Motivation Amnesia

Years ago, I developed a love for movies. They provide companionship in solitude. A circle of friends, knowledge and inspiration. You could say that I got a little obsessed with them over the years1. But there are only a hand full, that actually had an impact. Only a few that I thought about long after I watched the story unfold on screen. This rarely has anything todo with the actual quality or entertainment factor of the movie. It’s more often based on some character. The personal development throughout the story. Life choices. And more often than not the discipline and focus I see in their trades. But how is all this related to Motivation Amnesia? And what the heck is Motivation Amnesia?

It’s a word combination I came up with2 on a long walk last week after watching the movie “Before I Go to Sleep”. In the movie, the main character, Christine, had an accident. As a result of that, she wakes up each morning with a wiped memory. Starting every day without any recollection of what happened. Who the people in her life are and who she actually is.

Now, the movie is not even particularly well done. In my personal rating, this one scored a 4 out of 10, but that’s not the point. The beauty of watching a movie is that there are so many aspects to it. You can use it for entertainment. To get inspired or learn something. And on top of that, you can interpret it which ever way you want. And if you are lucky you have some new idea about the world or about yourself. In this case my takeaway was about motivation.

Forgetting That I am Motivated

I don’t wake up each morning with complete loss of my memory - lucky me! But I found that I do have a similar experience to the one of Christine, and it’s daily motivation loss. Way more often than I’d like to admit, I wake up, and it’s hard to pick myself up to get the ball rolling. I sometimes, immediately, get sucked into social media, unimportant things and YouTube videos. Then it’s already lunch break time, and at some point way later in the day, motivation hits. Then it’s already lunch break time, and at some point way later in the day, motivation hits. Then, I either work until late at night, or I put it off as I am already exhausted and watch a movie or enjoy time with friends.

So I noticed some parallels. I restart every morning with zero motivation (which is an exaggeration, but you get the idea). Then I try to rebuild the momentum. And at some point I am in full control. But how do you keep the momentum? How can I have motivation at the start of the day as well as the end, and, at best, cary it over to the next morning? And how do some people jump out of bed full of energy and motivation every single day?

In the movie, Christine gehts a video camera from a doctor. He is trying to give her a, kind of, normal life back. Build some memories for herself3. Build a personality. The way she does this, is by recording herself throughout the day and in the evening. Giving her the opportunity to watch those mini reminders aka. memories at the start of the next day4. So that’s one way. But how is that helpful for my Motivation Amnesia?

As of right now, I don’t know, yet. There are so many options. Many things I have tried myself some helped more than others. And it still is a daily learning process. But the things I am doing right now are focus on the evening and the morning:

Evening Practice

First I write a positive diary in the evening. Journaling three or more positive things that happened that day. Pryming myself for positivity during the night. The three things don’t have to be crazy accomplishments. Sometimes they are as basic as “Appreciated the clouds in the sky for a couple minutes”.

Second, I write my todo list for the next day. This way I make sure that I recheck my calendar for the next day. Check where the fixed dates are, and what I want to get done in-between. An important aspect is, that I also try to think about why those tasks are important. Which goals will I reach by doing them?

And an idea which got inspired by the movie is to sometimes record a quick video of myself, for myself. A message from todays me for tomorrows me. Giving me the opportunity to remind myself of all the things I am working towards.

Morning Practice

Once I wake up, I try to stay out of social media and chat apps for as long as possible. This way I can focus on my actual morning routine and todo list. Get the ball rolling and knock of the big tasks. Staying off social media is a big one. And it’s a topic that I have spent some serious time thinking about and trying to implement different ideas. I’ll for sure write about it at some point.

But wait a second, before I actually dive into my todo list, I like to rewatch a motivational video or two . I already have those downloaded from YouTube to my phone. So I actually can stay in Airplane Mode and watch them. I like to rewatch these over and over again. They get me fired up. Having only these two, ready to go is important. It limits my options. It prevents me from going on YouTube to search for a new video, every day. And that way I also don’t get caught in the never ending stream of related videos I would also like.

And now is the time to look at the prepared todo list and get started with the most important task first. Getting the momentum and then crushing it.

These are not my complete morning or evening routines. Those are a different topic, and one that is also still developing. But these are the things that I think are helpful to fight the Motivation Amnesia. Keeping the momentum day after day. And increasing the productive hours I have each day.

This is a work in progress. I am not yet anywhere near the state in which I’d like to be. I have a long journey ahead. And I will most likely write more about this in the future.

Do you know the struggle? Have a better word for it or some solutions that worked for you? Please contact me via any of the many ways. I’m always looking to learn more and improve.

  1. I have a list of all the movies I have watched since 2010. ↩︎

  2. I’m not sure how original that was and how happy I am with it. But for now it’ll do. I also googled the combo but found nothing related. It’ll be interesting how this unfolds in my brain. ↩︎

  3. Which is an interesting concept in itself. We are our memories. Our “who am I” and the “what makes me, me?” is based, in many ways, on habits, memories and experiences. Loose your memory. You loose yourself. ↩︎

  4. Of course she also can’t remember that she has the camera with all the memories. But the doc actually calls her every morning to remind her about the camera. That way she knows. ↩︎