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Motivation Matters

Motivation is the desire to do something. It is the definitive element between success and failure when it comes to achieving goals. The reason and the purpose of your goal is your motivation but why are some people more motivated than others?

We all have dreams and ambitions but why do some people like entrepreneurs, politicians and professional athletes have endless self motivation whilst others cannot seem to find the drive to anything more that what is required to survive?

Self motivation is the difference between surviving your world and shaping it!

Motivation is a fickle beast, it ebbs and flows, sometimes it is really easy to motivate ourselves and get really excited and other times is seems impossible to drum up the enthusiasm and you become trapped in a downward spiral of procrastination.

I love the quote by the author Steven Pressfield

“At some point the pain of not doing it becomes greater that the pain of doing it!”

In other words we get to a point where it the balance tips and the fear of walking into a gym becomes less that the fear of the continuing slippery slope of self loathing. We cross a mental threshold when we know that taking action is better than doing nothing!

The strange thing about motivation is that it usually occurs as the result of taking action and is not the cause itself. The laws of physics say that objects in motion tend stay in motion, so when we start a new behaviour it is much easier to keep it going. Most of the resistance we feel is to get started in the first place!

Many people struggle to get started because they focus on the sacrifices they have to make instead of the outcome.

“The secret to change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old but building the new”

Regardless of your goal if you don’t set a time and place for it to happen this allows for procrastination and is less likely to happen, once you commit to a schedule you reduce the need for motivation.

Create a ritual around your goal, the best athletes use this technique to motivate themselves and this very quickly becomes a subconscious trigger for the desired behaviour. For example if your goal is to get up in the morning and go to the gym before work, set a time to get up, have your clothes ready and get dressed, prepare your breakfast, have a coffee, pack your bag and leave for the gym. Mentally rehearse the ritual the night before and before you know it these behaviours become automated and you do them simply without thinking. No motivation required!

Rituals can be applied to any behaviour, for example if you want to sleep better, create a bed time routine that allows some wind down time, if you want to reduce stress create a 5 minute slot in your day to read, listen to music or meditate.

The power of the ritual is it becomes a mindless automatic cue to your brain to initiate the desired behaviour, it removes the need to make a decision, no more procrastination, and lack of motivation is no longer an issue.

The golden rule with staying motivated in the long term is to make you goals achievable, too easy and your become bored, too hard and it feels insurmountable. Goals that are challenging yet achievable are incredibly motivating to the human brain. There is nothing more rewarding than accomplishing a goal that is just beyond our current horizon.

If you find your motivation for a task drifting away either the task has become boring or the goal is just too far in the distance. At these moments we might find our internal chatter saying things a like ‘this is pointless’ ‘I am too tired’ ‘you may as well give up’. Each and every thought we have is received as instruction to our subconscious mind. We have the power to change the internal voice, we don’t have to listen to it and more importantly we can change it! You can choose to search for alternative suggestions like ‘I will feel great when this is finished’ or ‘I can do it’

You don’t have to be great to start you have to start to be great!

I wonder what you can do when you stop holding yourself back.