I don’t know if it’s just me, but I really struggle to self motivate. I’m constantly wishing to be better at being productive or creative, but unless I HAVE to do it, I often just tell myself “oh, I’ll do it tomorrow” or “I’ll get round to it eventually” and inevitably I end up wishing I’d done it sooner or motivated myself to actually achieve my goals.
When I lived with my parents, I could rely on my mum or my dad, or even my brother, to motivate me. When I was a student and lived with my friends, or at least when I saw them regularly, they motivated me to work hard. Now I live by myself, in a country that’s still very unfamiliar to me I find it hard to self motivate. Of course there are things I HAVE to do, like work and other responsibilities like bills and such, but when it comes to other things like self improvement, organisation and socializing, I often just choose not to. Or at least I choose not to at the time, and then regret it later.
I think a large part of that comes from the fact that the stuff I need to choose to do isn’t necessarily easy, it takes time, effort or in some cases it takes discomfort. And a key part of human nature is to choose whatever is easier, quicker or more enjoyable. Now I’m not saying that’s always a bad thing, but if we always choose the easy option its ultimately worse for us. Sometimes you have to choose the difficult path.
A good analogy for this is when I actually get around to working out. I HATE getting ready to work out. I’m not a gym bunny. I don’t have a high metabolism. I am not slim and I’m tall so I take up a lot more space than some of the more ‘athletically’ shaped people at the gym. Plus, here in Korea, I look different anyway. I sweat WAY more than the Korean gym attendees. I weigh more. I look way more like a tomato. The prospect of going to the gym is uncomfortable for me. And as all people know, the actual act of exercising is uncomfortable. If its easy, then odds are you’re doing it wrong, or your not pushing yourself. However, after I actually get to the gym, and once I get in a rhythm, I feel strong, I feel confident. I feel proud! I’m proud because even though it’s not easy, I did it anyway. And if I continue to decide to exercise, if I continue to make the uncomfortable decision to get up and move, I see results, I feel the results. It’s worth it. Especially if I compare my progress to what I was like when I only made the easy decisions.
I recently found a quote from a deceased professor from the university I work at, and it really struck a chord with me…
While the context in which I read this quote was different, it struck a chord because it addressed something which had been on my mind recently. There is no shortcut to achievement. If you truly want to achieve something, if you truly want to reach a personal goal, the journey there isn’t a straight line. It isn’t an easy path. It’s painful. It’s difficult. It’s a struggle. If you truly want to reach where you want to go, you have to work hard for it.
These days, we live in a world which claims quick fixes and instant gratification, but it damages us in the long term. If we want to see real change, in whatever area of our lives, we can’t just take the easiest and least painful route. We have to make difficult choices, we have to make sacrifices, we have to take the road less traveled. If we fall, if we hurt, we need to get back up and continue. We can take time to recover, but we need to carry on. We don’t just stop because it’s difficult. We dust ourselves off, and strive onward. We make the choice to struggle, to strengthen, to succeed.