How to Motivate Yourself (without enduring massive pain)

If you find yourself unable to motivate yourself, squeeze out willpower to do that thing, here’s how to make it easier.

First, I don’t think there are “lazy” people. There are just people that don’t know what they want, why they want it. Everything that you can’t “motivate” yourself to do comes down to cost vs benefit. So motivation, in my opinion, is actually and cost and benefit management.

Say you want to hit the gym, and you started but ended up not going after a little while, that’s because you associate cost of going over benefits of going. Same if you were going to quit smoking, pick up playing an instrument, learning something, etc.

So here are the ways to get yourself more motivated:

1. Increase perceived benefits: you want to hit the gym everyday? You want to quit smoking? You want to play an instrument? Really do your research, figure out why and give yourself a strong WHY. I hit the gym everyday because I know it will give me more energy throughout the day, and increase my efficiency, make me happier, sleep better at night, etc.

If your why is strong enough, you will get going. Even the “laziest” person on earth will. (if there’s such thing as “lazy”).

2. Reduce cost of doing it: There is an very good concept that I read from a book. It says basically everyone has limited willpower. Even if you can perceive great benefit, because the benefit is later and the cost is now (aka delayed gratification), you need to exert “willpower” to make it happen. And willpower is limited with everyone (which this limit can be stretched though, possibly justify the word “lazy” to those with more limited willpower and those “hardworking” ones with less limited.

So in essence, try to reduce cost as much as possible. If you are trying to hit the gym everyday, make it easier on yourself each day. Put out the gym clothes the night before. If you want to quit smoking, don’t carry lighter around (making the cost of smoking higher, and reducing the cost of NOT smoking). If you want to play an instrument, put the instrument out where its easily reachable (reducing the cost of having to take it out from the closet).

Also, final point, pick something that’s worth your willpower the most, since it’s limited. If you are trying to quit smoking, don’t do it all at once with losing weight, learning a new language, and all these other things that suck up willpower. Focus on things that are important, and reward yourself with non-willpower-draining activities like watching TV, relaxing, enjoy a hobby!.

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