Personal Growth

How Action Inspires Motivation

Have you ever hung around, waiting for inspiration to strike? Maybe you had work to complete that needed a little more creative thinking, but you weren’t feeling it. You might have even tried various things at the time to find motivation – maybe in scanning Pinterest for ideas. Or perhaps you looked for inspiration in nature, by taking a walk.

Did it work? Chances are, you might have found a dab of motivation wrapped up in inspiration and it might have launched you – for about ten minutes. And then you were back to feeling unmotivated, but now that feeling was coupled with the idea that maybe you just weren’t capable of creativity or being lazy.

The problem is, by seeking out motivation first, you’re putting the cart before the horse.

Motivation works best when it comes after the action has already started. If that’s the case, then what can you do to get motivated?

1. Start by doing something. Anything. Any action itself inspires motion. How do you do that? By using the momentum of a project that you’re already engaged in, you’re able to use your current forward motion to encourage you to keep going. It’s the difference between the ‘carrot’ and the ‘stick.’

In the old classic analogy, to move a donkey forward (donkeys being stubborn creatures) you have two choices. One is to use a stick. In this case, the ‘stick’ is the old way of motivating ourselves, where we try to force ourselves into action by throwing a lot of “You must do this now” statements at ourselves.

But in starting action first, we now switch over to the ‘carrot’ or the reward. This method of motivation is much more positive because you’re looking at the fact that you’re already doing something and asking yourself to keep going. Think, “Hooray for you, look at how much you’ve gotten done today, let’s see how much more you can do!”

The problem is, sometimes action alone isn’t doing it, and we’re still forcing ourselves along. That’s where the second method comes into play.

2. Act ‘As-if” The idea behind this method is simple – you act like you’re already motivated, and amazingly, you’ll feel motivated. It’s kind of like making yourself smile when you’re not happy, only to find out once you’re smiling that you’re feeling happier.

Together these two tools will motivate you even when you’re not feeling inspired initially. Remember that action is the key. So act first – the motivation will follow. You’ll be amazed at the difference.


Which of these ways if either, or both may help you to get motivated?

If these do not resonate, what else can you do? Take a moment to Google Ways to Get Motivated and make a list so you can use them when you are in need! You never know what is going to work until you try.

This article is a part of a month-long journey called “Reflecting, Focusing and Improving You and Your Business!” brought to you by Sherry Simoes and Janet Benedict, two coaches who have been mentoring entrepreneurs for over 50 years combined and run an online coaching business called Rockin Your Business. Join the journey by requesting access to our Private Facebook Group.

9 thoughts on “How Action Inspires Motivation

    • Author gravatar

      Great article.
      Getting motivated also has to do with what it is like out and what is going on in life. These days we have been motivated as one business is essential the dog business. The Reiki business not so much so there is not a lot of motivation there. We just started with the things that need to get done at the kennel and went for it. We have finished a lot of projects thus far. Still more to do when you have 14 acres. Acting as if it is simple and daunting depends on what it is. I hate doing the paperwork of filing and going through it because it is tedious although once I get started I don’t like to be interrupted as it is hard to get back in the swing of things.
      I googled a list of motivation and this is what came up:

      Just get started and let the motivation catch up with you. …
      Start small if big leads you to procrastinate. …
      Start tiny if a small step still leads you to procrastination. … baby steps I agree
      Reduce the daily distractions. …
      Get accountability from the people in your life. …
      Get motivation from the people in your life.

      • Author gravatar

        great comment Wendy
        I tend to agree with you, depends on what is going on in your life at the moment and what the weather is like, even if you don’t have outdoor chores it helps you to feel motivated if the weather is pleasent. I also don’t like doing paper work so i tend to leave till last, and do other things first-thanks for your comment Wendy

    • Author gravatar

      Very nice article. I think that these days, my motivation is started by ‘doing something’ even if it is not business related. I start out the day making a list of things I want to accomplish in a day but allowing myself some grace. I know I will often only complete 4-5 items on a list of 1- things to-do, and that’s ok by me. I have a larger list of things needing to be done in my business, so as long as one of the items I accomplish daily is a small step toward completing the larger list, I am ok with that too!
      My motivation is returning as I find joy in reaching out to others and doing the things which make me happy.

    • Author gravatar

      great article, I learned lots from it, I believe i get motivated by doing some physical activity, and it doesn’t have to be work related as it helps me to move from one job to another. I too make a list in the morning and i don’t get everything on it done,but I do get some and at least 1 or 2 business things done, and then some other house hold things done and i don’t beat myself up anymore for not getting what i think i should get done that day-i try to pick out the most important ones and work on them. Most days i start off my morning by working out, but didn’t today, so soon i will go for a nice walk
      I too looked up other ways to motivate you and stay motivated
      1. setting and achiving goals
      2. changing the way you think-think positve
      3. getting motivated-think about past successes
      4. taking care of yourself-eat healthy foods
      Then I found 11ways to stay motivated and focused to achieve your goals
      1. don’t assume money will motivate you
      2. make sure they’re your goals
      3. visualize the end result -what it will look like, how it will feel
      4. break down goal into smaller pcs. and do goal tasks
      5. tap into other peoples energy and surround yourself with positive thinkers
      6. get organized-organize your thoughts-move them from your head to an actual organized list
      7. keep the big picture in mind-keep your top goal in mind at all times
      8. don’t worry about what you can’t control-take control of what you can do
      9. seek out positive information read or listen to positive info daily-fill your mind with uplifting and inspiring information-will keep you motivated
      10. remind yourself why you set the goal-take a few minutesto sit back remind yourself why your choseyour path in the 1st placethis can always help you to find clarity in the worst of moments
      11. be consistent-with your work-take consistant action every day even if you’re not in the mood even if its just sending out a message or tweet that will move you toward your ultimate goal
      Hope these will help all of you
      Really enjoyed the article-thanks!

      • Author gravatar

        That last one! I find alot of time when my motivation is at its worst, to just focus on taking 5 minutes to “just start this thing” and I find it spurs me to work on it as if I had all the motivation in the world
        Action begets action I guess

    • Author gravatar

      Slaying the list helps keep me motivated. I always add a few things I genuinely WANT to do, and in doing them it spurs me to tackle more of the list

    • Author gravatar

      having time to myself in the morning to get a workout in, or get a head start on some “to-do’s” helps get me motivated for the rest of the day. I struggle sometimes to get started even though I know I just need to start!

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