How to Stay Focused When You Get Bored Working Toward Your Goals

We all have goals and dreams, but it can be difficult to stick with them.

Each week, I hear from people who say things like, “I start with good intentions, but I can’t seem to maintain my consistency for a long period of time.”

Or, they will say, “I struggle with mental endurance. I get started but I can’t seem to follow through and stay focused for very long.”

Don’t worry. I’m just as guilty of this as anyone else.

For example, I’ll start one project, work on it for a little bit, then lose focus and try something else. And then I’ll lose focus on my new goal and try something else. And on and on. When everything is said and done, I’ve stopped and started so many times that I never really made much progress.

Maybe you have felt this way too.

This problem reminds me of a lesson I learned while working out one day…

The Myth of Passion and Motivation

On this particular day in the gym, there was a coach visiting who had worked with thousands of athletes over his long career, including some nationally-ranked athletes and Olympians.

I had just finished my workout when I asked him, “What’s the difference between the best athletes and everyone else. What do the really successful people do that most people don’t?”

He briefly mentioned the things that you might expect. Genetics. Luck. Talent.

But then he said something I wasn’t expecting.

“At some point,” he said, “it comes down to who can handle the boredom of training every day and doing the same lifts over and over and over again.”

That piece of advice surprised me because it’s a different way of thinking about work ethic.

Most of the time people talk about getting motivated and “amped up” to work on their goals. Whether it’s business or sports or art, you will commonly hear people say things like, “it all comes down to having enough passion.”

As a result, I think many people get depressed when they lose focus or motivation because they think that successful people have some unstoppable passion and willpower that they seem to be missing. But that’s exactly the opposite of what this coach was saying.

Instead, he was saying that really successful people feel the same boredom and the same lack of motivation that everyone else feels. They don’t have some magic pill that makes them feel ready and inspired every day. But the difference is that the people who stick with their goals don’t let their emotions determine their actions. Top performers still find a way to show up, to work through the boredom, and to embrace the daily practice that is required to achieve their goals.

According to him, it’s this ability to do the work when it’s not easy that separates the top performers from everyone else. That’s the difference between professionals and amateurs.

Working When Work Isn’t Easy

Anyone can work hard when they feel motivated.

When I was an athlete, I loved going to practice the week after a big win. Who wouldn’t? Your coach is happy, your teammates are pumped up, and you feel like you can beat anyone. As an entrepreneur, I love working when customers are rolling in and things are going well. Getting results has a way of propelling you forward.

But what about when you’re bored? What about when the work isn’t easy? What about when it feels like nobody is paying attention or you’re not getting the results you want?

Are you willing to work through 10 years of silence?

It’s the ability to work when work isn’t easy that makes the difference.

It’s Not the Event, It’s the Process

All too often, we think our goals are all about the result. We see success as an event that can be achieved and completed.

Here are some common examples…

  • Many people see health as an event: “If I just lose 20 pounds, then I’ll be in shape.”
  • Many people see entrepreneurship as an event: “If we could get our business featured in the New York Times, then we’d be set.”
  • Many people see art as an event: “If I could just get my work featured in a bigger gallery, then I’d have the credibility I need.”

Those are just a few of the many ways that we categorize success as a single event.

But if you look at the people who are consistently achieving their goals, you start to realize that it’s not the events or the results that make them different. It’s their commitment to the process. They fall in love with the daily practice, not the individual event.

What’s funny, of course, is that this focus on the process is what will allow you to enjoy the results anyway…

If you want to be a great writer, then having a best-selling book is wonderful. But the only way to reach that result is to fall in love with the process of writing.

If you want the world to know about your business, then it would be great to be featured in Forbes magazine. But the only way to reach that result is to fall in love with the process of marketing.

If you want to be in the best shape of your life, then losing 20 pounds might be necessary. But the only way to reach that result is to fall in love with the process of eating healthy and exercising consistently.

If you want to become significantly better at anything, you have to fall in love with the process of doing it. You have to fall in love with building the identity of someone who does the work, rather than merely dreaming about the results that you want.

In other words…

Fall in love with boredom. Fall in love with repetition and practice. Fall in love with the process of what you do and let the results take care of themselves.


    • Very nice article ! In the East Indian traditions practice, is looked at as something you just do for many many births. Its your gift. Now that’s boredom, but it is your duty and your passion as well. We in the West appear very goal driven to others that just do.

    • Thanks James. You left out two answers though: what is a person’s identity and how does one discover one’s identity and change it? Is my identify my beliefs? I don’t think so. After all, I change my beliefs. For example, I believe different things now then when I was 20. Is my identity the relationships I have, the things I do or the things I own? I don’t think so. So what is my identity and how do I change it or can I?

      • “Do you have a light?” “No, I don’t smoke.” – Identity, non-smoker.

        “Work out more, you shouldn’t be wheezing like that on a flight of stairs.” “Man, give me a break, I’m a smoker.” – Identity, smoker.

        Pretty much any time you identify with something that you are, or are not, that’s your identity. “I am” a gamer, smoker, athlete, programmer, artist, singer, slingshot master, chicken whisperer, esoteric, introverted, extroverted, lazy, workaholic.

        You are what you do, you do what you are.

  1. Oh boy, I really needed that. I discuss this with my Curvy Goddesses on my website and I am very transparent about things. I am not this superheroine who has finally succeeded but I am a human being who does really super things sometimes and maybe many times but then again I get into this slump like I am now.

    Still trying to get myself out of one and waiting for my second wind. But maybe waiting is not the right strategy based on your article. :)

      • Thanks James. I actually went ahead and hired a performance coach. We haven’t officially started but he’s already made a huge impact on me. I feel like I’m transforming.

        I’ve coaches in the past. But this man is brilliant and powerful! I am over the moon with my decision!



  2. Motivation is one of the biggest personal development hoaxes out there. People only cater to it because they see everyone else talking about it.

    Who made the rule that you have to be motivated to do something? That is a crippling mindset to have, when instead, you could have the mindset, “I can get myself to do anything at any time.” If you have the mindset that you need motivation to do things, then of course you’ll be dependent on it, but it’s just a belief like any other, and it’s not a beneficial belief to have.

    • i agree. i thought something similar:

      not having motivation is just an excuse for not starting. just like rain is an excuse for not running!!

      don’t think about the excuses why you can’t do it, think about the reasons why you MUST do it.

      great post James.

      • To those who use rain as an excuse NOT to run — Nearly every p.r. I’ve set has been due to rain. Between a 10k and full marathon, all in pouring rain. Sometimes your perceived obstacle is your actual catalyst. You get my point…

  3. Funny reading this today, because this happened to me today. All this stuff I could do but I was getting bored with the little tedious stuff that you do with a small business. I found myself playing solitaire instead of doing my marketing. It is so true, you have to love the boredom to get to the top. If you don’t, pack up shop now and go home. My wife and I were training for the Detroit Marathon during a time in which she was at Ft. Meade for training. We did an 18 mile run, in the rain around the parade field 18 times (1 mile loop). A boring, rainy run, however, when we finished our first marathon 4 weeks later, we looked back at the run and laughed. We made it through the boredom and the results were amazing.

    • Good examples, Nick. Congrats on finishing that marathon and good luck growing your business. And as always, thanks for reading!

    • Wow — thank you for the compliment, Michael! I really appreciate the support. I’ll do my best to keep good ideas flowing your way.

  4. Cogently written!

    Inspired me to read through yet another clump of tedious words; only to discover a brilliantly simple truism, cloaked within.

    Well done!

    Thank you!

  5. James,

    Nailed this one. It is about doing the things we need to do — even when we don’t want to. Motivation can help jump start the process… but at some point it takes persistence and just gutting it out.

  6. Terrific article, thanks James. As a teacher I do a lot of reading and thinking about motivation because there are so many teens who appear to be unmotivated in school. I think the real issue is they don’t find relevance in their courses and they don’t feel that their voices are heard. You point out that we do need to feel some passion about something to make progress, but we also have to be committed to the process, the journey.

    I think it is really difficult for young people to be able to work despite the boredom. They think everything is supposed to be exciting, and it’s just not. I do worry that when these teens reach the workforce they will be unprepared for the hard work necessary to learn new things and create new ideas. Not all of them, of course, but enough of them. I like the end of the article: falling in love with the identity of someone who does the work. It’s a mindset thing.

    Thanks again.

    • Dear Deborah,

      I am 17, and an avid reader of James’ articles. Your comment really resonated with me. I often feel as if my teachers don’t notice me and don’t identify with me, so it’s nice to know that despite their apparent indifference, they do care about how their students feel. I often do find it difficult to get motivated, but in class, the biggest demotivating factor is not feeling valued by my teachers.

      I will be going to university next year, and often wonder if I’ve been conditioned to work under others’ expectations to such an extent that I’ll struggle to find the inner drive needed when I reach the workforce. Perhaps it’s true, and perhaps it explains partly the vast self-help market today. If I’ve learnt anything this year that I will carry through in my life, no matter what, it’s the value of having a positive attitude. I believe that ultimately, positivity is conducive to ‘falling in love with boredom’. I think that the combination of feeling valued by teachers and learning in a positive, upbeat environment is the key to happy and motivated students, and thus the key to happy and motivated adults in the future. :-)


      P.S. Thank you James!

      • Laura, I wish you all the best in college/university next year! You are the same age as my youngest child, who has struggled with the lack of relevance that he has found in his studies up to now. He is finally being able to take some courses that match his long-term goals and interests, so this year is a lot better, but it has been frustrating for him. He is looking forward to going to college next year in order to study what HE wants to learn!

        The fact that you take the time to read James’ blog says a lot for you being a thoughtful, intelligent young woman. I am sure you will be just fine! And I will continue to work to help my students find joy in learning by keeping it relevant to their lives.

    • Thanks for sharing your experiences, Deborah. And thanks for the work that you do as a teacher.

      I don’t claim to have any answers for motivating young students in school, but I’ll keep doing my best to provide useful ideas each week.

      Thanks for taking the time to read.

  7. WOW!!

    Thank you James. Absolutely amazing! I have been trying to concentrate on doing small, consistent, daily steps. This not only reinforces that but adds a whole other dimension, a whole new light on the subject.

    Thank you again – you have some incredible information here. One thing that I really enjoy about this site is how you bring athletics/working out into the conversation about habits and success.


    • Thanks Wayne. I love connecting my experiences as an athlete with my interest in behavioral psychology and habit formation, so it’s great to hear that you enjoy that connection as well.

      Thanks for reading!

  8. Hi James,

    I am really very attached to your blog. I look forward to receiving it. It has inspired me to start writing and now I already have 5 posts — I have begun once a week. Thanks for making our lives better and taking time out for these words of wisdom. I am sure so much good must be happening everywhere.

    • Nice work, Manoj! Congrats on launching your site.

      I’m glad you’re finding my work useful. I’ll do my best to keep good ideas coming your way.

  9. Hi James,

    TGIF! Thanks so much for the inspiring piece which you have written — to manage boredom and to love it! Totally awesome, I’m definitely looking forward to read more of your pieces.

    Cheers to everyone and have a lovely weekend! :)

  10. I’m reminded of the hours that it takes for musicians to practice, to not be bored with the runs, re-runs, and repetitions, to feel emotions when there seems to be nothing to emote for. Being fresh and fully committed each and every time, there by yourself with no one watching, urging you on. It’s you with you!

    The only thing I know is this… it pays to stay the course, to pay your dues in full, so that when the time comes you surpass your own expectations.

  11. I’m in the process of a major life direction change. I recently saw your article “Successful People Start Before They Feel Ready” on the Thiel Fellowship’s Facebook page and gave it a read. I have been reading a lot of your stuff since then and just wanted to say, “Thank You.” Your articles are prudential without arrogance and maintain a relatable, fluid, and relevant course.

    With that being said, “Thanks!”

    • Oh wow. I didn’t know about the Thiel Fellowship sharing my work. Thanks for the tip, Joel.

      And, of course, I’m glad you’re enjoying my writing. I’ll do my best to keep good ideas coming your way.

  12. Another great article by James Clear.

    It’s what people don’t want to hear and what people need to hear–real change consists of the doing some ‘every damn day’ :-) , the stubbornness of taking the next positive action according to your planned behavior change. “You become what you do everyday.”

    Over the past two (2) years or so, I’ve been looking to make a career change and to get into the programming field. At my recent job I sat near a lady who complained and pouted every week about her lack of career advancement, but if you gave her suggestions she’d get excited for a day or two, and then a month later nothing had been done. On the other hand, I stubbornly committed to spending at least an hour every day–even when that meant staying up late, or when I didn’t like it–trying to learn programming. Now I’ve been through several online classes and have been admitted to a software “bootcamp” and, being ahead of some folks in the class am able to help them out. Unfortunately, that lady was still pouting and complaining, and waiting for a miracle, the last I checked.

    A stubborness on the right-activities gets you life change.

  13. Love this letter. I have been implementing several ways to embrace boredom and have less stimulation. Well, this week, I was able to lose two pounds, still managed to get to the gym twice, caught up on paperwork and read lots of material I am committed to finishing. Paradoxically, it has all been very stimulating!

  14. Hey James,

    Just wanted to drop by and say two things:

    1) Thanks for writing this article. I’ve also started to slowly realize the point that you’re making, but this article was really great for both reminding me of it and really helping solidify the idea.

    2) I like how, at the end of each of your articles, you try to tie in how your overarching point can apply to many different situations. It really helps tie the theoretical to the practical.

  15. Beautifully written. Just the exact reminder I need to get me through the tough times I’m currently facing. Keep up the good work!

  16. I read your posts regularly and I love them.

    I am curious as to how you manage to answer all the possible doubts people face. I can relate to almost all the articles you write.

    Thanks for your posts.

  17. Absolutely loved this post, James. It’s somewhat ironic to say the concept of accepting boredom brings motivation, but the collected anecdote above certainly proves it. Thank you. I needed to hear that message today.

  18. Goodness… I have nothing to add beyond the comments already made. With this exception — when are you going to start traveling to the west coast and hold motivational seminars?? Seriously. Olympia-Seattle, WA area please!!! Stat.

  19. Awesome article again!

    James knows actually what goes on when someone keep some goals and starts chasing them and that makes all the difference! No big Gyan! No Buzzwords and No Philosophies. Its pure practicle tips James provides.
    Keep it up James!

    Mumbai, India

  20. I’m reading this on a Friday morning after a an especially unmotivating and frustrating week at work. This post was a kick in the rear to remember what matters.. Thank you! I never thought I would enjoy posts like this but your simple sincerity really comes through and is very helpful

  21. I would like to add a comment which I heard in an event. “Don’t be motivated, be disciplined”. That could be another way to overcome your boredom. It is possible that you don’t feel always motivated to do a particular task and you might end up losing interest in that task but, if you are disciplined no matter what, you will begin to fall in love with that work.

  22. Great article. I love the last part where you bring it back to “building the identity of someone who does the work.” I have heard you mention it several times.

  23. Hey James,

    Really great article. I remember when I freshly graduated I was super excited about starting work. I didn’t even realize when I let my petty bosses rule my life and ruin my spirit. I guess it was the boredom from lack of appreciation that led me to keep switching jobs taking vacations and basically throwing my five year plan away. I hope to not get this in my way again!

  24. This is a great post. Pushing through the hard work and boredom. Fall in love with the process! It makes me evaluate the things I want the most- do I really want to fall in love with what it takes? Thought provoking.

  25. This article come not have come at a better time. I have been struggling the past 10 days with what I would characterized as a lost of inspiration and not necessarily boredom. Working, working, working but not seeing the results. Only more work on the horizon. Thanks for proposing a shift of outcomes from results to process. I often wondered if my ebbs and flows were mine alone, as the general perception of success is one of endless passion and motivation all the way to the finish line. Now I know better!


  26. Thanks for a great distillation of the power principle. Your words remind me of the essence of the Bhagavad Gita: do the right thing, regardless of outcome. Also the words of a survival expert from British Columbia: “Pay attention every day,and the future will take care of itself.”

  27. Thank you so much for this e-mail! It is said that the right words arrive at the right moment. Or at least when one is ready to understand them. That´s my case. I feel boredom on weekends because though I have the chance of beginning something I have no obligation to finish it. So, I can stop it at any moment (and that´s what I do).

    Working days don´t let me choose. What I have to do must be done! Fortunately, I am gifted with a job that I love too much, that´s why it´s easy to be focused on it.

  28. James

    I subscribed to your blog about two months ago after reading one of your articles on the Buffer Blog. I look forward to your articles every week.

    You’ve had a number of articles which really hit the mark for me, including your book, “Transform Your Habits”, which I’ve mentioned to some of my personal training clients and used as inspiration for an article. I’ve also mentioned you on my website in relation to your post about plate size and colour as a weight-loss strategy.

    BUT, it is this article that finally prompted me to write to you.

    It’s not that I get ‘bored’ working towards my desired outcomes, rather it’s persisting through the monotonous work (like understanding AdSense code, or having to make adjustments to 50 pages of a website because I made a small mistake).

    It’s this persistence that allows me to have more freedom to be creative, i.e. when I’ve done all the grunt work, or learned what I needed to learn to get from point D to point G, then I can recognize that this boring/monotonous/necessary work/task is ABSOLUTELY necessary to support ‘writing my next page or article’.

    It would be oh-so-lovely to just write – in fact, I’d love to give up my ‘day-job’ so I can do just that. But the reward, as you explained so well, is in the process; all of the process.

    As someone who is also working as an info-preneur, I appreciate and recognize your consistency.

    Keep up the great writing! You are a great teacher.


  29. James,

    A simple gem of a reflection on why we should fall in love with our boredom, and discover the love of process. Giving the reasons why motivation doesn’t work only by itself, that it is a spark but not the kerosene that adds to the bright flaming bonfire of the dream or vision we have to transform into our reality to change the world.


  30. Doing the boring, mundane, repetitive things everyday are what makes greatness. When I feel unmotivated and don’t want to work then I know that I am at the crossroads of success and failure. I say that you should look for the dull things to do first everyday, because motivation comes from dealing with them. If it was easy success wouldn’t be worth having!

  31. Very inspirational reading James!

    I feel like I’ve had a stark wake up to reality on some of the shields (excuses) I have seemingly been hiding behind…and holding myself back!

    Thank you for the simplicity and clarity to enable me to make some positive changes and acceptances in areas where needed

    I will certainly be do some thorough reading through your site when I have the opportunity to do so…


  32. Hello James!

    Greetings from Montevideo, Uruguay, South America.

    This article is truly inspiring! I will make sure to have it always present in my search of my dream job!

    Good go!

  33. I saw this on Huffington Post, then again on LinkedIn. It’s like the universe was trying to tell me something. This is an awesome, inspiring article that actually got me motivated to do something about my circumstances!

  34. This is really inspiring, James…I wish to be a writer like you one day and as you said “If you want to be a great writer, then having a best-selling book is wonderful. But the only way to reach that result is to fall in love with the process of writing.” And here I am. :-)

    God Bless!!!

  35. Success is really just a habit! And a habit is just a routine! You have to add novelty sometimes, but the vast majority of your work will be the same thing day in and day out. Keeping that goal of that single event (accomplishment) will probably keep you striving for it and toughing it out.

  36. I’m from Pakistan! What a man you are James. Full of visionary thoughts! I regularly read your articles and, you know what, I feel improvement in myself by applying your thoughts! Thanks.

  37. I came across this article when I was looking for a particular quote (which I didn’t ultimately find), amidst doing some work for my master’s degree. The particular work I was doing was tedious and boring but essential to the overall project I signed on for, which I like very much in general. I read, “It’s the ability to work when work isn’t easy that makes the difference.” just when my motivation was beginning to flag for the night. After reading that text, and then the full article, I proceeded to finish the chunk of work that I set out to do at the beginning of the night. Thanks for the motivation.

  38. I know I’m late, but I am so thankful for this. I’ve been studying for years and could never seem to get studying right. I was digging for motivaion and passion which was not there and was confused as to if this is what i should be doing/studying. This article clarified a lot of things for me, and I am truly thankful. God bless!


  39. James, I found your site through Entrepreneur about a week ago, and have been absorbing your articles as fast as I can. I attend a morning coffee with a start up community group in my home town and I end up recommending your site to almost everyone I talk to. Your articles appeal to literally everyone so it’s never hard to work your subject matter into a conversation. Keep up the writing we’re listening!

    • Thanks Tad! It’s great to have you reading. I really appreciate the support and I’ll do my best to keep useful ideas coming your way.

  40. Thanks James, as I was looking for articles related to academics. I felt bored. I even doubt myself whether I could do it or not. Upon reading this article. I get to know that not only me who is suffering from boredom, but people around he world as well. This article is really an inspiration for me!

  41. James, it is really true, we all know the great people have this ability to live the life of greatness every single day. We need to practice this on a daily basis so that whatever our individual goals are, we slowly move towards it. I would like to share an example, today morning, I was watching TV show ” So you think you can dance”, when I watched that show, I realise, how hard these participants work on each and every single step and when they perform, it looks so smooth and flawless, but to perform at this highest level, one need to practice and practice so that it comes naturally, when they perform on the highest level. This is really very inspiring. We need to do the same, every single day, so that it comes naturally to us as well.

  42. Thank you for this — it is actually really sound advice! Feel your emotions but don’t allow boredom or de-motivation to get in the way of your ultimate goal.

  43. James, keep writing. You helped me a lot, keep pushing! You are on track to get people to get better also. So, enjoy this boredom, because it’s creating happiness not only in your country.

  44. James — Embrace the boredom. I love that mind shift.

    I totally agree in the concept that one’s process is the path to achieving momentum. The momentum could be spinning in place, progressing forward towards a goal or backward due to self-sabotaging efforts. But sucking it up, being disciplined, perseverance, etc. are all those executive functioning skills that neuro-typical people can call upon when trying to complete those boring repetitive tasks. That’s not the case for those suffering with ADHD.

    I’m an ADHD Coach. Clients come to me with feelings of shame, embarrassment, unworthiness due to the blame they put on themselves because of the belief that they can’t achieve success because they don’t have the discipline, the willpower, the “suck it up and just do it” capability. What my clients realize is that they have the capability – it’s figuring how to tap into it now that they know how their brain is “wired.” ADHD is the brain’s inability to focus and function when there is boredom, disinterest, or under stimulation.

    It is interest that drives the ADHD brain. The greater a person’s interest, the greater the intention of acting on what he/she is paying attention to. I disagree with “falling in love with the process..” because you don’t have to in order to actually do the process. I say, acknowledge the fact that it’s the process that will get the results. Then ask yourself how much mental energy and effort do you want to or afford to expend in those day to day processes for your personal, work or academic affairs? Are you in a position to have someone else do those activities for you or barter to free you up to doing those tasks that you excel at and propel you forward? If not or the task if for you to do, then let’s figure out how to keep that intention in the forefront of your mind to help move you through or what reward can you establish for yourself or consequence you want to avoid to MOTIVATE YOU to completing those daily processes.

    I bet that coach in the gym at least had the vision, or the ability to hold the thought in his mind that “Although I don’t feel like working out now, I know how I will feel when I’m done.” It’s that thought, that interest, that intention that fuels the perseverance, that stick-to-itiveness. You state at the end, “Fall in love with repetition and practice.” It’s interesting how you incorporate the word “love”. No matter what, one uses some sort of reward, positive or negative reinforcement to get one through those boring processes.

  45. This is fantastic. Embrace the boredom as a way of meditation almost. Train your body to engage and let you brain relax. The time spent will probably fly by while your craft gets perfected almost subconsciously.

  46. I have read just this one article of yours. It’s the best I have ever read.

    I have just three words to say — Thank You James!

  47. Well thought-out piece that says everything that needs to give me a push. I haven’t been procrastinating, but it has been more of beating myself down, telling myself that I would only be good enough if I got so and so number of readers for my short stories. I had started caring more and more about meeting other people’s expectations, and posting on my blog on a regular basis. I had forgotten the feeling of loving what I do and doing what I thought was best for me.

    Thank you so much for this. Truly inspiring.

  48. Just what I needed when I am at that “boredom” state… your articles have inspired me many times James. And it seems that every time I stop reading your articles for a week or 2, when I start reading it again, it gave me motivation or clarify some matter that I’m currently dealing with. However long it takes for you to complete your book, I’m sure it’s worth the wait. Please do let me know once it’s out. Thanks James.

  49. How do you go about falling in love with boredom? I mean, it all looks good on paper but in actuality, that greater task isn’t easily achieved. I scrolled down hoping you’d go into further detail, maybe some method would be helpful.

  50. The topic of focus is what I am trying to learn more about – how to not lose it in the face of difficulties and no results.

  51. Great post, very timely. I’m in that silence stage in my photography. Honestly, I got bored with it too because I didn’t get enough recognition or clients, etc…and I pretty much put the camera down. I stopped blogging, stopped posting…thanks for the post, this weekend I re-affirmed why I take photos in the first place. It’s because I love the hunt of a good photo, the adventure of walking into a cold, swollen creek barefoot to get the right angle on a waterfall. Falling back in love with the process itself, letting the results take care of themselves.

  52. This article made my day! I’m only recently discovering the happiness I’m getting from eating REAL food and I realised after years of ridiculous diets (and binge sessions after) that “motivation” in something like this is not just unnecessary, but irrelevant too. It’s as habitual as any of our other good or bad habits. For the first time in my life, I’m actually looking forward to waking early in the morning, hitting the gym, eating healthy food throughout the day and drinking lots of water. And no amount of motivation or inspiration had anything to do with it. I really am enjoying the science of eating.

  53. Thanks James it was such an inspiring article.
    When ever I feel like giving it up I go through this article and get inspired again to achieve my goals.
    Have shared the same with my friends and family.

  54. All I can say is, “Wow!” And that this is the EXACT article I needed. When you’re an entrepreneur dealing with the ups and downs of business, lack of motivation and focus, you question your passion, which is exactly what I’ve been doing for months. Yet when I finish a big project, I’m on top of the world. I’ve known for a while this isn’t a “passion” problem, but try finding well-written content on the subject. I didn’t think it existed. Until now. Thank you, James!

  55. “It’s not the event, it’s the process…” — Thank you for this amazing advice. I am easily bored at what I do and now I realized it’s because I never learn to accept boredom as a process. Thank you for this article.

  56. Thanks James, I believe that you’ve begun me on a path to the solution of a riddle that has dogged me for the better part of my life. Keep up the good work…

  57. Nice article James, you’re completely right. The people who succeed over the long haul are the ones who show up and do the work consistently.

    One way is to fall so much in love with the process that you keep going even when it’s boring.

    Another option is to fire up your motivation by reconnecting with your most compelling reasons WHY you’re doing it.

  58. This is brilliant… you didn’t impose some voodoo tricks on us pretending to be a coach or something. You told an authentic truth and put it simply and powerfully and that really is quite amazing.

  59. This is absolutely 100% true! So simple yet such a difficult thing to work through. The only times in my life where I have felt happy with my body are when I’ve been working towards a big event… Wedding, big holiday, etc. I love how I feel and look. The event comes and goes and *bang* I’m back to the same old habits — eating too much and not exercising enough. I get so down with myself… that popular meme is right: Being fit is a journey, not a destination.

  60. I loved your advice. I hope I learn something from it. I need to stay focused to achieve what I have in mind because its high time now or else the people who love me will lose the hope they have in me.

    Thanks and regards.

  61. Hi James!

    It is very interesting what you write, and I think you are very right in general. That is why I have one question bugging me: I went vegetarian and stopped eating meat and fish overnight. I lived with meat eaters and nobody in my surroundings was vegetarian (so my environment was not easy), and I never had to use my willpower not to eat meat. It just disappeared for me as an available option. Same happened to me when I went vegan: I LOVED cheese and for months it was the only reason stopping me from going vegan. But the second I decided it… I never wanted cheese anymore.

    And my real question is…how is this possible? (I mean I am grateful that is not a constant struggle of course, but why can my mind do it with veganism and not with exercise or other things that I also think are good?) Maybe you have some insights.

    Anyhow, thanks for your posts. I love your blog and find it really useful. Cheers!

  62. Quick question: how DO you fall in love with boredom and repetition? It seems really difficult to love something so many of us find repulsive at first.

  63. Really enjoyed this article, it makes me more determined, I’m just starting out at the gym and its week three and I have been feeling a bit down and bored, a lot of self talk going on about how I’m getting nowhere – I’m going to print this and put it in my locker! Thank you!

  64. Very well written! This article is clear and on-point. Enjoyed reading it as it reminded me to “Enjoy the Ride!” Thanks much.

  65. So clear James! When you explain it, it becomes crystal Clear. No way to escape with bad excuses you bring us back at the right point. Many thanks!


    Post scriptum: this is the Japanese definition of the way to perfection; loving and committing to the most tiny things in the process of doing even simple things consistently and with the purpose of doing them a little better each time.

  66. Hi! My name is Nishant , I am 25yrs old, i have yet to get my engineering degree cos i still have to clear 2 subjects In which i am failing for last 2 years. I also want to be a cop. In our country minimum qualification to be eligible for police entrance exam is a bachelors degree. I am taking tutions for the police exams but i just dont find any motivation to study at all please help.when i study i study for a day or so nxt day i dont even feel like touching the books. My biggest problem is that cant i cant concentrate on studies for a longer period of time. Please help.

    • Hi Nishant!

      The problem you face is not an isolated case. Our education system provides us with a course syllabus, but no motivation. What you can probably do is develop an interest in the subjects you are failing. Instead of fighting them off, try to fall in love with them.

      Check out the potential applications of the subjects and try to condition yourself towards getting highly interested in them. See the profiles of people who are into that field. Find about how the field delivers value to humanity. Maybe you can find a link between being a police officer and those subjects.

      I know it’s difficult. But believe me, once you start thinking with “I’m interested in learning this” mindset, things start becoming tangible.

      Once you develop that interest, it’ll be very easy for you to devote time. You may have to motivate yourself everyday. But as James said, it’s a continuous process.

      All the best!

  67. Great article really works for me, will really make a difference with work that I’m really struggling with at the moment.

  68. Thank you for excellent articles, the newsletter and the ebooks. I never could have thought that changing your identity is so important for success. Thank you so much.

  69. Well, this is the whole reason the tortoise beat the hare, right? That story should be required reading at the beginning of every school year from grade K straight through college.

  70. I completely agree with this article, but for someone who has ADHD the boring and repetitive work you have to do becomes almost impossible to get through. But only people with that condition will understand.

  71. James, just a note to let you know that I appreciate the work you do. I have been reading you’re articles for a few months now. You make a difference. Thank You.

  72. All well said. But the real problem lies in falling in love with mundane and boring tasks. You have missed the big HOW?

  73. Great article James!

    It would be awesome if you could give us few tips on how to ease the process of falling in love with the boredom.

  74. This article is filled with solid common sense, focused on character traits and habits rather than on pop psyche and quasi magical formulas. An excellent little piece of writing, that is very solid. Thank you. Please keep writing.
    Paul-Emile Leray

  75. Yes, makes much sense to be honest and it’s actually something I’ve known for a while really from my gym days. Where I could always reach my goals with hard work, but the event of having what I desired made my training decrease somewhat. I quickly understood that success is a work in progress, so maintenance or maintaining the process is key.

    Good article.

  76. Wow! This is a brilliant piece of advice. You can really begin to see how ”success shapes itself” when you fall in love with the process! Success is the process!

  77. You know, I get you and all but this is just another way of saying you need PERSEVERANCE, PASSION or CONSISTENCY, etc, etc. But good effort on making it a point to explain the obvious.

  78. The last two paragraphs really hit home, I’m blown away, thank you so much! I’ve GOT to start to FOCUS on the moment rather than wishing away the days for better ones.

  79. Thank you James for awesome article. You have aptly summarised essence of “Gita” – “Do your Karma(work); do not focus on the fruits(results).”

  80. I was in the middle of finishing an assignment when I slowly started to let myself get distracted. I then came upon this article and enjoyed every piece of it.

    God has a beautiful way of looking out for us.

  81. Hello James. Very well written… pointed me in the right direction.

    I will put this to work.

    THANK YOU… Really.

    (I wish good for you)

  82. I would like to say that the story impressed me a lot. Maybe it’s just because I am in my 20’s and I am crossing a tough period of finding who I am and what I would love to do when I grow old.

    Thank you for sharing, it gave me the motivation that I needed.

  83. Thank you so much. This really helped.

    I want to be a designer and start my own brand but it takes so much effort and time. Even though I am so passionate about what I do, I sometimes lose self-motivation and can’t finish what I start. I wrote a few sentences down just to remind myself these.


  84. Boredom is a killer, and so is waiting. I believe that the “can’t be bothered” attitude comes down to lack of belief, boredom, or the frustration that comes from waiting.

    Right now I’m tired of waiting, I’m not bored of what I do, but more bored with the waiting for success. Not all goals can be tracked in the space of days, and even a week is a long time to stick at something 100%.

    Truth is, it’s the boredom of waiting for success that’s the killer. Waiting around for the pleasure of long term success when we have so many ways of pleasuring our minds instantly is a battle that doesn’t go in our favor.

    Personally, I think it comes down to what you want to be. Take a good look around you, at all those people giving in to instant pleasures because they are too weak to go through a bit of discomfort, and then ask yourself; “is that the kind of person I want to be?” – and I don’t think it’s so much about falling in love with the thing that makes you succeed, but more of falling in love with the person you’re becoming for doing those things that need to be done.

    Don’t look at eating healthy or working out as something you’ve got to drag yourself unwilling through, use it to measure yourself. If you don’t want to be like everyone else then get up and do it, or just stay sat down and be just like them, it’s your choice, so decide what it is you want.

    Cool article, thanks James.

    Jon Dart.
    Beyond Greatness Motivation.

  85. Thanks a lot James. You are amazingly awesome!

    While most motivating articles try to propel towards setting a goal and following it tooth and nail, you get down to the basics and talk about the ground reality.

    Pure actionable content.

  86. This is a fantastic article. I played soccer once a week for 2 years, and I recall just a handful of fantastic performances in which I got a lot of praise but vast majority of performances where not anywhere near those peaks. I said it’s because I got bored of doing and playing the same thing for so long, and now I am proved correct, that the passion and motivation was just a myth.

  87. You are so right and another point that would be great to add is that if look at things as an event, once you reach that event then nothing will make sense and you wouldn’t know what goes next. That is why you have to fall in love with the process rather than the event.

    This really helped me, thanks.

  88. James, you make an excellent point about the distinction between process and event. I can see this as the potential downside to motivation provided by goals (i.e. working to meet the revenue goal is motivating but it begs the question of how to continue after the goal is met).

  89. Hi James,

    Thanks for such an amazing article. Its crisp, precise and very easy to understand. I want to read more of you in coming days too.

    Best wishes of new year and a very healthy life.

  90. I love this article, very much helpful, hope to get your books here in Nigeria as I set out to look for it.

    Thanks and God bless you.

  91. Hi James,

    This is a great post and serves as a powerful reminder that, completing the goal, not the process to the there, is at the front of my mind constantly. In the past year I have written six books…oh, and all of them are half completed. When I got bored or hit a wall with the writing, I started a new one. I always [felt] that boredom was a cue to move onto something else. and then something else. Eventually a person’s workspace becomes a “graveyard” for unfinished projects and discarded goals from past resolutions and dreams that never made it past the first few stages. Will definitely try to correct this and stay focused on the “process.” A great reminder!

  92. Thanks for this, James. Most of success is made from just regularly showing up whether you feel like it or not. Forming habits that if not completed it would seem strange.

    This year I have a mini habit of writing 100 words each day. Its great! I have lots of blogposts semi ready and starting to write an e-book.

    Thanks for your encouraging posts.

  93. LOVE THIS!

    I think, also, it comes down to what you have suggested in past blogs: Do a little bit every day. If you feel bored, just START doing whatever you need to do. If you do a little, it’s OK. But usually you will end up doing more than you expected you’d do! That’s the magic!

  94. Thank you James. Very sound advice!

    I had failed at achieving a couple goals in the past ’till I stuck to a weekly schedule and now I am seeing very good results. It does get boring but the results I have seen so far are very motivating.

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