Nothing worthwhile ever gets accomplished without motivation. Without motivation, life dries up. There’s no drive toward adventure, toward achieving a goal, or even toward getting out of bed in the morning. If you want to achieve a fulfilling life, you’ve got to have motivation on your side.
Isn’t it disappointing then when you go looking for motivation and its not there? Like a sailboat that has been abandoned by the wind, you’re left dead in the water until it returns.
But unlike the wind, you don’t have to wait for motivation to find its way back to you. You can summon it if you want to. You see, motivation is always a matter of perspective. Find that thing that speaks to your cares, and, voilà, you’ve just regained your motivation.
I bet you’re saying, “But there’s nothing right now I care all that much about.”
And therein lies the problem. You are looking for motivation in the present moment and it ain’t there. You’ve got to look for it somewhere else. You’ve got to step inside a time machine to gain a totally different perspective of what would motivate you right now.
Have you ever noticed that when you look back on your past you can more easily recognize the opportunities life was presenting you? Moreover, you can see how those opportunities might have drastically changed your life for the better had you been motivated to act upon them. But without hindsight into how life was going to turn out, you weren’t motivated to do anything. You simply didn’t care.
If only you could go back and do it all over again. You would care now, wouldn’t you? That’s the beauty of hindsight: it imparts a whole different perspective on life.
Now, imagine for a minute that you possessed hindsight about your life today. Imagine that you could see where the path you are traveling right now will lead. Imagine that you could see the end result of other paths too, ones you might have taken today. Do you think that would motivate you to do some things differently? Of course, it would!
The key, therefore, to summoning motivation, lies in imagining what it would be like to look back on today from the perspective of your future self. You may not possess hindsight, but you can create the perspective it imparts with just a little creative imagination on your part.
Your Future Self
Your future self shouldn’t be too hard to imagine. It has a lot in common with your current self. It just wants to be fulfilled. To do so, it will need to have made some progress toward accomplishing a goal(s). This is because humans are natural born creators. They find fulfillment in what they create through their dreams and their goals.
So let’s look at the difference a worthwhile goal would make to your future self, specifically, a goal that you are having difficulty getting motivated to act on right now. Spend a few minutes in the shoes of your future self, one year from now. In one year from now, you will likely be in one of two mindsets: depressed and feeling powerless in your ability to achieve fulfillment or enthusiastic and confident that you can.
The mindset will stem from the actions you have taken toward achieving your goal. The more proactive you have been, the greater and more confident you are going to feel. Indeed, that great feeling is actually a form of energy that will resonate with like forms of energies, meaning that it will attract positive people and circumstances into your life. As it turns out, working toward a worthwhile goal often creates advantages that far exceed it’s original aim.
Now imagine your future self in a year from now if you do not work consistently toward your goal. How will you feel if your situation looks almost identical to what it does now? Will you be looking back at today with regret for not caring enough to have applied yourself? Will you feel even more stuck than you do right now? What about your circumstances? How do you expect them to change if your attitude and effort are virtually the same?
If looking at your life a year from now doesn’t motivate you to take action today, then just fast forward to five years from now. All of our actions and, just as importantly, our inactions compound the further we play them out. For instance, those extra pounds we are carrying around today morphs into a serious weight problem in five years. On the other hand, taking even small actions, such as choosing to take the stairs over the elevator over the next five years slims us down and leaves us in better shape than what we are currently in right now.
The point is that looking at ourselves in the future can be quite an eye opener. Often times, we will not like what we discover. But if we are brave enough to take a long honest look, we will find the motivation we’ve been missing to follow through on our goals, not next year, not in five years, but in this very moment we are living right now.
Easy Five-Minute Exercise to Get Motivated Today
First thing in the morning, imagine what your life will look like one year from now based on today’s trajectory. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What might my day look like one year from today?
- Will I be in a better place?
- Will I feel greater freedom and empowerment?
- Will I have anything significant to show for the time that has passed?
- What might I wish I would have done differently when I look back?
Do this exercise at least once a week to cultivate the kind of motivation that would permit you to tap into your potential and achieve greater fulfillment in life. This exercise also works great when you just need a boost of motivation to start a project.
Below is a video by one of my favorite motivational speakers, Mel Robbins. In four minutes, she explains how to break the habit of procrastination.