Lately, I’ve been asking my tribe what they want me to write about. It started selfishly, knowing that I would be more likely to accomplish my goal of writing if I had a topic and at least an audience of one. What I didn’t expect is that their requests would match so closely with what I’m passionate about.

Two weeks ago, a friend asked how for suggestions on how to workout every day. I really enjoyed sharing the strategy I use and how you can easily apply it so that it works every time.

Last night, another friend asked how I stay motivated in general. As he put it, “What is it about you that drives you to things that others aren’t nearly as willing to do?”

The funny thing is, I just wrote a book about this exact topic, but my headline wasn’t nearly as good. (I think I might do some tweaking before it launches. Thanks Steve!)

On Saturday, I posted a link to download the entire first section for free, no strings attached. You can still click here to get it.

Here’s the key thing I’ve discovered:

Motivation is a myth.

We think it works like this:

Motivation  —->  Action

We wait to take action until we feel motivated, and we rely on those feelings to feed our willpower. But what happens when the feeling doesn’t last? I think we can all answer that.

Several personal development books have proposed another approach that essentially looks like this:

Action  —->  Motivation  —->  Action

They correctly identify that real motivation comes from having accomplished something, and it’s usually part of a cycle. The flaw in this approach is uncovered when there’s an interruption in the actions. If the cycle stops, it can be very hard to get it started again.

Then January 16 happened, and I realized there was another layer.

Habit  —->  Action  —->  Motivation  —->  Action

Actions don’t have to come first. We can use our habits to trigger actions automatically. I call this the “jumpstart,” and it’s pre-wired in every single one of us. We just have to learn how to use it.

So the real answer is that I’m not able to motivate myself any more than anyone else. Instead, I’ve built a series of habits that kick into gear when I wake up and carry me throughout the day. If I get off track, I can trust that they’ll start again the next morning.

Life really is a lot more fun this way, and you can do it too.