Motivation is one of the most important keys to success.
First, let’s define what motivation is.
What is motivation?
According to Dictionary.com motivation is a noun meaning:
1. The act or an instance of motivating or providing with a reason to act in a certain way.
2. The state or condition of being motivated or having a strong reason to act or accomplish something.
3. Something that motivates; inducement; incentive (Dictionary.com).
Business Dictionary has a slightly different meaning:
Internal and external factors that stimulate desire and energy in people to be continually interested and committed to a job, role or subject, or to make an effort to attain a goal. Motivation results from the interaction of both conscious and unconscious factors such as the (1) intensity of desire or need, (2) incentive or reward value of the goal, and (3) expectations of the individual and of his or her peers. These factors are the reasons one has for behaving a certain way. An example is a student that spends extra time studying for a test because he or she wants a better grade in the class (BusinessDictionary.com).
So now you know what motivation is. That's all well and good - but now what?
One of the common issues I see my clients struggle with is that they may know what they need to do, but they aren't motivated to do it.
They have a goal, for example weight loss, but even though they start off great, at some point they give up and stop.
Maybe they eat too much at dinner one week into their diet, and then that’s it – they throw in the towel.
Pay attention to when your motivation wanes. Often when you start at the beginning, you don’t lack the motivation. You lose motivation generally a little past when you start up – like a week into your diet and exercise plan.
Or, for example, New Year’s resolutions. You start off great, you’re motivated, then you just drift off until next year rolls around. You’re not going to reach success in any area of your life if you follow this pattern.
Being motivated to go for your goals and reach them helps you succeed.
Staying motivated is key – otherwise going for your goals can over time become a pattern of starting then stopping. Then you really lose motivation! You start to unconsciously believe you can’t rely on yourself because those commitments/goals you’ve set for yourself don’t come to fruition. You give up.
Being motivated starts with your thoughts.
“I’m going to do this! I want to feel great about myself and my health. I want to have the energy to keep up with my kids/grandkids! I want to feel the satisfaction of knowing I am doing everything in my power to be my best healthy self. I want to eat healthy and exercise because I care about and love myself.”
Then, your thoughts lead to your actions.
Let’s say you eat a piece of cake. It’s holiday time and there’s so many yummy desserts that you can’t resist.
“I ate a piece of cake. It’s difficult to say no this time of year. Okay, I did it, I don’t want to beat myself up over it. I’m not going to quit over this piece of cake. This is too important to me. I am taking my power back and I know that my end goal is to be healthy – and happy. I won’t be happy if I give in again to a moment of temptation. A moment of my discomfort – of having to look at that piece of cake – is not worth longer moments of discomfort of me not being healthy and at a healthy weight for me.”
That momentary discomfort is not worth a longer period of discomfort. We’re not used to discomfort. We are a nation that wants it now. Delayed gratification sounds like punishment. And, if your thoughts are aligned with this notion of punishment, guess what? Your motivation isn’t going to last.
The thing is, you don’t have to listen to all your thoughts in your head. Some of them are empowering you and some of them are discouraging you – those are the life- limiters. Which ones do you choose to listen to?
Your thoughts lead to actions which lead to your results.
If you think you aren’t successful in life, then go back to your thoughts. You have the power to choose what you are thinking.
You know this already, but it bears repeating:
Accomplishing goals and checking things off your to-do list is very gratifying.
In fact, they’ve done research showing that your brain releases feel-good hormones when you check things off lists and accomplish tasks and goals.
This is similar to exercise. It’s a challenge getting through a tough workout, but in the end there’s an endorphin release from your brain. You feel amazing! That’s a great example of a thought and feeling you need to hook onto when you’re not feeling motivated to exercise. The end result – when you’re tired from a workout but it was exhilarating because YOU DID IT! AWESOME!
Six weeks after your first workout and regularly working out, you’ll really notice the difference. In the beginning, workouts don’t feel like they’re doing much. In fact, you’re likely sore. It’s hard to stay motivated to workout when you don’t see the results right away. The pay-off isn’t immediate.
Here are some tips on how to get motivated:
- Have a big enough "why" - a compelling reason - to be motivated.
- Schedule a time to do it – so that the tasks become part of a ritual. Your mind and thoughts become more accustomed to your habit. When you establish a habit, it will become easier to tune out your unmotivated thoughts and behaviors.
- Make your tasks fun. You'll begin to equate the steps to accomplish your goal to a positive state of mind.
- Recognize your thoughts that are trying to talk yourself out of the tasks are just thoughts. You don't have to listen to all the thoughts in your head.
- Make sure your goals are in alignment with what you truly want. If they aren’t congruent to you and your values, you are going to have difficulty reaching them.
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