Why I'm not Motivated

by Elliot Lyons

Today, like many other days, I didn’t feel motivated. I didn’t feel like doing anything. This is something motivation hasn’t helped with: making me feel ready—pumped— to do stuff when I’m not feeling it.

It’s also why I used to, like Mel Robbins, think motivation was garbage. What should I do after the video ends and that feeling I got from it that makes me feel ready fades? Watch another video, seek out a motivational meme?! Also, doesn’t this whole motivational thing just make people living with mental illness feel even worse, if/when they can’t access that feeling?  

Even hearing “you can do it” when you’re not feeling it can sometimes have the opposite effect. Motivation, I thought, wanted me to ignore my feelings; instead, as I know now, it wants to place me squarely in them and then show me what is possible.

Waking up today, I got up and acknowledged my lack of motivation over the last few days. But I had a plan set out by my calendar, and it said I needed to go get a haircut. I left the house and walked around the block to the barber. Afterwards, my calendar said I needed to do yoga, so I hit the mat. Then it said I needed to clean the house and take out the trash, so I got to it. Next, it directed me to get writing.

I followed my plan, and slowly, today, I came to life.

I still don’t feel fantastic, and that’s okay, but that’s why I have a plan: to move me to do something, take the few first steps, because I’ll never be ready if I’m waiting to feel ready.

And those first few steps are what motivation is all about.


For more on why motivation isn’t garbage, check out our video response to Mel Robbins here


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