Motivation is not the Answer
For decades, office walls have been covered with cheesy motivational quotes and imagery that was intended to inspire inhabitants to work harder and strive for success. Over recent years, social media has become inundated with “motivation Monday” posts and other purportedly motivational images, videos, blogs, and music — sometimes all at once. Most of us do not always feel motivated. It’s hard to get out of bed early, work long hours as an employee or caretaker, and grow and be better at whatever we do. But motivation isn’t the answer. Motivation is fleeting. Motivation is flawed.
The answer lies in flossing. Yes, flossing.
When I was an adolescent, I didn’t want to floss. It seemed tedious. It made my gums bleed. I just didn’t want to do it. I mentioned my lack of interest in flossing to my Mom and she gave me a suggestion.
She said, “Floss every night for 30 days. After that you won’t even think about it.”
I took it as a challenge. I committed to spending a few minutes each night before brushing my teeth to floss. I did this for 30 consecutive nights.
By the last couple of weeks, it became automatic. I didn’t think about it. Flossing was like brushing my teeth or taking out my contacts. I just did it.
After the 30 day flossing challenge was over, I didn’t stop. I kept flossing every night. It’s probably been about 25 years now, and I still floss every night.
I don’t floss because I’m motivated to floss. I’m not motivated to floss. I don’t think about it. I floss because it’s part of my routine. Flossing has become a learned habit.
The same is true with improving our work habits. There’s a brief period of motivation required early on. However, once we make a change in our behavior — be it ever so small — and it becomes a habit, we don’t need motivation. It will just happen. Just like flossing.
Make a simple change to your work routine for 30 straight days and I bet you’ll be doing it regularly 10 years from now.
This article was written by Avenue Group Founder Jeremy Greenberg