Over the past few months, steadily my motivation has been dwindling. It’s been harder to get on with tasks at home. A slog to get myself out for a morning run. The dog walk has felt like an arduous chore, rather than the enjoyable thing it used to be. Motivation is at an all time low and my morning enthusiasm in particular has been seriously lacking. Things I once did with gusto, lack luster.
It’s understandable, isn’t it?. After all we’ve been stuck in a worldwide shit storm of a pandemic for nearly two years. There’s less to do. Limited social interaction. More time at home. Sustained isolation. Less feel good vibes. And it’s been an incredible slow movement towards some semblance of ‘normality’. All just in time for winter season, summer already a distant memory.
A friend and I were discussing our general lack of motivation recently. His long morning runs have dwindled to non-existent. It’s harder for us to lock down a meet. We want to but we just can’t get motivated enough to make the effort. Our messages are shorter, less frequent. Our usual upbeat personas are less upbeat, and altogether more, ‘Meh’. And we both shared a particular struggle with starting our days.
Dwindling Enthusiasm For Mornings
His began lazing in bed procrastinating about the day ahead, watching the time pass as he pressed snooze on the alarm clock again. Mine began with the effort of moving from my bed to an armchair, coffee in hand, before talking myself up to tackle the morning dog walk. Whilst our mornings started differently, they shared the same thing – Lack of motivation to crack on.
Neither of our tactics seemed to be getting anything done though. We were spending a hell of lot of time thinking about getting on with the things that needed to eventually be tackled, instead of doing them. Which only ever resulted in rushed panic once we did eventually convince ourselves that the day had to be started at some point, and a general disarray with the time left to do it within.
The JFDI Strategy
I’ve spoken to others about this situation, once highly motivated people who agreed that everything feels a bit tougher. There seemed this fairly unanimous agreement from anyone I spoke too that motivation was severely lacking. Where the F has all our motivation gone?
Then my friend came up with a strategy for increasing motivation that inspired me. It was simple yet sounded effective. Here’s how it went:
He sent me a voice note sounding positive and chirpy at 8am, already on route to work having completed a list of tasks (a 21k run ahead of his journey being one of them). He sounded, enthused. It was so abnormal compared to our morning banter of late that it took me entirely by surprise. I was suspicious. Where had this boost of motivation come from? How had he broken the cycle with not a snooze setting saga in insight?
He told me he’d used the JFDI strategy, and highly recommended I give it a go.
Breaking The Procrastination Pattern
Hearing him sounding so chipper and upbeat, I was slightly jealous. He’d found a way to boost his motivation, whilst I was still firmly in procrastination mode. So I decided to try out the JFDI method.
I considered how I’d been starting to my days, and realized that my armchair coffee routine was holding me back. It was enabling me to avoid the things I of course wanted to avoid, but never the less, really did have to do at some point. Like get to work on time so I could pay my bills.
Plus, the armchair routine was creating anxiousness and added stress, instead of the relaxing action I thought it was. I was in fact forming this non-helpful pit of dread at watching the time disappear to do things, as I did nothing about it. This lead to a flurry of action so rushed that I felt all out of balance by the time I started work. This being out of sorts actually affected my whole day. I struggled to find balance again. My morning enthusiasm had to be addressed. I had to break the procrastination pattern and Just F**king Doing It seemed like the perfect solution.
So the next day I got out of bed, walked past the comfy chair, got changed, and went straight out to walk the dogs. It was bloody cold. But it woke me up, and I felt good. So great in fact that I dropped the dogs back home and went for a short run. I tackled other things that had been waiting to be tackled for far too long too. I did what my friend had suggested to boost my morning enthusiasm and increase my motivation. And I felt amazing!
I Just Fucking Did It.
I started the day. Didn’t think about starting it. Ponder how to start it, or what to do first. I just fucking did it. It was liberating and motivation altering! I’d changed a bad habit I had formed. And I felt so much better for it.
Of course that was just one day. Trouble with forming a habit is that you have to commit to it for it to become a norm. So I will be honest, some mornings are harder than others to JFDI. However it’s more often than not now incorporation means I’m steadily increasing my motivation and feel like I’m actually going somewhere with my days.
So I’m passing on the good advice a friend gave to me. If you’re feeling yourself fall into a loop of demotivation. Try the JFDI strategy. Don’t overthink, just do. Walk past the armchair, or whatever is your avoidance tool of choice. And get out there and tackle a few things that need tackling.
Some days it will be tougher to do. Some days, you’ll just procrastinate
I certainly don’t have it nailed. Post pandemic, I’m not sure many of us do. A prolonged state of limited interaction, less socialisation and doing things, absolutely has to have impact. But when I’m feeling myself fall into a procrastination pattern, losing motivation, doom scrolling on my phone instead of cracking on, I remember my friends happy voice at telling me to JFDI my day, and it gives me a little boost of enthusiasm to try to keep making steady changes.
Note: The JFDI concept works particularly well in its opposite form when I find myself absorbing a pack of biscuits in one go. For times like that, I apply the JDFDI strategy.