Sylvia is in my Platinum Coaching & Mastermind Group. She had a pattern of getting wildly motivated right after our coach calls and going full speed ahead. Then after a few days, she’d lose her motivation. She’d give up.
I call this pattern the Day-4 Syndrome.
Day-4 is the point you hit when you can’t remember what all the fuss was about in the first place.
Day-4 Syndrome is when you think, “Why bother? Nothing ever changes anyway.”
Day-4 Syndrome is when you order from Dominos, opt for American Idol instead of writing for an hour, sleep through the alarm, and believe the voice inside that tells you you’re hopeless.
The problem with Day-4 Syndrome is not that we’re not “motivated.”
The problem is that we expect to feel “motivated” before we take action.
The Siren Song of Motivation
Recently, I was at someone’s house for a dinner party. He pulled a photo of himself down from a shelf and showed it to me.
“That,” he said, “is me walking across hot coals in my bare feet. It changed my life.”
“Yeah?” I said. “What in your life changed after you did this?”
He looked confused. He couldn’t think of anything.
All too often, we wait for peak motivation experiences to propel us into taking action. Feeling motivated, inspired, psyched, enthused, pumped up, revved – these are all amazing elements of being here on earth. But if we require these feelings, this level of inspiration, to be present before we take action, then we’re setting ourselves up for major disappointment and few real changes in life.
So, how do you get around those times when you’re “not feelin’ it.” ?
The Body-Mind-Spirit Loop
As creative beings, we have this awesome system with which to work. It is comprised of these three elements of being:
It’s a circle. Think of it as the Body-Mind-Spirit Loop.
When it comes to motivation, most people think that creating things – wealth, weight loss, songs, companies – is all about inspiration. Or, the Spirit. And yes, the idea might originate in that place in the moment. But you can enter the B-M-S loop from any point. And THAT is the unimpressive truth.
For instance, when I sit down to write, I am rarely “motivated.” I’m never impressive. I might have an idea of a place to start (Spirit). But as of this writing, no angel has appeared, pointed at my guitar and whispered fully formed songs while I played.
What does happen is this:
I enter the B-M-S Loop through B, the Body. I sit my body down and start writing. My mind becomes involved. Eventually, the act of writing creates the motivation. B-M-S is a closed loop – and you can enter it from any point! I choose to enter from whichever point works in the moment, without requiring it to be the one that feels the best.
Let’s say you choose to create wealth. If you’re like many of my clients, you’ll have to start at the Mind. You enter the loop through your thoughts and mindsets about money. The thoughts and intention can then lead to the spirit or inspired business idea. Then, the body gets involved and takes action.
Many people fight me on this one, insisting that the entrance point must be the Body – winning the lottery, getting an inheritance or a hit song. It’s not good news to hear that you can enter the loop through the Mind – as you don’t have the physical substance on the Body level yet.
But that’s the gift of the Loop! You can start anywhere!
Awareness and Your Ego
I was in a coaching session with a woman in my Uplevel Your Life Mastery Program. She wanted to know how I healed depression without drugs. As I described the various practices I used, she stopped me and said, “That sounds like a lot of effort.”
“No,” I said. “It’s a lot of awareness.”
Motivation is like that, too.
It’s about being aware of your ego’s tactics to keep you safe and comfortable. For the longest time, my ego had me convinced that if I were meant to be a songwriter, then God (my ego’s favorite weapon) would’ve made it easier for me – you know, like Bob Dylan. My ego thought it should be all about Spirit.
Songwriting was not a natural for me. Neither was singing. Looking back, I’m glad it wasn’t. It forced me to enter the B-M-S loop through the thing that freaked me out the most – my Body. I took voice lessons, learned guitar, scheduled time each day to enter the loop.
Eventually I learned the most important thing to learn about motivation:
Motivation is created by showing up. Not the other way around.
I learned that it felt so much more peaceful than the “walking across fire” jolt of a great idea. It had a clarity and vibration to it that slowly created a foundation.
When I coach people now, one of the most challenging things to convey is that THIS state is the reward. It is where we’re most alive. Not the highly-charged fleeting feeling of motivation. Both are valid, for sure. But one can sustain you much longer than the other.
Intention Trumps Angst
One of the most common questions I hear these days with regard to motivation is connected to the Abraham-Hicks philosophy of doing and thinking only what “feels good.”
“So, if I sit down to write or go to the gym, and I’m angst-ridden, am I creating bad energy and ruining my life?”
My take on it is this:
Deeper intention trumps momentary angst.
So, intention is your lighthouse. It is your true desire, your deeper happiness, the guiding light.
In my Uplevel Your Life Mastery Program, we spend many many days on intention, and we revisit it throughout the program. That’s because intention comes from a deeper wiser place.
As such, it is the more meaningful direction you want to go. So, at any given moment on a challenging day, your thoughts might go like this:
Abraham-Hicks told me to feel good. What would make me feel good is this box of Hostess Ho-ho’s, and I’d much rather do that than go to the gym.
In this kind of moment, it’s helpful to remember your intention. Intention (created by your deeper wiser self in clarity and deliberateness) trumps angst (the momentary tantrum being thrown by your ego – which will take philosophies like Abraham-Hicks and turn them around in the service of the tantrum.)
What is your intention? Can you let that guide you?
Dreams, Definitions and Deadlines
A more practical application of the Body-Mind-Spirit Loop is to think in terms of Dreams, Definitions, and Deadlines.
The Dream is your intention, your goal, your desire. It is the Spirit. It is your soul calling to you, knowing exactly how you can play big in your life.
But a Dream often means nothing to our minds. Our mind needs daily applications and practices. This is why Definition is a huge key to motivation. Definition helps the mind understand the dream.
One woman in my Uplevel Your Life Mastery Program had a Dream of becoming healthy and losing weight. She cried as she told me that this intention seemed completely un-doable. I told her about Definition. I explained to her that Definition might help explain to the mind what she meant by “health.”
In this case, definition could be any of the following:
1 – Read one chapter of a book on nutrition or mindsets everyday.
2 – One 30-minute Crossfit workout Monday – Friday.
3 – Dumping out every single piece of processed food and sugar in the kitchen.
4 – Eating three solid meals of vegetables and protein each day. (No grabbing processed junk.)
It’s good to start small. Don’t try to do it all at once. So, maybe the first week is just #3 and #2. At the end of the week, you check in and check things off the list. Then you create definitions again.
Motivation is created by momentum. Momentum doesn’t have to be huge.
However, if you’ve never Defined anything – then you’ve never experienced what it’s like to COMPLETE anything. So you’ll end up feel like your dreams are out of reach and ethereal. Definition helps your mind get on board with your dreams.
The last element is the deadline. This is how you can engage your body in this process. The Deadline is the time-space element of any dream. It is the goal. I’m a proponent of very do-able goals. So, don’t set a deadline to lose 50 pounds by next week, for instance. This is unrealistic.
One of the gifts of my Platinum Coaching & Mastermind group is that we meet three times in person throughout the year. This creates a deadline for the participants. They don’t want to let each other down. So they have a set date for when they want to accomplish their Dreams.
This is why coaching works. It’s why accountability buddies work. It’s why setting a “release date” works. Your body “gets” deadlines.
This might sound like game-playing at first. And actually, it is! In fact, the whole idea of motivation is a game. Each day you’ll get to see which voice or excuse is showing up to challenge you. And you’ll learn how to move around it and move forward.
Most important, you’ll get very good at finding new entrance points to generate new levels of motivation. Yes, even when you’re not feelin’ it.