The Motivation Cycle

Action generates inspiration which generates motivation.

The Motivation Cycle
Photo by Jeremy Perkins / Unsplash

Recently I came across two YouTube videos on where Motivation comes from. The general takeaway is not surprising, and it's advice I've heard before in different forms, but something about how it was said in these videos finally made it click for me.

Motivation is the result of action.

Not only does motivation drive action, it also is generated by action. This is why "waiting to feel motivated" rarely works, especially if you're coming from a place of inaction.

Naturally, my thoughts immediately shifted to how this works for disabled and chronically ill people who are struggling with lack of motivation in addition to the barriers and low-spoons that often come with being disabled.

Action generates inspiration which generates motivation.

Even if it's not an action directly related to what you're trying to accomplish, it can still generate the inspiration and motivation you need to then act on what you need to do. "Take a 5 minute walk" might be just what someone needs to work up the motivation and energy to get started on that next assignment. But what if taking a walk causes you a lot of pain and drains so much of your energy that it actually makes your work harder?

I'm starting to notice where I have black-and-white thinking after all, because I tend to push back hard if the example given doesn't work for me. But if I dig a little deeper, maybe I'll find it works after all.

"Take a 5 minute walk" is really about motion. What they mean is "get moving", maybe "get some air", maybe "spend some time in nature". All of these things can bring benefits and inspiration. Sometimes all it takes is a change of pace to get you unstuck. Sometimes all it takes is a buffer between one thing and the next. If the walk isn't an option for you, let's try to figure out something else that might work.

Here are the links to the videos on motivation that sparked these thoughts:

Share your thoughts on this motivation formula with me on Twitter.