre this is supposed to be. I don’t want this to suck, so I’ll just wait until I get everything figured out.”
How many times have you said or felt something similar?
The truth is, most of us are guilty of waiting for motivation at one time or another. We want that magical muse to show up and fill us with an inspiration so powerful that we simply have to take action.
But I’ll tell you a secret.
If you want to be motivated, if you want that muse to show up, you have to do something first.
You have to start.
You have to go to the gym when you don’t have time. You have to run your first mile when it’s raining. You have to sit down to write even when you have no idea what to write about, when you’re tired and the most painful thing in the world is sitting there and staring at that blank screen. You have to spend a little more time to make that salad instead of grabbing the grilled cheese sandwich.
One of the most powerful quotes I’ve ever heard about this came from Oprah Winfrey. Loosely paraphrased, she said, “Discipline does not come from doing what we want to do. It comes from doing what we know we should do, everyday, even when we don’t feel like it–especially when we don’t feel like it.”
So you have to start, but you also have to keep going. Don’t stop.
I love kickboxing. I love writing. But if I take enough time away from either one, it’s hell to get back into the routine again. The reason why is simple. Kickboxing and writing both take a lot of time, and a considerable investment. I invest physical energy in my kickboxing, and mental energy in my writing. If I stop either one, it’s not like that time and energy just stays there, waiting. It gets used up by other things. Usually things that don’t make me feel as good, but are easier. That don’t require me to expend as much energy.
How often have you been dedicated to something, fallen out of the routine, and then looked back and wondered how on earth you ever made time for it in the first place? Other things have rushed in to fill that void. You are now stuck in the comfort zone. You may be cozy and warm, but you’re not moving. You’re not growing. You probably feel guilty, because you know you’re not working up to your full potential.
As Rita Golden Gelman says, “Your comfort zone is a trap.”
The good news is, all you have to do to find your muse–to find that motivation again–is to start. Then wake up the next day and start all over again. Keep taking baby steps, and eventually you’ll find it’s not a struggle anymore.
And you’ll wonder what the big deal was in the first place.
What would you like to start? Is there anything you could do to make your life less ordinary, one step at a time?