Productivity: The One Motivation Trick that Never Works

Have you ever missed a task or assignment, then told yourself that you’d make it up by putting in twice the work or effort the next day, time, or session?

For instance, you set a goal to workout every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Then one Monday, for whatever reason, you skip the gym telling yourself that you'll make it up on Wednesday by doing double the work, putting in twice the effort, or taking an extra class.

Or you commit to writing 1 hour a day, but fall off for a few days, so you decide to catch up by writing 3 hours this coming Saturday.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, has done this.

What's funny is that although everyone does it, it never works.


Not for anyone!

If there is one thing you can count on to ALWAYS fail, it’s this.

If you can't get yourself to exercise or write today, what makes you think you can get yourself to do double or triple next time?

When next time rolls around, you’re likely less motivated because now you have 2 to 3 times the work.

So you’ll procrastinate further. You’ll go, ‘you know what, I’m gonna catch up the following weekend. Yep, I’ll clear my schedule to focus entirely on this.’ Now you’ve made the chore, task, or activity even bigger.

Now every time you think about going to the gym or writing, the large commitment is hanging over your shoulders. This causes you to procrastinate further and further, and then few months later, you realize you’re at square one because you haven’t done anything.

In those rare moments when you do make up your commitment, guess what occurs?

That's right, you are burnt out!

  • It’s one of those things that happen – we miss a session, routine, a task.
  • When it happens, we feel bad, like we’re not sticking to what we set out to do.
  • In an attempt to change that feeling, we tell ourselves, ‘I’ll make it up,’ ‘I’ll work double,’ ‘I’ll work harder.’
  • Although our heart and intention is there when we say it, we don’t follow through.
  • Now we feel twice as bad, because we didn’t follow on the double promise.
  • The negative feelings just grows and grows until the mere thought of the goal drains or weighs you down, to the point you do anything to not think about it.
  • Since we don’t think about it, the goal doesn’t get done.
  • And since it doesn’t get done, it leaves us with this yucky feeling that once again…we failed.

Be conscious to NOT get caught in this cycle!

If you are feeling lazy, tired, burnt-out, or some other priority is taking your attention from a task or routine related to your goal, don’t tell commit to making it up by doing double or triple the work.

Its wishful thinking that makes you feel good in the moment, but has dire consequences. It’s actually one of the manipulative tricks our self-sabotaging mechanisms – habits, fears, beliefs – use to get us out of our goals.


If you fall out of a routine, just start from where you left off without adding the unnecessary pressure to make up on lost effort or catch up on lost time.

It doesn’t matter if you let a day, week, or month go by, just start back one task and one day at a time.

Also, don’t let thoughts like ‘Now, I’m behind’ or ‘I could have been so much further ahead’ weigh you down.

You’ll get there.

It won’t be as fast as you initially wanted, but you’ll get there…

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