I often hear people say that their biggest issue in achieving their goals is a lack of motivation. What they truly mean, however, is that they lack the ‘right’ kind of motivation. Let me explain this…
What is motivation in the first place? It is a combination of internal and external factors that drive and direct our thoughts, behavior and actions. If our motivation comes from the inside, we usually do something out of pleasure, importance or desire. Or we can be motivated to act, because external factors compel us to do so.
As you see, no matter what you do or do not do motivation is always there. The real question you have to ask yourself is not if you lack motivation, but where your motivation comes from. You can either be motivated by your desires, goals, positive beliefs or you can be motivated by the urge to avoid unpleasant situations and pain.
In the first case your motivation comes from within, in the second it is influenced by outer circumstances. If you are not motivated by success, you will definitely be motivated by the fear of failure. If you do not strive to achieve financial freedom, you will most likely do anything in your power to escape poverty and hunger. If you are not motivated to lead a healthy lifestyle, your energy will be directed towards avoiding illness and physical pain.
The only difference is in your focus. You can either stay focused on achieving positive results by acting proactively, or you can concentrate your efforts on avoiding negative experiences by reacting to the problems that can not be ignored any longer.
Becoming more successful, determined, productive and proactive does not have to be expensive, difficult or timely. All you have to do is to increase your inner motivation and sense of control and decrease the influence of external factors on your life.
Here is the easiest way to do it:
1. Choose the right goal for yourself. If your goal is in contrast with your inner values and beliefs all of your physical and mental efforts will be directed to prevent you from achieving it. Nothing kills your motivation faster than the wrongly chosen goal.
It does make sense. Why would we pursue something that we do not want or do not believe is possible in the first place? This is why you should make sure that your goals are realistic and not too difficult to achieve. If the goal requires too much mental and physical effort it stands a very high chance of being left unaccomplished. On the other hand, goals that are perceived as too easy do not give us satisfaction or a sense of accomplishment, which is why there is really no point in pursuing them.
2. Develop an action plan. Break your big goal into smaller easy-to-do tasks. I am sure that you have heard this advice before, but you may still be reluctant to do it, because it just sounds hard and, well let’s face it, boring. Planning how to achieve your goal is not the same as planning your vacation to Hawaii. I realize that. However, planning is absolutely crucial to keep your level of motivation high, because it helps you to monitor your progress and makes your goal seem much more do-able. Besides, if you want to get specific results, you have to give your mind specific instructions, otherwise you might not get the results that you hoped for.
3. Keep your focus on rewards. When a certain activity or a task gets a little tough, our mind immediately starts looking for long-term disadvantages and excuses to avoid getting it done. As soon as this happens our motivation starts to disappear. If you want to immediately boost your motivation, reward yourself for every little task that you have completed. Think of all the benefits that you can get from achieving your goal. Imagine how your life will become more joyful, satisfying, and easy. Soon your positive thoughts about the rewards will replace negative emotions connected with the challenging or tiresome task.
4. Make it fun! What is the one thing in the world that is not fun? Hard work! No one wants to put extra effort in a task that they do not like doing. It is absolutely normal. Work is most enjoyable when it does not feel like work. When you develop an action plan, think of how you can make your action steps seem fun. For example, if your goal is to get in shape, do not force yourself to run a mile every day. How motivating is that?! Instead get creative! Ride a bike, go to the swimming pool, take dancing lessons or go hiking with your friends. Mix it up and soon you will discover that you work on your goal, because you want to, not because you have to!
5. Start with something simple. Do not make the huge mistake of putting on yourself unrealistic expectations. It is impossible to change your lifestyle, habits and inner beliefs overnight. Keep the ‘big picture in mind’, but start with something small and easy to complete in 10-15 minutes. This will allow you to see immediate results of your efforts and boost your motivation to continue.
6. Learn something new about your goal. Before we can motivate ourselves to achieve anything we have to answer two questions: WHY it is important to us and WHAT needs to be done? The Internet is a great place to look for information, useful tips, advice, moral support and success stories.
For example, we all know that smoking is bad for the health (it is written on every cigarette pack), and yet 47.1 million people in Unites States alone continue to smoke. If you have tried to quite smoking in the past, you know how hard is it to stay motivated, when all you can think about is how much you want to smoke. When you feel like you are on the verge of giving up on your goal, look for additional reasons to stick to it. Search for long-term benefits of a smoke-free life. Read what doctors have to say about smoking. Go to the forums dedicated to this topic and ask other people about their experience. Chat with someone who has quit smoking. All this will help you to boost your motivation.
7. Change your perspective. Research has shown that changing your perspective from the first person “I’ to the third person “he”/”she” when recalling past achievements helps to increase motivation and more objectively evaluate your progress.
Try these simple tips and see how your inner motivation increases instantly.