I’ve been speaking to more and more clients lately who all tell me they’re struggling with the same thing: motivation. What I typically see happening is they’re totally well-intentioned in doing something they’ve been meaning to do for a while, like sitting down to create a spending plan, sometimes even getting excited at the idea that they’re finally taking this step and doing it.
Then their alarm goes off, reminding them it’s time to sit down and crack open their accounts to start creating that spending plan, only for them to instantly feel zero motivation. And then, naturally, they think of the perfect reason for why they can’t do that in the moment anyway, usually because they think of something else that “needs” doing. Does this sound familiar? Well, I’m sharing the solution in today’s episode.
Join me on the podcast this week to discover what nobody tells you about motivation and the secret to following through on the things you know you should be doing. I’m sharing where this sudden lack of motivation comes from when we’re faced with certain tasks, and 3 ways I deal with it when it comes up in my own life.
If you’re ready to take control of your money and practice medicine on your terms, you need to check out Money for Women Physicians. Click here to learn more!
What You’ll Learn from this Episode:
- Why we so often feel we lack the motivation to do something.
- What motivation really is and why we need to reframe what we believe about motivation.
- 3 ways I deal with a sudden lack of motivation when faced with doing something I know deep down is important.
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- Learn more about Money for Women Physicians where you’ll learn the tools to make practicing medicine OPTIONAL.
- Follow me on Instagram
- Stacey Boehman
- Skinmedica TNS Advanced+ Serum
- SkinBetter AlphaRet
- Skinceuticals Triple Lipid Restore
Welcome to The Wealthy Mom MD Podcast, a podcast for women physicians who want to learn how to live a wealthy life. In this podcast you will learn how to make money work for you, how you can have more of it and learn the tools to empower you to live a life on purpose. Get ready to up-level your money and your life. I’m your host, Dr. Bonnie Koo.
Welcome to episode 45. So, I’m recording this just before I leave for my business mastermind. And this is the first time I’m “traveling” since the pandemic started. I’m not flying anywhere. I’m just driving an hour. I rented an Airbnb. The mastermind is meeting virtually, due to the pandemic of course. And I wanted to be able to get away.
And it’s been almost a year since I’ve packed, and so I actually had a bit of a brain fart the other day and was like, “How do I pack and where are my suitcases?” Because it’s been that long since I’ve gone anywhere. So, anyway, I just thought that was kind of funny.
And I’m super-excited to mastermind with my other coach colleagues. And so, for those of you who don’t know what a business mastermind is, I don’t talk about it much since this isn’t a business podcast per se. But I know many of you listening are thinking of creating or starting a business. And so, I started this business mastermind I guess about six months ago. Yeah, so this is my second run because it kind of resets every six months.
And masterminds are kind of overused in the industry. At least that’s my opinion. And so, this mastermind is a group of coaches who are all life coaches creating a coaching business, or we all have a business I should say, because there are income requirements to even apply to this mastermind.
And so, it’s led by my business coach who many of you know right now, Stacey Boehman. And she is an expert in teaching life coaches how to build profitable businesses. But really, it’s as simple as she helps life coaches make money.
And so, I love being in this mastermind. I love being surrounded by likeminded individuals who are – we all have the same goal. And on the surface, it can look like our goal is to make money. But really, our goal is to be the best coaches we can be, really make the best differences for our clients. And so, I’m just so excited to spend the next four days with them.
Okay, so that was a bit of an aside. But today, I want to talk about something that I have seen a lot and I don’t think I’ve done an actual podcast episode breaking this down.
So, I was planning this podcast episode over the last few weeks, but then I talked to one of my one on one clients the other day and she was telling me how she was no longer motivated. And I don’t want to give specific information, but she was feeling no longer motivated about investing in a new thing.
And so, she was using sentences like, “I’ve lost momentum. I’m behind.” And this is something I see a lot, right? Many of you, you get going on something, maybe you get inspired or motivated to finally attack your money, look at your budget, et cetera. And then you lose steam. Or you find it really hard to motivate yourself, even though you know you should be doing it and even though you understand that implications of doing it and not doing it. Does this sound familiar?
And so, I want to talk about why this happens and what to do about it. So, I see it commonly around things like creating a spending plan, which is basically code speak for budget. I hate the word budget. I just think it has kind of negative connotations for most people. Maybe not for all of you.
But when I personally hear the word budget, it just seems like it’s a scarcity word, like you’re trying to cut things, you’re trying to fit things into a constrained sort of way. So, I just personally prefer spending plan. But if budget works for you, that’s totally fine.
Or maybe you have trouble even just sitting down to look at your accounts and numbers. I have some clients who have trouble doing that. Other ways this looks like is maybe finally getting your office in order. You maybe have a pile of papers that need to be organized or scanned in.
We all have that thing, or things in that category, where we know we should do it but we just can’t motivate ourselves to do it. Well, this episode is for you.
This is what I see typically happens. You’re totally well-intentioned to do that thing. Let’s pick sitting down to create a spending plan. So, you even schedule on the calendar. You have high hopes for yourself, and you think it’s finally going to happen.
Then, when your alarm goes off to remind you that it’s time to sit down and crack open your accounts to start creating that spending plan, you’re instantly feeling absolutely no desire to do that thing; zero motivation. In fact, it’s probably negative motivation. And then you immediately think of a really good reason not to do it or why you can’t do it at that moment.
So, part of the problem is that we think we need to feel motivated to do something, right? Like, if we don’t feel motivated in the moment, something is missing.
Now, many of us, we know how to do things if we really have to, otherwise we probably wouldn’t have finished our medical training. Because I’m sure all of us have dealt with times where we didn’t feel like studying. But I think this is a skill that many of us need help with, meaning how do we deal with not feeling motivated in the moment, when it’s much easier and much more pleasurable for our brains to do something else; anything else but the thing we had scheduled?
We all have had moments where all of a sudden, we felt motivated to clean out our closet instead, which is normally maybe something you don’t like doing, But it’s more enjoyable than looking at your budget.
So, let me tell you what I like to do when I need to do something but I don’t want to, which is a lot by the way. So, first of all, have you noticed that we’re always waiting to feel motivated or inspired to get something done?
And I’ll just tell you, it seems like a good idea or it seems logical to think that. But it also means that it’s not up to you to be motivated. It also means that motivation comes from something out there in the air and you have no control over it. So, that’s a thought error right there because motivated is a feeling or emotions which comes from what you’re thinking. And so, I want to really break this down for you because I think even just understanding this concept can be really powerful.
Think about it. When you’re motivated to do something, it’s because you’re thinking something like, “I want to do this. I can’t wait to do this. I’m so excited to do this.” It’s going to be different for all of us, but try to really think about what you’re thinking – and it might be subconscious, so you might need to spend some time on this – that makes you want to do something.
We don’t really think about it. It just kind of happens. So, we often feel like motivation literally just comes inside of us out of thin air, but that’s not true. It comes from what you’re thinking.
Okay, so back to me. This is what I do when I don’t want to do something, which I said is a lot. So, the funny example I give is, oftentimes, around bedtime and the bedtime routine, washing your face, brushing your teeth, I’ll just tell you, a lot of times, I really don’t feel like washing my face.
And I’ll watch my brain say, “I really don’t want to wash my face.” And sometimes, I don’t. But recently, I’ve been doing a little bit of an experiment with myself to just kind of see what would happen. And so, now when I watch my brain or notice my brain saying, “We don’t want to do this. Let’s just go to bed. We’re tired.” I’m able to sit there for a second and literally say, “So what? We don’t have to wash the face,” obviously, right?
And I also remind myself that I actually want to wash my face. Now, let me explain what I mean for a second. Maybe in the moment I’m not feeling motivated to do the action of washing my face. But I do like the results of it, meaning I like having a clean face and then I like being able to put my night creams on.
As you know, I’m a board-certified dermatologist. I do like my skin creams and I like to apply those creams at night. Right now, let’s see, what is my nighttime routine for skincare? I use Skinmedica Advanced+ TNS Serum. And then I also use a topical retinoid and currently that’s SkinBetter AlphaRet.
So, those are two things that I put on my face. And because it’s the middle of winter here in New Jersey, sometimes I’ll also put an extra moisturizer on. And right now, that’s Skinceuticals Triple Lipid.
So, back to reminding myself that I actually want to do this. Maybe I don’t actually want to wash my face, but I want the results of washing my face and applying my skin cream. So, that’s kind of a simple example, but you can see how this can apply to lots of other things.
Another thing I want to say is I often hear people try to motivate themselves, but they’re using phrases like, “Well, I should be working on my budget. I have to figure out my budget.” And I just want you to take a moment and check in with yourself, check in with your body, how does it feel when you tell yourself, “I should be looking at my budget,” or, “I have to work on my budget.”
Like, I’m just thinking that does not feel good. Meaning it feels like an obligation and you know you should do it, but you just can’t muster up the motivation to do it because when you use phrases like, “I have to. I should,” It’s just not that motivating.
Some other options that are much more pleasant than, “I have to,” and, “I should,” is like I said, to remind yourself that you actually want to do this. Meaning of course I want to sit down and look at my numbers and create a spending plan. I want the result, the outcome of making sure my money is being spent thoughtfully and going towards assets. So, yes, I do want to spend time on this.
I also want to say that you don’t need to feel motivated to do something. We all do things we don’t particularly feel motivated to do. But we do them anyway. And so, tap into why you do that and why you don’t do other things. And it really just comes down to what you’re thinking about that activity or that thing.
And the last thing I want to say about this – and I probably need to do a whole separate podcast on this – is when you’re feeling unmotivated, honestly, so what? It’s not a big deal. What if you just let that feeling of un-motivation, whatever that feels like for you, just kind of sit there?
I think for many of us, that feeling of not wanting to do something, not feeling motivated, reluctance, obligation, whatever, it feels kind of restless. At least it does for me. And then it seems like we would feel better if we do something else like scroll on Facebook instead or check your email or clean out your closet instead.
But the reason why we do something else is because we don’t want to deal with that restless feeling of not feeling motivated. And so, it makes us feel better to focus on something else in the moment. And so, I’m going to talk more about it in another episode. But I also want to sort of point that out because sometimes I think my clients, or you listening, think that thought work and coaching is just about changing your thoughts and swapping them out for something better. And I just want to say that’s not the case.
Because we’re not supposed to feel motivated, happy, awesome 100% of the time. That’s not the goal. It’s just being aware of what you’re thinking and feeling and how it affects what you’re creating in your life.
Okay, so let me just sort of summarize what I’ve talked about so far. Number one, motivation, inspiration, whatever you want to call it is caused by what you’re thinking. And so, if you’re not feeling motivated, if you’re feeling kind of ugh, my version of not feeling motivated at all or negative motivation, that just comes from what you’re thinking.
And so, just notice what you’re thinking when you’re not feeling motivated, or when you are feeling motivated. Because all of us have felt motivated to do something and all of us have felt unmotivated to not do something. And because they’re just thoughts, you have access to the thoughts that have helped you in the past.
Number two, one thing that helps me is to remind myself that I actually want to do the thing that I keep avoiding or not doing. And I do this by reframing the thoughts in my head.
So, instead of saying, “I have to do this. I should do this,” reframing it to, “Of course I want to do this,” or, “I get to do this.” It just feels so much more open to me and makes me actually feel motivated.
And the third thing I said really briefly at the end is that it’s not be motivated to do something. And just notice your inclination to want to do something else that you could feel better about yourself in the moment.
Okay, well that’s all I have for you today and I will see you guys next week.
Hey, if you’re a woman physician who is ready to practice medicine on your terms, then you’ve got to check out my program Money for Women Physicians. It’s part-course and part-coaching and 100% guaranteed to put more money in your pocket. Go to wealthymommd.com/money to learn more.