I want to preface this by reminding everyone that this is a blog, and as such is inherently biased by my opinions and life experience. I am not a doctor. Also, the following is generally in reference to healthy, able-bodied people who don’t suffer from disabilities or chronic illnesses.
I believe that motivation becomes much less important when one cultivates the quality of self-knowledge and the skill of organization.
Motivation is kind of a fluffy word and to me it conjures the idea of mental luck instead of the quality of mental endurance or toughness. I have often thought to myself, “I’ll be able to get this done only if I can muster up the motivation.”
If you know yourself and you organize your schedule or routine to play to your strengths, you will much less often feel the need to call upon the often-fickle "motivation".
If you want to cultivate a new good habit, I strongly believe that you should start by knowing how many hours of sleep that you need per night and protecting those hours of sleep by any means necessary.
Secondly, learn how much water your body needs to function at its optimal level and do anything possible to get that water into your system.
Thirdly, learn what foods your body needs, in what amounts and on what schedule. In the past year or two, I have come to realize that somewhere around 75 to 80% of my bad moods, lack of motivation or illnesses have been due to a lack of properly minding these three essentials.
Our culture these days is heavily obsessed with productivity and yet I don't think people understand what their bodies and minds need to be productive. We spend less time moving our bodies, more time inside, less time speaking to others and more time staring at screens. Anxiety in North America is at an all-time high from what I understand, and my guess would be that there is probably a noticeable correlation between that and our caffeine consumption.
People (myself included) are hard on themselves because they aren't productive enough, or they feel that they lack motivation, but their bodies and minds often aren't having their basic needs met on a daily basis.
Sleep, water and food sound ridiculously simple, I know. But for many people, due to their work schedules or other variables, it can take an immense amount of effort and planning to make sure that they can accomplish these things with any kind of regularity.
More on this another day…