Why “Inspirational Quotes” Don’t work

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As is the beginning of every new year, we’ve all been suffering through countless inspirational posts, photos, and quotes throughout our social spheres over the past week or so. (I’m guilty of posting at least one or two, as well.)

But as I was going through my network last night, I realized something shocking, something that goes against the helpful reasoning everyone uses when they post those little inspirations. It made me think, and here’s what I figured out:

Those inspirational posts simply won’t help you to truly reach your goals.

See, every single one of those posts tells you what you can do down the road if you just start doing it now. You know what I mean – “You won’t get the ass you want in six months by sitting on it today!” Or, “when you go to lunch, ask yourself if what you want to order will look good on you in June.” You know what I mean. All these well-meaning inspirations are based on the logic that says you’ll think about them every day for the next six months until you see results.

Every. Day. For the next. Six. Months. The awesome inspirational goals you read today will carry you through the next six months!

Except… No.

Here’s the major flaw: Inspirational quotes are designed to motivate immediately, and for a defined time. A quarter. A turn at bat. A 3rd down. No inspirational quote, no matter how amazing it sounds when you hear it, no matter what awesome person said it, can fuel you day in and day out without fail for six months by itself.

So I offer you this: A simple concept that doesn’t sound super-quotable, and won’t be shared on Facebook a hundred thousand times, and won’t be copied and pasted in front of some landscape background. It’s just this:

Do today, what you know you can do again tomorrow.

That’s it. Whatever you want in six months, whether it’s a flat ass or a flat stomach, whether it’s more confidence to speak in public or more knowledge of Medieval architecture, you’ll get it by repetition. So do today what you know you can do tomorrow.

See, here’s why this works better than an inspirational quote: Repetition, in a shorter amount of time than you think, will make you want to do MORE today because you’ll know you’ve reached a point where you CAN do more tomorrow. And so on, and so on. And before you know it, it actually WILL be six months, and you’ll really be where you wanted to be six months ago!

Example: Want to do 100 pushups each morning? An inspirational quote will rev you up the first day, and you’ll do 20, maybe 25. Awesome! But the next day, and the day after that, you’ll be sore and hurting like hell, and the quote won’t have that same inspirational power it did three days ago, if it’s even remembered at all. Two weeks later, your goal, along with that quote, is a bad memory. BUT: Let’s say you KNOW you can do seven pushups tomorrow morning. Well then, that’s what you do today. And the next day, you’re not hurting, so you do seven again. And three days later, you’ll know you can do eight. Before you know it, it’s six months later, and you haven’t missed one day, and are doing 100 or more pushups each morning!

Nothing succeeds like success.

Inspirational quotes, while motivational in theory, don’t work because what you truly want never comes immediately. What you truly want always takes time, and repetition makes the best use of that time. No, it won’t happen overnight. Nothing truly awesome ever does. But it will happen. Remember this: Over time, repetition is what wears down the boulder and builds the mighty river. Sure, inspirational quotes sound better at first. But they fade. Repetition and your resulting growth from it, will stay with you forever.

Go get it.

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