There’s a balance between being completely unmotivated to do something versus when God is holding back the reins. When you’re walking with God, His perfect timing becomes a little more real than just a cliche saying. Then, of course, there are those moments when you’re truly unmotivated.
TO GYM OR NOT TO GYM
When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.Elon Musk
For instance, in the last month (or more), I progressively became unmotivated to go to the gym. There were valid reasons for prioritizing other things more for some weeks, such as family needs. But getting unmotivated gradually started affecting other parts of my life, too. It domino affected into other areas and made me feel like I had an unusually less amount of time and energy to work on things I wanted to. The thing is, I’m passionate about the gym! Not the building itself obviously but staying active for health reasons and all its other benefits, such as having more energy.
Something I realized though, is that I slowly became less motivated because my goal became less clear, and my end-result was practically non-existent. It’s not that I stopped being passionate about it, it’s just that I didn’t have a goal, or a compelling reason, to keep me going. And I think that’s part of the problem when we’re not motivated enough to do something.
You’re not thoroughly convinced that you need to accomplish that goal. You don’t see your end-result and can’t envision your future self. Your reason for achieving it is not compelling enough. And you don’t have a clear goal–or to be more specific, you don’t have a clear path to your goal.
Honestly, sometimes we have a lot going on in life and can’t seem to squeeze one more thing in. But if something, like exercising for health maintenance, is extremely important to you, it can take higher priority in place of another. But it’s up to you to determine that by asking yourself what truly matters for you.
TO PLAN OR NOT TO PLAN
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.Benjamin Franklin
Motivation is something you must work up for yourself. It doesn’t just come. Sometimes you get bursts of energy (i.e., inspiration) to do things, but motivation must get cultivated and maintained from point A to point B. You need to remind yourself of your reasons for it. In my case, I knew I didn’t want to go another week without prioritizing exercise for myself. I got fed up with not being motivated enough and not having a reason to keep going.
To help myself get motivated, I got out a pen and paper and wrote:
- Start date
- Aim date
I had to reassess why going to the gym was important for me and what my reasons were to build this back into my schedule. The start date helped work up my confidence and mental preparation to get started, while the aim date (not end date) helped create a plan to achieve my goal by that time. I chose the word aim because it felt like I could continue after reaching it, instead of concluding the goal altogether.
The definition of motivation is the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way, and also the general desire or willingness of someone to do something. To have a desire or willingness to do anything, you need to find your reason for it. Even if your reason is simply enjoying the activity!
We get unmotivated for things because we don’t have goals or plans set in place. Our priorities get scattered, and our attention spans decrease with the various life issues pulling for our attention. At least that’s how it was for me, and reassessing my reasons helped me build up the motivation which I seemed to have lost.
TO OBEY OR DISOBEY
Success is not final; failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.Winston Churchill
Other times God is holding back the reins. You’re not unmotivated, but ready and inspired to get something done. Most often, these are projects we believe will help other people, perhaps it’s a message stirring in your heart or a book in the works (as it is in my case), or maybe even a relationship you want to pursue. There are all kinds of situations that can apply to this.
As I mentioned earlier, I had family situations that came up which led me to put certain projects on pause, including my writing. When April rolled around, I prayed for direction and guidance for my blog and podcast, and the book I’m currently writing. And it felt like God was pulling the reins. I got this sense that I needed to trust His timing, His supply for creativity, and to lean into all that He’s teaching me–through the Word, through situations, and daily interactions.
I think about Paul in Acts 16, where the Holy Spirit didn’t allow them to go to Asia. He wasn’t short on motivation. He desired to spread the Gospel. But for whatever reason, the Holy Spirit kept him from going. And I believe that He still does that for us today. It’s not that we’re lacking a desire to accomplish something, but that, maybe it’s not His timing.
There were also people who were unmotivated to do things God called them to do–like Jonah! He wasn’t all that excited to preach to the Ninevites, and even disobeyed God. He had the reason to go there, God clearly gave it to him, but he had no desire for it. Maybe if he spent more time reassessing his priorities instead of looking for a ship going the opposite way, he would’ve worked up the desire to go (just kidding).
But simply put, sometimes our projects and desires don’t “go as planned” simply because God sees the bigger and better picture. It’s not to give us an excuse to sit back and get lazy, but to lean in and listen to what He’s actually saying. Maybe it is to rest!
CONCLUSION: GET BACK ON TRACK
When I get unmotivated for something, it’s easy to beat myself up for it. But I’m learning and recognizing that doing that is not helpful at all. If anything, it’s more of a setback. Instead, I’ve found it helpful to ask myself if it truly matters. Is it a priority? What’s my goal and compelling reason? What’s my plan (clear path)?
Second, when God is pulling the reins on my projects and plans, instead of pushing hard and [also] beating myself up for not making progress, it’s helpful to take a deep breath and remind yourself that there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens (Ecclesiastes 3:1), and to trust that God is using every part of your life to help you get closer to where you need to be.
What else would you add to this?
How do you get back on track?