The Key to Getting Motivated: Give Up
“Trying to ‘get motivated’ can often make matters worse. The real problem isn’t that you don’t feel like taking action. Rather, it’s the underlying assumption that you need to feel like taking action before you can act. Which explains the hidden pitfall of most ‘motivational’ advice: it’s not about how to get things done, but about how to get in the mood for getting things done.
“That wouldn’t matter if generating a feeling of enthusiasm were a simple matter of repeating affirmations in front of the mirror, or taping an upbeat Anthony Robbins quotation to your monitor, and glancing at it occasionally. But as research by the Harvard psychologist Daniel Wegner and others has repeatedly demonstrated, our efforts to control our emotions through sheer force of will can end in self-sabotage: resolve to get “psyched” about some unappealing task, and it’s all too easy to end up fixating on the gap between the emotion you feel and the one you wish you were feeling.”