“I go great for about a month then just stop”
“I’m so excited at the start but it fades so quickly”
“I don’t know why I do it!”
The most common reason is nothing to do with what you’re trying to do. If you’re losing weight and then stop it’s probably not about food at all. If you start a course and quit, it’s less likely to be about the coursework than something else. If you’ve tried to learn a new language and given up it isn’t likely to be about the complexity of the language.
So many people tell you ‘it’s hard and that’s why you quit’, but they’re wrong. Sadly life and the mind are not that simple.
I’ve seen the same thing occur in weight loss and business. You have a goal and you are determined to succeed, yet you hold back. You feel ‘this isn’t going to be easy’, or ‘I’m not sure what to do’ and rather than find out what to do, or get stuck in to make the problem smaller, you hesitate, you second guess, and you start anticipating failure. Your heart isn’t in it as much and it seems like a bigger hill to climb.
Now, the catch 22 sets in. You’re building an expectation of failure and that eats into motivation and energy. Distraction (Facebook, TV, games, food, alcohol, etc.), unconsciously gives some temporary relief from the unpleasant feelings and you’re now in what we know as ‘Self Sabotage’.
You know what you want, but for some reason you avoid the steps that would make it real. Instead other activity gets in the way.
Normally you say things like ‘I need more motivation’, ‘I just need more energy’, ‘I need to be more focused’, and while all of these are true they are a small part of the picture.
Saying you need more motivation and ignoring why it keeps dropping is like pumping more air into a punctured Tyre. You need to understand the problem and fix it so you can build motivation that stays!
I’m going to let you into a little secret: one I’ve seen hundreds of times in clients in front of me. You don’t hold back or fail because of lack of motivation. You hold back or fail because of a belief in failure. Feelings drive behaviour. How you feel saps or generates energy. If you start with a deep rooted expectation that you won’t succeed, that sets the difficulty level much higher. If you can imagine yourself succeeding and have a good feeling about it, well, that’s what we call motivation!
The ‘Puncture’, that part that gives us the ‘ughhh, this will be effort and it probably won’t work anyhow’ feeling is old programming that your brain is using. It’s the part that stored past hurts and failures and is trying to steer you away from them again. It pushes you to avoid trying in case it’s a waste. It protects your ego from failure with the feeling ‘If I don’t try I can’t fail!’
To win, you need to notice the feeling when you feel low in energy or when you feel unmotivated. Stay with it, feel it, examine it. What belief goes with it? Is it, ‘I’ll fail’, ‘I’m not good at this’, ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘it’s too hard’ or what is it? Be aware of the belief and challenge it. Why do I believe this and feel this way.
All the usual suspects might be there – anxiety, trauma, stress, etc., but for some it is just habit and a drain on confidence. These can be challenged and changed, (so can those big three but they’re easier changed with expert help). Whenever you ‘wimp out’ or ‘give in’, notice the feeling and stay with it, challenge it, write it down. Get your brain to question it rather than obey it. You can succeed.
Change is easier than you think