The Problem with Motivation

With only a week and a half left of 2011 a lot of people are getting ready for the New Year by setting their New Year’s Resolution.   Finally they are going to make the decision to lose weight, stop smoking, go back to school, save money, travel, spend more time with family, and be happier.

Yes, on January 1, 2012 millions and millions of people will suddenly find the motivation that has been avoiding them the other 364 days of the year.

And . . . this year is going to be different!

Motivation won’t be the difference maker.

When I was doing leadership assessments, coaching, and speaking, I’d get asked if I was a motivational speaker and as quick as the question was asked, I’d answer with a NO!

Here’s why . . .  

Motivation is a temporary emotion that comes and goes.  We have an experience that provokes something within us that fires us up.  It’s an awesome explosion that will quickly fade unless one major decision is made. 

That decision is commitment.

Commitment will be the difference maker.

I don’t know about you, but I can get excited about a lot of things.  I’ve set a lot of goals in my days and every single one of them started because I felt motivated.  However, the only goals I’ve followed through on and achieved are the ones I committed to.

Motivation might be the spark that ignites an explosion, but commitment is what allows the fire to keep burning.

Commitment is a choice.

It’s true; commitment is a choice to be made.  It doesn’t just happen.

I always shake my head when I hear people say “I have no motivation” or “I need to find some motivation” like it’s some wonder drug that is going to dramatically change their lives.  The problem is they haven’t made the choice to commit to whatever it is they can’t find “motivation” to do. When you make a commitment it’s amazing how motivation is much more accessible.

Don’t half ass it.  If you are going to set goals, don’t rely on motivation.  Commit to your results!

The process of commitment.

I can only speak for myself, but it tends to be easier to make a commitment when things are important to me and really align well with who I am and who I want to be versus trying to commit to every explosion of excitement ignited by external influences.  The challenge is knowing … I mean really knowing what is important to you… not what society says should be important … not what your family or friends say should be important … what you determine to be truly important.  Now, I’m not saying disregard what your family and friends say, but you have to make the final call and when you do it has to be true to you!

Whether you have a hard time articulating what’s important to you or you just need to do some reassessing there are some great exercises out there that can help you figure this out.  For me it was reading Seven Habits of Highly Effective people 10 years ago.  I can honestly say my life changed. No exaggeration.

If you find value in my perspective there are a few of my previous articles that touch on this:

As well, I’ve put together a Personal Leadreship discovery packet that will challenge your thinking and give you greater clarity.

               Click here to download the Personal Leadership discovery packet.

At the end of the day you have to decide what type of person you want to be.  Do you want to be like the masses and talk a big game only to fizzle?   Or do you want to be one of the few that sets a goal, makes the commitment, and achieves success.

It’s your choice!

Will you commit?


About Jason Kiesau
Jason has been studying personal, professional, and leadership development for over 13 years and is passionate about helping people confidently pursue and achieve meaningful results. He is a speaker, trainer, coach, and author who works with leadership groups, emerging leaders, and young professionals. Jason is a contributing author with The Good Men Project and and was honored as a 2014 Forty Under 40, an award given to 40 local business leaders under the age of 40 who have demonstrated impressive career achievements and unparalleled community involvement. You can learn more about Jason at his website:

One Response to The Problem with Motivation

  1. mlb1399 says:


    Great thoughts on how motivation can come and go like an emotion. I think it’s so true and every year millions of resolutions go by the wayside because people fail to truly commit and fall back to their old patterns. I think the key to being truly committed is having a vision that’s aligned with your core values as well as creating habits that support that. Great article and I like forward to more out of you.


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