It happens to all of us.

You have a goal that you’ve been working towards, something that is really important to you. You know what you need to do, and you’ve been doing it. And you’ve been noticing results.

Then you have a day where you wake up in the morning, and it happens.

It’s that niggling little voice in your head that says, “I don’t feel like exercising for an hour, so I’m going to skip today”.

Maybe it’s those five kilos that you’re trying to shed. Perhaps it’s a business you’re building, or a book that you’re writing.

The All-Or-Nothing mentality works great when you’re giving it your all. You’re motivated, you’re getting things done, and you feel a sense of accomplishment for what you have achieved.

But the problem is the days where you either don’t feel like it, or you may not have as much time to put in the same amount of effort that you have been on other days, and you decide not to do anything at all.

The issue is:

  • There’s an assumption that the little things don’t matter, and only the big efforts count. But the reality is that the little efforts make a big difference over time. Every big feat is made up of lots of small actions that build up over a period of time.
  • We can’t be giving our all all of the time.  There will naturally be days when you can put in more, and days where you can only do so much.  So if you see yourself as having a choice of doing either all or nothing, there are going to be a lot of days where you simply do nothing at all.  And you won’t see results.  Worse, you might tell yourself that what you’re doing isn’t working (because you’re not seeing results), when it’s actually what you AREN’T doing that’s hindering your progress.
  • Consistency is more important than the occasional big spurts of action. It’s always what you do consistently that will make the biggest difference in what you create.

Ironically, the best way to find motivation for doing stuff, is by doing stuff. You’ll notice results, which will motivate you to do more. When you stop taking your foot off the accelerator and restarting the engine, you’ll gain momentum and build habits for taking action.

If you normally do an hour of exercise, instead of not doing it at all, you could just do half an hour, or even 20 minutes.

Perhaps you’ve decided to cut out sugar, and you no longer want to eat a large slice of cake every time someone in the office has a birthday. What are you going to do when Jenny brings in a cake for her birthday and proudly tells you that she made it herself, and she hopes you like it? If you don’t want to offend Jenny, you could just cut yourself a tiny sliver.

When you’re debating whether to watch your favourite show on TV or go do a workout, you could grab a set of weights and do those in front of the TV.

It doesn’t have to be a choice of all or nothing.  Lots of consistent actions will count more over the long term than a few big actions combined with regular periods of inaction.

Also a funny thing tends to happen when you’re feeling unmotivated and decide to just do something small.  Once you get started and you’re getting into it, you might just find you end up doing the whole hour anyway.