225: How to rev your engine when you feel demotivated

225: How to rev your engine when you feel demotivated

Welcome to this episode of our short daily podcast - A Slice of Therapy.

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With Alun Parry https://liverpoolpsychotherapy.co.uk

Automatically Generated Transcript

00:01
you’re listening to a slice of therapy
00:03
with me alun parry
00:06
[Music]
00:12
so i want to tell you the story of a man
00:15
named jerry
00:17
and one day jerry decided that he was
00:20
going to change his life
00:23
and he came up with this idea of all the
00:26
things he would do
00:27
and he would do them every day because
00:30
why couldn’t he
00:32
why couldn’t he be someone who does all
00:34
of these things every day
00:36
and so he came up with this list of
00:39
things
00:40
that he was going to do every day and it
00:41
was going to improve all aspects of his
00:43
life
00:44
it was going to improve his career and
00:47
then he had things that he was going to
00:49
do that were going to improve his body
00:51
and then he had things that he was going
00:53
to do that was going to improve his
00:54
relationships
00:56
then he had things that he was going to
00:58
do that would improve his finances
01:01
and he was going to do them every day
01:04
and there was this big list
01:05
but he felt powered up
01:09
and he got them done and he thought
01:12
see it looked a long list
01:18
but i can do it i can do the list
01:22
and what’s more i can do it every single
01:25
day
01:28
and then on the second day jerry sat
01:31
there on the sofa and he couldn’t be
01:32
bothered
01:34
and he didn’t do any of his lists that
01:36
day in fact
01:38
the list looked really overwhelming
01:43
and in fact jerry’s not too untypical
01:48
because human motivation goes up
01:52
and it goes down some days
01:55
it’s sky high and some days
01:58
our motivation is through the floor and
02:01
this is not a failure of us
02:04
this is just how human motivation works
02:10
and so on that first day when jerry
02:12
decided he was going to do all sorts
02:15
and he was going to stretch himself to
02:17
the limit and he was certain that he
02:19
could do this and make a change and do
02:21
it
02:22
every day he really meant it
02:25
and not only that he was even capable of
02:28
doing it
02:29
on that day because he’d happen to pick
02:32
upon
02:33
a day where his motivation was the
02:36
highest it could be
02:39
but motivation like i say goes up and
02:41
down
02:43
and so
02:46
it’s no surprise really that he couldn’t
02:49
maintain
02:51
that because he’s not going to be at the
02:53
peak of motivation every day
02:55
some days he will be but it’s only
02:59
called the peak of motivation because it
03:01
happens at the very very top
03:03
of the cycle and then the motivation
03:06
wanes again
03:08
and sometimes we’ll be at the very
03:11
foot of the cycle our motivation will be
03:14
as low as it’s possible to be
03:17
and this is where we would normally beat
03:19
ourselves up
03:20
we would normally tell ourselves off and
03:23
say
03:23
why am i such a failure why am i someone
03:27
who has these great plans
03:29
and then doesn’t meet them and yet the
03:32
answer isn’t
03:33
because we’re a failure at all the
03:35
answer is because it is
03:36
normal for human motivation to go up
03:40
and to go down again and so whenever it
03:43
goes
03:44
down again as it will because that’s how
03:46
we’re made
03:49
we end up having set ourselves up to
03:52
fail
03:54
by having the great plan in the first
03:56
place
03:58
and so by having a massive plan that
04:00
needed
04:01
such enormous amounts of motivation
04:04
every single day then it means that
04:06
we don’t actually achieve that
04:10
so it’s very easy to fall into a place
04:14
where we believe that we’re a failure
04:19
where we believe that we’re just not
04:21
capable of doing things
04:23
consistently and
04:27
we’ll sit there and think if only
04:31
i could want to do these things now
04:35
in my heart i feel as though i want to
04:37
do them
04:39
when i imagine what i’d like to be doing
04:41
i i think of these things but i
04:44
i can never motivate myself to get
04:47
to get doing these things
04:51
now if you get into that place
04:55
the key thing to understand is that
04:57
typically
04:58
the thing that motivates us is when we
05:02
actually do
05:02
something in the first place but doing
05:06
something in the first place
05:08
kind of starts our engine and once we’ve
05:11
started our engine and it’s revved up
05:14
we’ll find that we’re actually in a
05:17
place where
05:18
we are motivated from a point where
05:21
we’re stood still
05:25
it’s hard to get going but once we get
05:28
going
05:28
we’re fine i don’t if you ever remember
05:32
trying to learn to ride a bicycle the
05:35
hardest bit of
05:36
learning to ride a bicycle is that bit
05:39
where you go from
05:41
being still to moving
05:44
being still to moving was always the
05:46
place that i would fall off when i was
05:48
learning to ride a bike
05:50
it was only when i got going that it was
05:53
easy to stay on the bike
05:55
and it’s a similar process here the
05:58
hardest thing is the starting
06:00
once we’ve started the key is in the
06:03
engine
06:04
and we’re off
06:07
so how do you get the key in the engine
06:09
in the first place
06:10
if the hardest thing is the starting
06:13
then it figures then that the thing that
06:15
we should really be focused on
06:18
is how to actually get ourselves to
06:19
start
06:23
well the key lies in
06:26
that idea where our motivation naturally
06:29
goes high
06:30
and low because if you don’t want to set
06:32
yourself up to fail
06:34
what you need to set yourself up to do
06:36
is something that is
06:38
within the very lowest of our motivation
06:41
so even when our motivation is
06:43
right down at the bottom the thing that
06:47
we’ve set ourselves
06:49
to do is within
06:52
that very lowest level of motivation
06:55
and in fact if we give ourselves
06:57
something too much to do
06:59
it actually acts as a deterrent it makes
07:02
it hard to get the key
07:04
into the ignition
07:07
and the reason why it makes it hard is
07:11
because it just adds too much friction
07:14
if you were to say to yourself i’ll go
07:16
and do a nine hour walk
07:19
well that’s a lot to think of even to do
07:22
a nine hour walk
07:24
or if you said a nine second walk
07:28
then you’d get started and the funny
07:30
thing is that getting started is
07:32
the thing that turns the key in the
07:34
ignition and then the engine’s running
07:36
and so everything becomes easier after
07:39
that
07:41
the mistake we make then is
07:44
that when we try and do things and make
07:47
our life better
07:50
we put the finish line in an
07:52
unachievable place
07:55
the finish line the thing that we define
07:58
as success
07:59
shouldn’t be all the way over there it
08:01
should be right within our grasp
08:03
it should be something that we can
08:04
accomplish
08:06
even when our motivation is at its
08:09
lowest
08:11
because what happens is that when we
08:13
actually do that
08:14
when we actually get up off the sofa and
08:17
do the thing
08:18
that small thing
08:21
the key goes in the ignition and it
08:23
turns and the engine comes on
08:25
and from that point on even if it is
08:28
just nine seconds down the line
08:30
you’re in a different place you’re in
08:33
the place
08:34
of someone whose engine is now running
08:38
it’s hard to get motivated but the most
08:41
motivating thing that you can do is to
08:43
get started
08:45
and so if you can make getting started
08:48
really easy
08:51
that its deterrent effect is at its
08:53
lowest
08:55
because you think oh i’ll just do the
08:56
one wait or i’ll just do a three second
08:59
walk or i’ll just write two words
09:04
in the book i’m wanting to write
09:08
they all seem so doable that it actually
09:11
gets you doing them
09:14
and so just to recap then we saw that
09:16
human motivation does naturally go
09:18
up and down and that if we actually set
09:21
ourselves mount everest every day
09:24
we might be able to do that on our
09:26
highest motivation days but we
09:27
definitely won’t do it on the others
09:29
and certainly not when our motivation is
09:31
at its lowest
09:33
so the key then in terms of respecting
09:35
that is making sure
09:37
that what we aim to do every day is
09:39
smaller than our lowest motivation
09:42
so that we can always tick that box
09:45
and of course if we want to do more we
09:46
can but our goal
09:49
is a tiny one and we saw as well that
09:53
the hardest thing about doing anything
09:55
is starting just like a bicycle
09:59
the point where you’ll fall off is at
10:01
the very very beginning when you’re at a
10:03
standstill
10:04
but when you get moving you’re fine and
10:08
you’re not going to fall off the bicycle
10:09
once you’re moving and you’re going at a
10:11
decent pace
10:15
what’s important then is to start
10:18
and the thing that will put you off
10:19
starting is if
10:21
the task that you’re facing is too big
10:25
so just like with the human motivation
10:27
where it goes high and low
10:29
the important thing is to give yourself
10:31
a little task to do
10:33
if you make the finish line too far down
10:36
the line
10:37
then you probably won’t do it because a
10:39
nine mind one
10:40
a nine mile walk is really demotivating
10:45
feels hard to do is not easy then to get
10:48
going
10:50
a nine second walk on the other hand
10:53
we feel as though we can do that so we
10:55
get up and we do it
10:57
and the key thing is that once you’re
11:00
actually doing something
11:02
then you’re motivated
11:06
it’s easy to stay demotivated until you
11:08
do something
11:09
so the most important thing to focus on
11:12
is how to get started
11:14
and the way to get started is to start
11:17
tiny because once you start tiny
11:21
it feels doable
11:24
and once it feels doable you do it
11:28
and then the very act of having done it
11:31
has revved up your engine
11:33
and everything after that is easy so if
11:36
you like this idea then please spread it
11:37
around you can also work with me as well
11:39
one to one i’m alun parry and you’ll
11:42
find me at liverpool psychotherapy.co.uk
11:45
and of course subscribe to the podcast
11:46
for free because it means that you’ll
11:48
never miss an episode again
11:50
so thanks for listening i’ll be back
11:52
again tomorrow with another one

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