Do you know what I’ve been thinking? That it’s absurd for us to expect that we will always be able to find motivation within ourselves. So many of us do this, including us folks who would have the hardest time doing it— those with depression, or mood disorders, lyme disease, mono, and all sorts of other issues that affect our energy levels. And we feel BAD about feeling unmotivated. (Bonus: feelings about your feelings are called meta-emotion. Like, when you feel like a failure for feeling too depressed? THAT'S a meta emotion).
This just seems so futile to me. Sometimes you just CAN'T, ya know? Sometimes you're burnt out and you can't find it in you to go on. You’ve depleted your emotional and mental resources or your brain is on autopilot on the hamster wheel.
That is OKAY! Remember: you are a human and not a robot. You will not always be able to perform at the same level. Your energy levels will fluctuate as a result of mood cycles, circumstances, the weather. You are not a self-sustaining ecosystem, capable of self-correction at all times. You are merely one living being with COMPLICATED EMOTIONS. Sometimes, you need a jump start from another car (I know I just finished saying you weren't a robot but roll with me because this analogy is a good one).
If your car has a dead battery, no matter how hard you try, you will not be able to get that engine to turn over. We accept this as a fact. That car with the dead battery is you when your emotional, mental, and/or physical resources are depleted. Internal motivation in this case is just not going to work. You’re gonna need a jump start from a car that has a little more juice than you do to get you started. This is external motivation.
External motivation comes in a ton of different forms: a phone call with a friend, a productive rant sesh, a tune or playlist that never fails to pump you up, medication, meditation, a walk around the block, a cup of coffee, taking time for yourself, spending time by yourself, spending time with your closest friends or family, petting a furry animal, taking a workout class, listening to an empowering podcast, bathing, baking, knitting, sleeping, one-on-one therapy, group therapy, watching Legally Blonde, watching The Devil Wears Prada, Reddit, Tumblr, ShineText, Pacifica.
A lot of these are really accessible resources and all of them can serve as an external motivator. It is not reasonable to always expect motivation to come from within, nor is it possible. And remember: THAT’S OKAY. Your productivity fluctuates as a living being and its important to remember that when people say “do your best,” they mean “do the best that you're capable of in this moment.” You’re not always going to be able to score a slam dunk from the thirty yard line. And that’s okay.