Motivation is like a wave


It comes and it goes.

I haven’t thought about it because I was too focused on the present moment. When it flowed, that’s how my state of mind looked like:

Wow ! Finally, I’m becoming inspired and optimistic, and progressing step by step. 

But a few days later, motivation would wave goodbye, and…it was a bit heartbreaking to watch it go.

NOOOO ! You promised to stay ! This is the end !

Or I could have said:

You’re such a disloyal potato, motivation ! I hate you !  

Maybe…but studies show motivation doesn’t really care about you. It’s not going to come if you beg for it too much. It’s the same as the following sentence: You’re not going to be happy if you try being happy. This topic could be argued. Personally I think that you can’t really try to be motivated if motivation is lying somewhere far in the ocean.

Therefore I’m finding it hard to pursue motivation tips on the internet because I’m not even motivated to find motivation. The funny thing is that I find myself reading + 10 articles about motivation, hoping that some hack will be the vacuum to all my troubles.

It’s not that motivation texts aren’t great (for example, check out by Mark Manson). They are very helpful indeed. But if there’s one thing to remember, it’s the following: motivation is not a mountain that we need to climb, but rather an ocean wave that we should accept.

I’m talking from my own perspective, but of course, you can also represent yourself climbing a mountain for greater motivation. I just found out this imagery didn’t work out for me.

Because there would always be days were I felt stressed out and hopeless. Did I even expect to feel hugely motivated for the coming days ? Yes. I thought I would climb and climb and climb until I reached the top. Well, it turns out I’ve failed to the ground.

It hurt a little bit (ouch).

Actually, I became very disappointed with myself. Why couldn’t I keep up with my new habits? Why was it so hard to pursue my goals? Am I not a good person? 

Ugh…so I start to let myself go…

…until motivation strikes again. Like, all of a sudden.

It can be in a few days, or in a few weeks. A dose of optimism has come. It feels like a bright new day. The sky is blue and birds are chirping, etc etc. I am finally motivated and begin to climb, with the summit in mind. But a week later I fall. Then I feel better. And the cycle goes on and on.

Why is it like that?

Maybe I’m too focused on the climb, and not on the wave.

The awareness that motivation comes and goes is a part of self-acceptance.

Should I wait for motivation to come, then?

Not necessarily. Of course, if you have a breakdown phase, it’s OK to pause. If you feel like you’re forcing too much, it’s OK to stop. This interruption is more likely to be a benefit; it lets you time to re-think about your values, and what you really want in life.

But you know, if the motivation wave has gone, just keep in mind that it will come. Nothing stops you into continuing your path. Often, I find myself saying: “Ugh…I don’t feel like writing” or “I won’t be able to learn this language today…“. Or “I just want to eat Oreos and lay in my bed for the rest of my life“. Ok.

Motivation will come. Either you wait for it, or you keep doing your thing until it comes. The second option is more productive, even if you decide to only write one sentence or learn a few words.

Don’t blame yourself if you’re not motivated. Don’t blame motivation either ! Just accept that it can’t always be by your side. Then, keep going.


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