How to get and stay motivated.
Motivation is one of the most talked about subjects in personal effectiveness so you shouldn't have any trouble staying motivated right? Well, you'll probably know that that isn't reality. In reality, we all struggle with motivation sometimes but there are things we can do to keep motivated. In this article, I am going dive into the science of getting motivated and I am going to give you a few tips on how to stay motivated.
Motivation versus discipline
Before we start let's look at an age-old dilemma, motivation versus discipline. When my clients don't do what they know they should be doing, I always ask them why they think they are unable to follow through on their promises. Most often they'll respond with something along the line of:
I should just have more discipline.
And I always tell them the same thing:
That was not what I was asking.
And that is a lazy answer/solution to the problem.
Why lazy? Because by giving this answer, they do not have to think about the reasons why they haven't done what they were supposed to do. They are unknowingly avoiding asking the hard question. But in truth and the solution lie in asking the hard question.
At the heart of it, they are not motivated enough so the solution is to uncover what motivates them and leverage that motivation.
To know how to do this, I am going to familiarize you with the whole spectrum that leads to having motivation and discipline, because in reality, you go through a few phases before you get moving.
The trinity of motivation.
When we look closely at how we get motivation we can find three different aspects that contribute to us feeling motivated. In fact, if you were to put them on a timeline you would see that one can lead to the others. These are:
Inspiration is what gets enthusiastic
Motivation is what gets you moving
Discipline is the thing that makes you follow through.
To know how to get yourself motivated and stay motivated, you, therefore, have to know all three of them. Let's look at inspiration first.
The word "inspiration" comes from the Latin word "inspirare," which means "to breathe into." This conveys the sense that inspiration is something that is breathed into us, as if by a divine or creative force. Isn't that exactly how it feels when you feel inspired? It feels like something triggered a powerful energy inside of you and suddenly you feel inspired to move, to spring into action. It is like something divine was breathed into you.
The word inspiration is also sometimes explained as "To be in spirit" as in "to be in connection with something divine". I don't know about you but when I first heard this, it kind of resonated.
When we are inspired it feels like something is being infused into us, giving us a sense of energy, motivation, and direction.
So how do you get inspired?
Usually, this starts with something outside of you. You listen to something, you watch something or you hear or read something which lights a fire inside of you. So if this is true then the solution is very simple, right?
Exposing yourself to as many things that can inspire you means increasing the odds of getting inspired.
These are a few of daily habits to get inspired.
I start the day by listening to a short cast or watching a Short on Youtube.
I'll read an autobiography or a life story by someone I admire.
I schedule coffee dates or lunch meetings with people that inspire me
I join meetups about topics that inspire me or where people go that inspire me.
I'll go for a walk outside.
You see, there are things that you can actively do to get inspired. And inspired state is something you can get yourself into.
But inspiration doesn't necessarily mean that you are motivated to act on it. For this, you will need something else.
You'll need a reason to want it or as Simon Sinek puts it, you need to find "your why."
Just like with inspiration the origins of the word "motivation" gives us a clue as to why it's so important. The word "motivation" is derived from the Latin word "motus" which means "movement, motion" and "motivus" which means "moving, causing motion". It refers to the internal or external factors that drive an individual to take action or engage in certain behavior. And it is in this definition wherein lies the clue.
Inspiration will turn you on but motivation is what gets you moving. It is the force that moves us to do things.
How to get motivated.
You have to find a compelling reason and make this top of mind. You have to find "your why"
As you now know, you can get motivated by external or internal factors. We call this extrinsic or intrinsic motivation. An example of extrinsic motivation is a monetary reward or compensation. An example of intrinsic motivation is feeling a certain way when something is done. This might also be the biggest clue that I can give you about how to get intrinsically motivated. Find out why you want to achieve something AND how you will feel when you have achieved this. This visualization will get you motivated from the inside because you imagine the outcome and you have charged it with emotional energy. This is what gets us moving.
The underlying mechanisms remain the same, we still expect to be rewarded in some way but instead of focusing on something external, we focus on deeper reasons for doing something. In the end, we all want to same way: To feel good.
Here are a few tips to stay motivated
So now you know how to get motivated but how do you stay motivated? Here are a few tips.
Regularly revisit your goals. Think about why you want to accomplish them, how they are going to make you feel or what it is going to mean to your quality of life. What also might help is to think of what kind of person it will make you into. This fuels your intrinsic motivation.
Follow the fun and celebrate Do the things that make you truly happy. I am not talking about the fleeting, superficial kind of happiness, but more about those soul-enriching feelings of fulfillment. So do both. Celebrate your big and small wins with something you love to do but also do things you love on the way to achieving your goals. This will keep you motivated and will make sure you don't sacrifice your happiness for achieving something in the future. The road towards your goal needs to be in itself part of the reward.
Be flexible. You will "fail",
You will run into a wall now and then
Those are inevitable parts of life.
So be flexible, and bend with the winds so that you don't break. Sometimes, you have to get knocked to the ground so that you can rise up stronger. But always get back up and don't be afraid to re-examine your goals. Sometimes, your initial goals turn out not to be your real goals.
Adopt a long-term vision You are in this thing called life for the long haul so be mindful of this fact. High Performers know that there is a cycle to all things, also your energy, creativity, and productivity. Learn to recognize these cycles and ride them.
Habits and routines are the vehicles to long term success
In High Performance Life Coaching we always focus on creating sustainable results and the vehicle to do this are habits and routines.
Habits and routines are the vehicles that make dreams come true. They act like frameworks for the tiny steps and actions that you need to take every day to make your dreams come true. Think of it like this:
First, you identify the goal that you are pursuing.
Next, you need to think about what actions will get you there. But knowing what to do won't get you there so now you need a way to CONSISTENTLY do them. You need to systemize the process in some kind of way.
The vehicle to systemize behavior is to create a routine around them.
This routine will ensure that you do them consistently until they have become a habit
But where does discipline comes into play?
As you can see I say a word about discipline so far. That is because I think discipline is a by-product of having a strong "why", a strong motivation. If you can't bring yourself to do something, the answer is not to have more discipline. The question might be: Are you motivated enough?
Therefore, when you feel you cannot bring yourself to do that thing that you want to do, go back and review and strengthen your motivation. Read here how to leverage your motivation by using Push and Pull motivation.
In conclusion, motivation is a key factor in personal effectiveness and can be a challenge to maintain. By understanding the trinity of motivation, which includes inspiration, motivation, and discipline, we can learn how to stay motivated. Inspiration is what gets us enthusiastic, motivation is what gets us moving, and discipline is what helps us follow through. To stay motivated, we must find our "why" and make it top of mind. Additionally, we can actively seek out inspiration by exposing ourselves to things that inspire us, and we can get motivated by both external and internal factors. By understanding these concepts and taking action to implement them, we can improve our ability to stay motivated and achieve our goals.