Motivation Does Not Lead To Action
“Motivation does NOT lead to action, rather action LEADs to motivation” – Jeff Haden
According to The Motivation Myth by Jeff Haden, motivation can be unpredictable and unreliable, and relying on its fluctuating, flailing nature as one’s sole driving force can lead to failure. This common misconception often leads to procrastination and a tendency to delay taking action. Instead of relying on a false sense of energy or motivation, Haden suggests that we should focus on taking action and then let motivation follow.
“Motivation is NOT a spark”
Understanding that action leads to motivation can be liberating because it shifts the focus away from trying to find the perfect level of energy or waiting for the “right” feeling to take action. Instead, it allows a person to take control of their own progress by simply taking action, even if they don’t feel motivated at the moment.
“Motivation is like a sugar rush. It’s intense and powerful in the beginning, but it’s short-lived and unsustainable.”
Two studies found that taking action, even on small tasks, increases feelings of autonomy, competence and confidence in one’s ability to achieve goals.
The Action to Motivation Loop, consist of the following three steps:
The recipe for gaining motivation is the feeling of success. Our brain is wired to receive a dopaminergic release when we feel successful. It occurs with behaviors, large or small. If we pause for a split second and observe ourselves progressing, dopamine releases. The release leads to a feedback loop when we take a small action, experience progress, feel motivation(dopamine) , and start again.
In our constant pursuit to understand behavior change, it is essential to emphasize action, especially small actions. Small actions are at the core of igniting change. So the next time you are sitting with a patient that is struggling to improve their diet, become more active or take their medications, create a simple action plan and emphasize small steps.
“You are what you tolerate. You become what you emphasize” – Farhad Chowdhury
“The Relationship Between Motivation and Action” by Psychology Today (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-science-success/201704/the-relationship-between-motivation-and-action)
- “How to Turn Your Motivation Into Action” by Forbes (https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/07/11/how-to-turn-your-motivation-into-action/?sh=1bce5fbf2a2b)
- “Motivation Myth” by Jeff Haden (https://www.amazon.com/Motivation-Myth-Achievers-Really-Themselves/dp/0399563768#:~:text=%22Jeff%20Haden’s%20writing%20lives%20at,of%20gift%20from%20the%20gods)