Posts Tagged ‘motivation’

ass backwards

I went to a conference on Wednesday and the final speaker spent an hour teaching us how to be happier. In truth, because of the type of work I do, he was actually teaching us how to teach other people how to be happier because happy people make happier workplaces. But whatever. 

You may have heard of him – Neil Pasricha. He’s written a couple of books including the Book of Awesome. 

There was actually a lot of great stuff in the session. Most of it, as is often the case with these things, was common sense. 

Of course I feel happier after I’ve taken a walk outside. Of course I know I should journal and focus on gratitude and make time for things I enjoy. 

I get it. 

I know. 

But then he actually got to the crux of the issue for me – the motivation part. He pointed out that so many people think they have to be motivated to do the thing, before they can do the thing. That the “want to do” comes before the “do.”

If I buy the right Moleskin notebook, I’ll want to write the book, and then I will write the book. 


That one hit a little close to home for me.  

I have a dozen “right” notebooks…and just the right pens to go with them. All the right tools but no closer to having actually written anything. 

Then he explained the way it works. 

Do the thing. Do it badly and wrong and one word, day, action at a time, but do it.

When you do it – you realize you can do it and then an amazing thing happens. 

You want to keep doing it.

So you keep doing it. 

Apparently I’ve had it ass backwards the whole time. 


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I want to do anything but go to my exercise class tonight. My friend won’t be there tonight which I realize is as lame an excuse as you can get but when you hate exercising as much as I do you’ll grasp at anything.

I want to go to Starbucks instead and order a chai latte (extra hot) and sigh with bliss when the first taste of sweet, spicy foam hits my tongue.

Instead I’m sitting outside the rec centre in my cold car, watching the minutes count down.

I want to go to the library and flip through magazines. I’ll pretend that I’m there to read Newsweek and Time when, in reality, I’m really there to look through the new issue of People with Adele on the cover. I totally need to know how she’s getting ready for her baby. This is important stuff people.

I want to wander aimlessly through Walmart, stopping to browse at the nail polish and eye cream sections. I want to buy myself a chocolate bar and savor every sweet morsel.

Instead I’m sitting here in my black stretchy exercise pants wishing I hadn’t said yes to that second helping of stuffing (or maybe it was the second piece of pumpkin pie?) at Thanksgiving dinner last weekend. Darn pumpkin pie. I am too weak to resist your charms.

And so I will get out of this car with my water bottle in hand and I will slink dejectedly across the parking lot to the rec centre for an hour of pain.

I will do it.

I will hate it but I will do it.

Even though I would rather be doing anything but.

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