#299: Power Play – Motivation follows action

Heart and Ice Power Play - Motivation follows action

One of the excuses for procrastination is that you if don’t feel like doing something, you put it off until you feel like it.  But motivation doesn’t come before action, it follows action.  When you jump in and start doing something, it motivates you to do more.  It’s the theory behind ‘just one thing.’  If you tell yourself that all you need to do is one thing, it often motivates you to do one more thing.  When you see how good it felt to accomplish something, you want more of that feeling – that’s motivation!  Action leads to motivation, which usually leads to more action.  If you always waited until you were in the mood, it may never get done.  Sometimes you just have to dive in and begin.

Game Plan:  One trick I like to practice is that if something will take fewer than 2 minutes, I do it right that minute instead of letting it dwell in the back of my mind.  If you’re struggling with motivation, try the ‘Antiprocrastination Sheet’ from the book Feeling Good.  Break the task down into steps and write down the predicted difficulty and predicted satisfaction as a percentage out of 100 before you attempt the task.  (For example, you may give scrubbing the kitchen floor a predicted difficulty of 80% and a predicted satisfaction of 40%.)  When you’ve completed each step, record the actual difficulty and actual satisfaction.  You will probably find that the actual difficulty was much less than your predicted difficulty, and it likely gave you more satisfaction than you would have expected.  Seeing the difference from what you predicted in your mind to the actual result can motivate you and increase your productivity.


Quote source: David D. Burns, Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy


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