Myths About Motivation: What Doesn’t Work


Not everyone looking to drop a few pounds and get into better shape needs outside motivation, but some of us do. So we’ve tried the encouraging phrases taped to a bathroom mirror. We’ve tried the inspirational (and heavily retouched magazine photos on a refrigerator door. Heck, we’ve even tried the smart phone app that sends us a daily reminder of how awesome we are. And yet there we sit, perpetually embraced by our couch cushions. Why doesn’t motivation actually, you know, motivate us? Why is working out just not … working out? The answer may be that what we’re trying not only doesn’t work, it may actually be working against us.

What Doesn’t Provide Real, Long-term Motivation

>If You Write It Down, It Will Happen – One of the most popular motivational techniques is simply writing down your goals somewhere or even simply telling someone else. The thinking goes that that when you write it down it becomes “real.” And to be honest, if you write it down it becomes more than just a thought in your head – it becomes tangible, even. But that’s really all it does. In others words, it’s barely ranks as even the seeds of eventual success.

See It To Believe It – Visualization of yourself reaching a goal is nice, but it may also lead you to believe that there’s not much more you need to do to make it happen. In fact, some research says that this motivation technique actually chips away at the very stamina required to finally achieve success. You spend so much time dreaming about crossing the finish line you can lose sight of the work required to actually run the race.

Do This, Get That – Motivation by reward seems so intuitive as to be practically part of our genetic makeup. After all, who hasn’t dangled a carrot in front of themselves in an attempt to help realize a goal? That’s all well and good, but more often than not effort begins to fade once the compensation is paid in full. For example, if you offer a child a puppy for cleaning his or her room every week for a month without being told, what’s to keep that intact once the furry bundle of joy finally arrives?

Obviously we’re not implying that these are completely useless approaches to achieving your ambitions, but only that they should be used more as parts of a plan rather than the plan, itself. Good luck!