No, Motivation Does Not Come Before Action, It Comes After It: How Motivation Actually Works

“Unfortunately, you’re wrong. Motivation does not come first, action does! You have to prime the pump. Then you will begin to get motivated, and the fluids will flow spontaneously.”

– David D. Burns

The assumption is that motivation will wait around for something to happen when that is not true! People look for ways to get motivated, then start doing the work, but will often find themselves losing the motivation to continue, and the action fades away! It’s because you have the formula reversed. Action first then motivation!

Motivation is like a small plant. It cannot sustain itself when it is born, you need to keep on taking small actions to feed into it and sustain it, so it keeps growing and continuing on. In simpler terms, you need to start off with small actions and then you will notice motivation following right behind you!

Whether it be starting a healthy lifestyle by exercising, you start off with baby steps, like putting on workout clothes, then automatically the next thing to do would be putting on workout shoes, and the next is rolling the mat to exercise on! It is a series of steps or actions that lead us to start such habits. And as we continue to take these actions, we will be motivated!

You will never plough a field by turning it over in your mind

Irish Poverb

So here are some tips on taking small actions:

  • Start With Small Steps
  • Don’t Be Afraid Of Restarting
  • Start With The Level You Are In Right Now
  • Continue Making Regular Small Steps
  • Do Not Give Up!
Photo by Julia Larson on

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