Stop Relying on Motivation, Find Your Purpose, & Shut Out Doubt

If you're looking for that sign, here it is.

As the new year begins, everyone is setting long term and short term goals for themselves. These range from losing weight to gaining muscle to getting a promotion and much more. The major mistake I’ve found in my own efforts to reach certain goals in the past is solely relying on motivation, but this only can get you so far.

Impermanent Motivation

Motivation is fleeting. You must cultivate and live with purpose. You can become motivated to do just about anything. Often times the source of motivation only shows and promotes the most glamorous moments of the endeavor you’re trying to accomplish.

For example, you can become motivated watching someone else complete a marathon but then when it’s time for you to wake up early and train that motivation is nowhere to be found.

Motivation shows you the finish line but purpose and discipline are what bring you there.

In order to get past the “honeymoon” phase of embarking upon a lifestyle shift you must first identify your purpose.

Finding Your Why

Listen, really closely. What is your soul telling you to pursue? What is the thing you can’t go a day without thinking about or doing?

Purpose is what drives you to get up each day. Purpose is the voice not only ensuring you that you can do something, but that you must. 

The key difference between motivation and purpose is that motivation says you should do something, and purpose says that you have to. There’s no plan B when purpose is involved.

Your purpose can motivate you, but your motivation can’t give you purpose. This exists deep within all of us and isn’t something that can be achieved through seeing #fitspo on Instagram or reading of the successes of other people.

It’s a voice we often drown out in the name of pursuing more conventional ideas of accomplishment. But even when ignored, purpose still nudges you in the direction of your purpose and passion.

What it Looks Like

Such a drive can manifest itself in countless ways on the spectrum of large and small goals. It can be an athletic venture to reach a certain squat weight and get strong because that’s how you feel your best.  Even larger, perhaps it’s pursuing a career or major in something that you’ve always been told is just a hobby.

No one knows this voice except you and that’s the most amazing and frustrating part. You hold certainty in pursuing it and it’s validity because you can hear it, you can feel it.

Others may doubt you, but persist nonetheless. Judgement and doubt can serve as the greatest fuel if you view them as such.

When you’re down and out, at your lowest and everyone is telling you that what you want simply cannot happen, motivation won’t be there. Purpose will pick you up and say pursue your dreams because you know that you can, because you know that you must.

It will be there those early mornings and late nights, driving you to succeed. Purpose doesn’t come and go, but ceaselessly remains.

It’s amazing that this sensation exists solely for you and within you. It’s your own personal roadmap to success, and you just have to follow it.

Purpose

Overcoming Doubts

Pursuing your greatest dreams somehow is the most blissful and terrifying experience of all time. We become so comfortable sitting in a state of “I’ll do A when I accomplish B” and waiting for the perfect time.

There is no perfect time other than right here and right now. The present is the only moment we can ever fully know and therefore it is your only option.

If you never take the leap to pursue your passions you will never fail, but you will also never succeed.

Doubts are what we rely on societally because they ensure that no one becomes “better” than the next person. They keep us non-controversial and quiet.

Doubt is conditioned, not logic. It comes from others telling us we aren’t enough because that’s the way they view themselves. No one wants to see others succeed when they don’t believe that they can on their own.

The thoughts of “I can’t do this” come from the same mind that thinks “Maybe I can.” We give so much weight to the potential of a negative outcome that we don’t give a thought to the possibility of success.

Change the game, go against the flow. See what you want, believe you can achieve it, and pursue it with every fiber of your being because the only person who lives this life is you.

Respond to your own doubts and those coming from others with these simple words, “Thank you for your concern, but I’ve got this.”

Now, while reading this, I know there’s been something in the back of your mind. A dream you’ve always had but haven’t had the guts to set out and accomplish.

This is your sign. Right here. Go. Channel your purpose and show this world all that you’re capable of.

Cover image via The Platform

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Also published on Medium.

Sarah is a sophomore studying journalism at the University of Miami. She...