We’ve all felt that heaviness when we come up against an inner resistance when doing things we know we need to but may not want to. A conversation, going to the gym, work, etc etc.

Creating change would be impossible without motivation. Change requires doing things that are different and/or abnormal and doing abnormal things are difficult. If things were easy motivation wouldn’t be necessary.

So how do we summon up the power or strength to do what we don’t want to? My argument is that we do it because we’ve identified what we can get, have, or be if we do what we’ve identified. We see a bigger picture or can focus on a longer term goal. We expand our time domains to account for what we’ll have further into the future.

Mel Robbins is well known for her five second rule. The first five seconds after the idea to do or not do something comes into your mind is where we can engage in action rather than thinking about what to do. Thinking about it is usually where we end up being caught up in our bargaining or fear. Taking actions rather than waiting is where we can be courageous rather than afraid. After that five second window closes we often lose the battle with our brains.

I started taking cold showers way over a decade ago. I was living in southwest Colorado at the time. It was cold, very cold. I would start off with the water warm and then after a while I would turn the water to cold. Early on there were times I did not want to turn that knob to cold. I’d brace myself and psyche myself out. The games and bargains would ensue and away we’d go.

I used the method of once it came across my mind I started an internal countdown to take action. It became easier and easier.

The same method can be used for getting out of bed, grabbing your keys and heading to the gym, picking up the phone to make that call, send that text, or whatever else you’ve put off because you’re locked in your head. The skill is transferable.

What this means to me is that motivation is about our ability to take action. Get yourself into motion or start moving and then stay on track. That’s also why when we fall off and are required to restart it has the tax it does.

I truly believe that the ability to start, take action, or do things when you don’t really want to is something we build a capacity for. Motivation and courage go hand in hand there. The more we practice it and do it the easier it becomes. The perfectionist that lives in you will hate this. What if you make a mistake? What if you say something you can’t take back?

Here’s an inside secret I have around motivation and taking actions: my routines and patterns make it easy to simply have one thing happen after another in a sequence. After I establish a pattern and sequence my body and brain feel the familiarity of what’s supposed to happen next and actually assist me to keep doing what I’ve designed.

I’ll admit that there have been times where I’ve been so dependent on my patterns that I become brittle and fragile. If something in the sequence got removed or shifted I didn’t know what the hell to do. It can be a pretty good problem to have but it, too, needs to be dealt with.

The opportunity:

What are some things you continually fail to execute on?

Identify what you’re wanting in the end, the one thing to do to put yourself in motion towards what you want and the timing of how long you’ll give yourself to begin.

Take one or two of those and make a commitment to yourself that you’re going to use the 3, 5, or 10 second rule force action.


Thanks for your time, have a great day.

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