Do you have a project or a goal sitting in front of you? Are you struggling to finish it? Are you easily distracted? YOU are NOT alone! Start asking yourself some simple questions. What is it that gets you out of bed in the morning? What motivates you for your current path?
What is Motivation?
Motivation can be defined as an act or process of giving someone a reason for doing something. There are Internal and external factors that stimulate desire and energy in people to be continually interested and committed to a job, role, process, family, etc. But, real motivation comes from within. How do you get that? Here are three components to help you see where motivation comes from.
As humans, we are motivated by our basic desires of survival; food, water, warmth, rest, security and safety. Once the basics are in place, we become motivated by our values. Values help anchor us, keep us focused on the path. What are your values? Love, money, freedom, family, work, play, athletics, sleep, wellbeing, good food, religion, you, education, contentment, joy, serenity, time, shiny objects, children, philanthropy, clean water, protecting the environment…?
Write down YOUR values. Not the ones you learned as a kid, but yours. Does your current life demonstrate your values? Are you content with your current life and the values that it does show? Do you need to reevaluate your values? Maybe there are some values you haven’t listed because they seem selfish?
Are YOU one of your values? Do you value you and your happiness?
Motivation is also sustained by using our Character Strengths. Those qualities unique to you, when used appropriately make you come alive! When your values match your strengths, it’s a win win situation. When your day includes you using your strengths, you probably say, “Wow, that was a great day!” You may not have noticed what made it great, until you stopped to reflect on your day. Values and strengths are the core of motivation. Now, let’s talk about some other tools for motivation…
How do you speak to yourself? Are you kind and loving to you on a daily basis? And when things get tough, when life’s got you down, how to you talk to yourself? Negative self talk will send you spiraling into a tailspin of unworthiness, not good enough and generally slow or halt whatever progress you have made. So, do you have a strategy of support when life is hard? If your best friend were struggling, how would you respond? Can you be that loving to yourself? This is important. Start now, noticing three things you do well every day. Keep a special notebook just for this. Write them down. At the end of the week, read them. Wow! did you know you were so amazing?
How To Stay The Path
Now that you have your values, strengths and positivity in place, start noticing your thoughts. Are your thoughts lining up with your values, your strengths and most importantly, are those thoughts aligned with your actions? Pay attention. And reassess at the end of the week. See what’s working and what is not working. Can you see what and or where you got derailed?
Make a goal sheet. Draw a ladder. Write the goal at the top. Then write down actions you need to perform on each ladder rung. Now write down the baby steps you need to take between each ladder rung. Make a list for the week of your baby steps you need to take. Give yourself 15-30mins each day to take your action…revise your list every week. And remember the positivity. Pat yourself on the back when you accomplish each step. Also, write down how you feel after you complete a baby step and review your action steps every week so you see your successes…meditate over how you feel. When it feels good, the body releases dopamine which makes us want to do it again!
Act as if you are already there. You’ve heard of fake it till you make it? Well this is similar. Imagine what it feels like to have completed the 5K. Act like you are a successful runner. Dress the part. Feel in your mind and body how terrific it feels to have completed a 5k in the time you wanted with energy to spare. Keep that image in your mind when you are practicing.
When you have a goal, getting to the end is not about willpower; its about purpose. Why do you want the goal you have in mind? How meaningful is it to you? It goes back to your values and strengths. Is it all aligned? If not, consider a different goal.
Meditate Daily. Do you have a meditation practice to keep you grounded and focused? This is really important because when it comes to change, meditation is how we change the neural pathways in the brain. Your brain is plastic, meaning, you can change behavior, thoughts etc while eliminating the old patterns. It takes practice and focus. Meditation is the easiest way I know to make changes in the brain, decrease the stress response, activate feel good hormones and neurotransmitters, calm your mind, help you see that with a calm mind, you have a lot more control than you ever realized.
Athletes use imagery as they prepare for an event, imagining the event before them, every step they will take, how they will feel, what they will do…manifesting a win… You can do this too. Imagining yourself with your goal completed, how you feel, what your life looks like, how those around you will respond…This is part of the “acting as if you are already there” but this takes it one step further, but actually doing an imagery meditation to see, feel yourself there and letting your mind and thoughts feel it too.
other forms of meditation that support you…journaling, breath work, yoga, gratitude, noting small successes each day..
Friendly reminders. Enlist a friend or family member to give you friendly reminders and encouragement each week or daily depending on your needs. Have them send you texts or emails to lovingly remind you of your goal. And make sure they will follow up and say, “How’d it go today?”
Hire a coach and or a mentor to help you, keep you on the path. Sometimes, having an objective party in the mix is best, someone who is not emotionally attached to the outcome can help you see what is blocking your path forward, point out your own self sabotage and not lose a relationship over it.
So, if you, like me, are easily distracted, but really want to achieve your goal, start by adopting a few of those type A personality behaviors…writing things down, checking in on yourself and enlisting support where you need it. No One ever completed a goal without help. Use your strengths and ask for help where you need it. You’ll have a lot more enjoyment from the goal if you get others in on it and the celebration will be that much sweeter.
Here’s to your health & wellbeing!