In this blog post, I will be discussing the topic of motivation. I originally planned to speak about this topic later on, but after getting some feedback on my previous post, I decided that this is something I should speak about sooner rather than later.
How I Found My Unstoppable Why
If you’re not done, then you’re not done.
I spent years making half spirited attempts to get over my bad technology habits before I finally reached a point where I was truly done with it all. One day, I just knew I couldn’t allow my addictions to run my life any longer. The months which preceded that day were some of the worst days of my life. Watching opportunity after opportunity slip from my grasp was horrifying, but the horror didn’t stop there. What really broke me down the most was witnessing how my dependency on technology was slowly tearing down everyone I cared about with me.
I wasn’t hanging out with my friends anymore. I wasn’t of service to my family. I wasn’t taking care of my dog. I wasn’t present in the moment when they needed my presence the most. I just wasn’t there. I wasn’t there for any of them.
Eventually, the reality of the life I was creating for myself and those I deeply cared for became crystal clear. With that clarity came an unrelenting desire to make a change. That experience was the beginning of the end of my addiction.
How I Wish I Had Found My Unstoppable Why
Now, the story I just shared with you was fascinating and all, but I admit, rock bottoms kind of suck (no pun intended). I’d rather you find your unstoppable whys before you hit rock bottom.
Highly motivated people think differently than the rest of us.
A highly motivated person, is a person who has very strong reasons for doing what they do. If you ask a highly motivated person what keeps them going through the hard times they’re going to have an answer, or two, or twenty. Those answers won’t be anything generic either. Their answers will come straight from the core of their very being. They’re not doing it because they have to, or because someone told them they should do it. They do it because they themselves need to do it.
Why do you need to overcome your unhealthy technology habits?
To answer this question, you’re going to have to dig deep within yourself. Forget about everyone else’s opinions for a second and just try to focus on what YOU truly believe to be most important.
Here’s a list of questions you can ask yourself to get started on figuring out YOUR unstoppable whys:
- Imagine the worst-case scenario has just occurred. In this moment, what would empower you to push on even though it seems like there is no way out?
- Imagine you have overcome your addictions. How could you use this success to contribute to a cause which you find extremely important? How could you use it to make someone else’s life better?
- Do you remember what life was like before you were addicted? Why not find out? What do you have to lose?
- Are there any ‘bad guys’ in your life? What will these enemies gain if you don’t overcome your addiction? Are you really going to let them get that satisfaction?
After you’ve thought about your answers to these questions, put them down on paper. Don’t let these thoughts remain thoughts forever. Make them material. It’s too easy to forget thoughts. Take out those ancient writing utensils you have collecting dust in your drawer. Grab a fresh sheet of paper and write down everything.
After the brain dump, try to narrow down your motivators to the ones that truly resonate with you the most. In my experience, the best motivators either involve running away from pain or running towards pleasure, where the “running from pain” approach tends to be slightly more effective. Having a strong emotional reaction to your motivators is key. If it doesn’t strike you at your core, then it’s not the unstoppable why you are looking for. Don’t stop until you’ve found the whys which resonate with you on that level.
Additionally, it’s important that you keep your whys visible. One reason why hitting rock bottom appears to be so effective is that your motivator, intense emotional pain, never fades from your attention. It’s always there following you around wherever you go.
The best way you can simulate this experience is to keep your motivators as visible as possible. Write them on sticky notes and stick them on the wall. Post them publicly on your social media accounts. Send emails to yourself. Set reminders on your devices that pop up on random days. You want your whys to stalk you around wherever you go. Commit to reviewing your motivators at least once a week. Don’t let them slip from your mind.
Finally, if you ever find that your current unstoppable whys begin to lose their effects, feel free to go through this process again. Even after I had hit rock bottom, I had to use the methods outlined above to think of new reasons to keep going as time went on. Hitting rock bottom mostly just helped me to get started. It’s not a bad thing if your motivations evolve over time. It just means that you yourself have evolved and grown as a person. And, in my opinion, that’s a beautiful thing.