Emmanuel Oluwole 
Lab Specialist

Scientists define motivation as your general willingness to do something. It is the set of psychological forces that compel you to take action. That’s nice and all, but I think we can come up with a more useful definition of motivation from the author of the book, The War of Art which I think gets at the core of motivation.

To paraphrase Steven Pressfield, “At some point, the pain of  not  doing it becomes greater than the pain of doing it.”

In other words, at some point, it is easier to change than to stay the same. It is easier to take action and feel insecure at the gym than to sit still and experience self-loathing on the couch.


One of the most surprising things about motivation is that it often comes  after starting a new behaviour, not before. We have this common misconception that motivation arrives as a result of passively consuming a motivational video or book.

Motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it.

Getting started, even in very small ways, is a form of active inspiration that naturally produces momentum.

You don’t need much motivation once you’ve started a behaviour. It is often easier to finish a task than it was to start it in the first place.

The key to getting motivated is to make it easy to start.

Schedule your motivation – a lot of people never get around to exercising because they are always wondering when they are going to exercise next.

If your workout doesn’t have a time when it usually occurs, then each day you’ll wake up thinking, “I hope I feel motivated to exercise today.”

If your diet doesn’t have a plan, then you’ll show up looking and feeling the way you don’t like to look and feel.

Setting a schedule for yourself seems simple, but it puts your decision-making on autopilot by giving your goals a time and a place to live.

Stop waiting for motivation or inspiration to strike, set a schedule for your habits. This is  the difference between people who get results and people who don’t.

The work of top achievers isn’t dependent upon motivation or inspiration, but rather it follows a consistent pattern and routine.

The key to any good ritual is that it removes the need to make a decision: What should I do first? When should I do this? How should I do this? Most people never get moving because they can’t decide how to get started.


There are three simple steps you can take to build better rituals and make motivation a habit.

STEP 1: Start with easy pre-game routine tasks that you can’t say no to. The most important part of any task is starting. If you can’t get motivated in the beginning, then you’ll find that motivation often comes after starting. That’s why the start routine needs to be incredibly easy.

STEP 2: Your routine should get you moving toward the end goal.
A lack of mental motivation is often linked to a lack of physical movement. Just imagine your physical state when you’re feeling depressed, bored, or unmotivated. You’re not moving very much. The opposite is also true. If you’re physically moving and engaged, then it’s far more likely that you’ll feel mentally engaged and energised. Your mind and your motivation will follow your physical movement.

STEP 3: You need to follow the same pattern every single time.
The primary purpose of your easy pre–game routine is to create a series of events that you always perform before doing a specific task. Your easy routine tells your mind, “This is what happens before I do …”

Eventually, this routine becomes so tied to your performance that by simply doing the routine, you are pulled into a mental state that is primed to perform. You don’t need to know how to find motivation, you just need to start your routine.

The pre-game routine solves that problem because you know exactly what to do next. There’s no debating or decision making. Lack of motivation doesn’t matter. You just follow the pattern.

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