Why You Should Not Wait for Motivation
Most people think that they'll get to the stuff they have been procrastinating once they feel motivated to do it. However, this is an illusion. If you wait for motivation, at best your progress will be very slow or in the worst case you may never get to the things that you plan on doing.
Why do we feel that we have to wait for motivation?
We have been sold this idea by our procrastinating self so that the current state of inertia doesn't feel uncomfortable. As human beings, it is only natural to choose pleasure over pain. However, by not doing the things we are supposed to do, our very pleasure may turn into pain.
When you start on new projects, you are excited to work on them because of the initial enthusiasm. However, this excitement may wane when you hit roadblocks in the project or feel particularly dejected because of external factors. In such times, it is easier to take the path of least resistance and settle back into your regular routine. For example, if you have a side project to work on in addition your regular day job, you may not get to it when things are rough if you sit around waiting for motivation.
Think about this. If you feel this way about the projects for which you have enthusiasm, you will never feel like starting the activities that are good for you in the long run, but feel like a chore today. So what can be done then?
The best thing to do is to begin. Have a plan and stick to it. This doesn't have to be some kind of grandiose plan. You can have a plan starting with small steps. For example, if you want to become a writer, establish a goal to write for an hour or write 500 words every day. If you want to be someone who exercises every day, plan to walk or jog for 15 minutes or 30 minutes every day. You can start small and gradually move on to heavier exercises. If you want to work on your side project, don't sit in front of the television after work. Plan to devote an hour to your side project every day.
The Perfection Trap
One trap that people fall into while working towards goals is the perfection trap. Perfect is the enemy of the good. The important thing is to get started. Anticipate that you won't have motivation, but stick to the grind anyway.
The Distraction Trap
Another trap is the distraction trap. You know what your distractions are. All you need to do is observe yourself for a few days and understand why you don't exercise, write or work on your side project. There are certain common patterns and behaviors that your current pleasure loving self is used to. You may have even convinced yourself that there's no time, whereas if it is a priority, you will make time. All you need to do is observe patterns of distractions and remove those distractions from your day.
Once you get started, you will soon find that your progress towards your goals is unstoppable. When you build momentum by starting work on your goals, motivation will automatically follow.