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Motivation. Is it a feeling or a decision?

Updated: Sep 18, 2022

Most would argue that Motivation comes and goes, some days we feel motivated, other days, not so much, therefore it is a feeling. This feeling is fleeting, coming and going based on an elusive temporary mood or emotion. Saying things like, "I don't feel motivated today", and also saying that you can't rely on motivation, and that other factors such as discipline are needed to achieve any worthwhile goal.


Well maybe, it is actually how we define motivation where we go wrong. The dictionary defines motivation as the reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a certain way. Therefore, according to this, it is the REASON. So now that we hear the definition, is a reason a feeling? OR a decision?


Let me put this in different terms for a minute. If I took my car in for an oil change, and it was thousands of miles overdue, and when I get there the mechanic asks why I waited so long, I respond with "I felt overwhelmed", or "I was just too tired or too busy", does that have any influence on the reason why I brought the car in? No. I brought the car in because it needed the oil change as part of the maintenance and to keep the car running. That was the reason. How I felt about it, does not change the reason behind it.


In the same way, we can view ourselves as the car in the above scenario. If I have a fitness goal to lose 10 lbs, but I keep missing my sessions with the trainer, then the trainer asks me why I am missing it. And I say because "I am just too tired", does that change the reason behind it? No. My reason behind my desired behavior remains the same, however my feelings towards it can fluctuate. Yet we have connected the feelings towards the behavior as the "motivation", when this is entirely incorrect. Motivation is the reason. The reason why we do things. In terms you may have heard before, it is "your WHY". Many of you have heard the term, "your WHY" before reading it here. This is why it is critical to develop your WHY.


Your WHY is the reason. This is a decision. A decision. Feelings come and go towards the behavior however the reason should not change. Therefore, I urge you to consider motivation as a decision, NOT a feeling. Decide on your WHY today. Write it down. Hold fast to it, expecting that feelings may come and go, but your WHY will remain the same.


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