“The hardest part of any important task is getting started on it in the first place. Once you actually begin work on a valuable task, you seem to be naturally motivated to continue.”
― Brian Tracy
Health is one of my top core values. Therefore, I respect and honor it by exercising regularly, eating nutrient-dense foods, and training my mind.
Despite having a strong belief in healthy-living, there are times when I want to take the easy out. During those moments, behaviors may include the following:
Not working out even though I don’t feel tired.
Choosing to eat “empty” calorie foods that harm my body.
Telling myself I’m too busy to meditate.
Although I know what I need to do, I still resist and not go through with it.
In these challenging times, I remind myself of the importance of living a congruent life by asking this simple yet powerful question.
“Is doing this activity or spending time with this person aligned with my values and who I am as a person?”
More often times than not, the answer is “no.”
By going through this mental exercise, I regain the emotional drive to execute on my plans. Feeling motivated, I am excited to work on my goals.
Once the initial barrier has been overcome, it’s relatively easy to keep going. With inertia now on my side, stopping my momentum becomes difficult.
And once I’m done, I experience fulfillment and satisfaction because I chose to do the things my heart deeply desires,
Leverage Your Pathos
With the growth of technological advancements, you’re constantly bombarded with information overload (such as this article).
Having the ability to access knowledge at your fingertips within seconds, you may be overwhelmed. This can cause you to be in a state of analysis paralysis.
You may be wanting to collect all the necessary data before you make the decision to act. The longer you stay there, the harder it will be for you to implement what you’ve learned.
What you lack is not instruction, but the emotional motivation to do.
To help you get started, you can tap into your “pathos” for the necessary inspiration.
In Aristotle’s rhetorical triangle, he discusses the following three appeals:
Logos – The Greek word for logic. This can be facts, research studies, and statistics used to persuade an argument.
Ethos – It’s also known as ethics in English. Status, credentials, and professionalism are criteria that contribute to ethos. They help build your credibility in presenting a topic or idea.
Pathos – Emotion is the last piece needed to create a powerful influence on others. Sadness, fear, joy, and excitement are all impactful feelings required to motivate others to act.
To overcome the initial hurdle to start, you must feel the essential emotional desire.
For instance, every cigarette smoker knows tobacco is unhealthy. But why do some quit and some don’t?
It has to do with their psychological need to quit.
If a parent is a smoker and his son tells him this:
“Hey, dad. I don’t want you to die early. I want you to be there for my wedding.”
Upon hearing this, the father could feel the potential pain he would experience if he weren’t there for his son’s big day. In addition, he could miss other blessing moments such as the birth of his grandchildren.
Seeing those vivid images in his head, the smoker could use that emotion of sadness as motivation to quit smoking permanently.
By leveraging your feelings, you can propel yourself to do the things you know you must do even though they can be difficult.
Keep the Momentum Going
After you have the emotional needs to begin, the hardest part is already done. All you have to do now is to maintain course and keep striving forward. At this point, you’ve already eliminated the initial inertia. Since you’re in motion, it’s much easier to continue on than to stop completely.
Take exercise for an example.
The most challenging part of working out isn’t the training itself. Rather, it’s about adjusting your schedule to make time for it. Once you overcome the resistance of getting to the gym or putting on your fitness clothes, you’re already more than 50% done.
After all that effort, you’re more inclined to stick with your exercise session.
And afterward, you can use that positive force to eat healthily and further nourish your body.
Momentum becomes your greatest ally because you’re building small wins that create encouraging results.
When you feel great about your actions, you will want to repeat those same behaviors in the future.
There’s a huge difference between knowing and living.
The problem is not identifying what to do. Because deep down, we have the answers. And if we don’t, we can easily find them through the numerous available resources.
The real challenge is applying the information we have gathered.
To motivate yourself to take action, you can evoke the emotional drive you need.
This may include the following:
Revisiting your strong reasons for doing that particular activity.
Envisioning the benefits of following through.
Imagining the consequences of staying the same and not executing your plans.
Going through the above scenarios will create the feelings you need to take the first step.
Use that initial burst to catalyze the creation of something great. Let momentum propel you forward and keep you grounded in your desires.
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