The Number One Way to Get Motivated and Stay Motivated
By: Elizabeth L. Creecy
"The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, 'O God, forgive me,' or 'Help me.'”
Are you ready to get motivated?
Many people contact me asking, “How do I get motivated?” Getting motivated can be challenging, especially if it’s around a task you don’t want to do. Remember, we (believers) do not work for human masters but for the Lord. Sometimes reminding yourself of what Colossians 3:23-24 can be quite powerful:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
I get it, though. Sometimes that’s simpler said than done. Some of what I talk about is simple but not necessarily easy. First, let’s get clear on how motivation is created! Perhaps this will help it all click!
Motivation comes from activation.
A ball does not get momentum until some energy force activates it! As the ball begins to move, it picks up speed (momentum).
Therefore, you must get activated! The only way you will get motivation is by starting. Through taking that first step, the activation occurs, which can lead to the creation of motivation. Now here’s the thing – Watch your feelings!
You might not feel like doing it; that’s why Paul tells us not to focus on how we
feel, in 2 Corinthians 5:7:
For we live by faith, not by sight.
Assuming what you want to do is in line with the Word of God and what God wants you to do, you are going to have to start even when you feel reluctant. Ultimately, God and His Word need to inform your feelings. When you are tempted to listen to your emotions or your feelings are overwhelming you, resubmit yourself to God (James 4:7) – look to what the Word says! If your feelings line up with what the Word says, then excellent, follow that! But if your feelings contradict what the Word says, then say “no” to those thoughts or that activity. Regardless of how strong those feelings are! Emotions and feelings are not always trustworthy. Remember, God’s Word is your foundation and guide! Live by the Word of God, not your feelings.
It’s okay not to want to do something; don’t beat yourself up for it. That’s what the Devil wants you to do anyway. If Satan can get you condemning yourself, he won’t have to! Instead, accept the fact you don’t feel like doing it! Acknowledge your feelings as a feeling, not the truth, while remembering that your feelings can change quite quickly, and then begin. Sometimes what you
don’t feel like doing is precisely what you do need to do. If I am 100% honest, sometimes you just have to kick yourself in the booty by giving yourself tough love and get down to work!
For example, I don’t always like going to the gym, but I love how I feel afterward. Sometimes I think about what it will feel like once it’s completed (long-term thinking), verse how it feels right now (short-term thinking). Or sometimes, I don’t feel like seeing clients, but then I remember how much I love what I do and that the Father wants me to serve other people, and this is one way of doing that!
Here's a quick trick that can alleviate those domineering and entrapping thoughts when you really don't want to do something that you know you need to do!
I tell many of my clients to set a timer for 20 minutes. The reality is 20-minutes is not much time at all. So set your timer for 20 minutes and begin doing the task you feel unmotivated to do. Even if that means sitting in front of the computer screen, standing on the cardio equipment, or whatever it is you need to do. Remember, you’re only going to be doing it for 20 minutes. You can do it for 20-minutes!
Now, if you don’t get traction, which can happen, then stop! Some days when I am unsure if I want to work out, I will do this. I know, after 20-minutes, if my body doesn’t want to work out, then maybe that is the day I need to take a rest day!
What about those where you would like to do a hobby but just don’t feel like you have the energy? What do you do? The same thing. Even if that means you stare at the computer screen or paper for 20-minutes. Allow yourself to gently ease into things. Watch your expectations. It’s okay to go slow.
You see, what usually happens is you begin activating your motivation by just doing the activity. You will find the 20 minutes will fly by too. Most likely, you will end up continuing on with the task of realizing that it was not as bad as you were making it out to be. Some activities might take more time to get into the grove of things making the first 20 minutes go by slower than you hope, and that’s okay.
Sometimes you aren’t getting traction because you aren’t clear of all the steps necessary. If that’s the case, take a few minutes to plan out all the steps you need to take to get you to finish the line. I encourage you to work backward from the goal. Also, make the steps smaller as it is easier to get you motivated and committed.
Other times you may not want to try the thing you would like to do or know you need to do because of fear. That’s okay. Again acknowledge that fear by doing what Jesus would do! Sometimes you will need to tell the Devil or his principalities to “get behind you” (Matthew 16:23) just as Jesus did! Bear in mind, the Father NEVER gave you a spirit of fear! For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7). Tell the Spirit of Fear to get behind you, for it’s not coming from the Father. Allow the Father’s grace to be sufficient for you while holding on to the truth that YOU CAN do all things through Christ who gives you strength (2 Cor. 12:9; Philippians 4:13).
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Encourage yourself as the Father is encouraging you!
Lastly, do not forget that YOU CAN do all things through him (Christ) who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13, parentheses added). Perhaps reciting this verse would be a great way to encourage yourself but also to allow Jesus’ strength to move you versus your own.
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your grace and power. Thank You for all that you do. Father, help me to stay focused on the mission You have for my life. Help me be motivated and do all the things that I need to do and don’t want to do. Help me fight laziness and the devil with Your strength and not my own. Help me to be productive and remind me that all I do is for You! I love You and receive Your love and Your plans for my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.