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Motivation is Overrated

If I had a dollar for every person who said to me, "I just wish I had your motivation". I guess people just think that I have this special super power of motivation that enables me to keep a regular routine of eating healthy, working out, and hustling hard in my businesses. But I disagree. I don't think it's about motivation at all.

I recently read James Clear's book "Atomic Habits". If you haven't read it--you should! It's an awesome book and FILLED with insights and practical advice on how to create good habits, quit bad habits,

and maintain them. But one of the things he says in the book that stuck out to me is "Forget about goals. Focus on systems instead. Results have little to do with the goals you set but rather your systems."

If I sat around and waited until I was motivated to do certain things, I'd never do them. Like doing the laundry, cleaning out my closet, meal prepping for the week, giving my husband a beard trim.....I mean these are all daunting tasks that are completely boring and come with little reward. (sorry Mike..haha) I probably almost never have FELT like doing any of them.

When my alarm goes off at 5am to get up and work on my daily goals, do a short devotional, and head out to the home gym to get a workout in....I don't feel motivated at that moment. Most mornings, I feel dog tired at that moment. BUT, because I have created a system, I go through with getting up and starting my morning routine. What's my system? Every night before bed, I pick out my workout clothes and set them right outside our bedroom door in the hallway. I also make sure my notebooks and my laptop are on the table downstairs ready to go. So when my alarm goes off at 5am, everything is already in place. I just have to roll out of bed. I don't ask myself if I FEEL like doing it in that moment. It's a non-negotiable. I just do it. It's a routine now for me. It's what I do. It's who I am.

Whatever it is you are desiring to do, you have to develop a system for doing it that will WORK FOR YOU. We are all different. The system that I just described to you that I do each night and morning, will not work for everyone. Maybe you're more like my husband. He's NOT a morning person. AT ALL. He doesn't even speak in the mornings. He's like a zombie walking through the house and leaving for work. So what's his system? He grabs his workout clothes every morning as he gets ready for work, puts them in a walmart bag, and puts them in his truck. When he leaves for work in the afternoon, he gets in his truck and heads straight for the gym. No questions asked. He just goes.

In an excellent article on motivation by James Clear (which I will link at the bottom of this post), he says "You don't need much motivation once you've started a behavior. Nearly all of the friction in a task is at the beginning. After you start, progress occurs more naturally. In other words, it is often easier to finish a task than it was to start it in the first place."

I have found this to be so very true. Once you start a new behavior, if you will carve out the time in your weekly/daily schedule to complete it, you will find that it doesn't take continual motivation to do it. It just becomes part of who you are and what you do.

So, think twice about saying, "I'm just not motivated to do anything right now" or "I just can't get myself motivated". As Steven Pressfield states in his book, The War of Art, “At some point, the pain of not doing it becomes greater than the pain of doing it.” There is a lot more pain associated with bad health, poor diet, and lack of movement than there is with the pain of meal prepping, healthy eating, and regular exercise.

What are your thoughts on motivation? How is this a struggle for you? What do you find easy to do and what do you find difficult? Share your thoughts below or feel free to ask me a question!

Here's that link to James Clear article of motivation:

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Melissa Stewart
Melissa Stewart
Jan 23, 2020

@jefflaurie923 - Thank you for this beautiful share from your heart. Let me first encourage you to give yourself some loving space and kindness because you are going through a difficult time with your son's health. And you are being an incredible mom by putting his needs first and expending all of your emotional and physical energy on making sure he is getting what he needs. I can't even begin to imagine having to do that PLUS trying to balance everything else in life AND take care of myself. Remember my post on the different seasons of life and how we have to adjust and adapt to them? Well, you are in an especially difficult season where you m…


This is a very good post! I have my devotional time in the morning as well. I get up early (4:15 am Mon-Fri), fix my husband's lunch for the day and then go downstairs to my office with cup of coffee in hand. Lately things have been crazy with my son's health deteriorating (kidney failure), so I haven't made myself a priority, and I'm afraid that shows. All the weight I had lost is back, which makes me so sick. I know realistically, I can't do 100% what I used to do, so I'm working on a plan that I feel I can do, and meal prepping certain things will be key for me. I will just have to keep…

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