Lack of motivation is a real issue, and overcoming it can be an even bigger challenge, especially since there are so many different reasons for having a lack of motivation. How many times have you set out to achieve a goal, or to make a big change in your life? Everything starts off great. You feel excited, you feel motivated and you’re completely committed to doing what you need to do. But for some reason, you find you can’t seem to move forward and take the necessary actions to achieve your goal. So, how can you overcome a lack of motivation and stop holding yourself back?

Why is it that for some reason, regardless of what you’re trying to achieve, somewhere along the way, it can become difficult to motivate yourself to do what you need to do in order to achieve what you set out to?

Whether it’s learning a new language or a new skill in order to get ahead in your career or getting fitter and healthier, no matter what the goal is, most of us have experienced the feeling of knowing what we need to do but struggling to find the motivation to do it.

How can you overcome a lack of motivation and achieve more of the things you really want?

In her inspiring and eye-opening Ted Talk, Mel Robbins discusses this challenge, which we have all faced and explains how you can overcome a lack of motivation by beating your brain to the punch.

The Secret of Self – Motivation. A summary

In this Ted Talk, Mel Robbins explains how the path of your life and what happens or doesn’t happen, what you achieve or don’t achieve comes down to a 5-second window that you have to take action.

Key Takeaways

Your brain is designed to protect you from anything that it perceives to be a risk or a hazard. Your mind will, therefore, step in and try to stop you from doing things that might hurt you, physically, emotionally or otherwise. This includes anything new, risky, scary, and outside of your comfort zone.

When faced with an uncomfortable situation, we all have a habit of hesitating which causes the “spotlight effect to take place” a process in which your brain magnifies the risks of the situation in order to stop you or pull you away from the thing which has caused the hesitation, since this hesitation means there is a perceived threat.

Often, we wait to feel comfortable or motivated to do difficult, challenging or new things, but unfortunately, this is unlikely to ever happen. The key is to accept that you will never FEEL like doing things that are scary, difficult or outside of your comfort zone.

How to Outsmart your brain

Life is about decisions and everything that happens in your life comes down to your decisions. Therefore if you change your decisions, you change your life. A big decision you can make is to take action, before your brain convinces you otherwise, in those situations of discomfort.

Through Metacognition, you can outsmart your brain. By counting backward from 5 to 1 you can interrupt the habit loops that are encoded as closed-loop patterns in your basal ganglia, the part of your brain responsible for routine behaviors or habits, and go from thinking about doing things to actually doing them.

Counting backward from 5 – 1 moves your thought process to your pre-frontal cortex which is responsible for thinking and decision making and is awakened when you learn.

The 5-second rule acts as a “starting ritual”. It interrupts patterns of behavior ( like hesitating) that you do on autopilot (as encoded in your basal ganglia) and teaches you to become the type of person that doesn’t just think about doing things, but actually does them.

So, next time you have a great idea in the middle of a meeting and you’re worried about speaking up, why not try using the 5-second rule, you never know what might happen as a result of it.