We can all struggle for motivation at times. We know that we are not happy with our current circumstances but either don’t know what to do, how to do it or how to get started.
Are you the sort of person who says things like:
‘I know what I need to do but I just can’t get going.’
‘I often start doing something but then lose focus and concentration.’
‘I just can’t be bothered.’
Then continue reading this article to learn about motivation and how to ‘make it happen.’
Motivation is usually a combination of:
What motivates your partner or best friend is NOT necessarily going to motivate you. You need to be self-aware, understand what works for you and then put it into practice. Creating self-motivation is about lighting up our imagination through our 5 main senses (see, hear, feel, taste, smell) so that we can imagine something positive that we want to have in our lives, such as looking better or feeling fitter.
There are 6 main types of motivation:
Rewards / Incentives: “I want to get (a specific reward), so I’m going to …”
Fear of Consequences: “I want to avoid (a bad thing), so I’m going to …”
Achievement: “I want to achieve (milestone, award, recognition), so I’m going to …”
Growth: “I want to continually improve, progress, grow, so I’m going to …”
Power: “I want to feel strong, powerful and influential, so I’m going to …”
Social Factors: “I want to feel a sense of belonging like I am part of a group, a team or community, so I’m going to …”
Identify which of the above motivators apply to you, then use that self-awareness to focus your energy, actions and behaviours. Commit to a goal that fits your preferred motivation type, otherwise, it will feel very difficult to make it happen. You will be trying to ‘make’ yourself feel motivated and will therefore probably quit or fail to even begin.
If something is having a negative influence on your life, then it is YOUR problem, regardless of whoever or whatever is causing it.
This is often easier said than done, but when you can learn to ‘take responsibility’ and accept that the onus is on you, then you can improve your situation, and often solve problems completely.
We can be an expert in our problems, which seldom helps, or an expert in the solution, which is much more positive. The quicker you can ‘take responsibility’, the quicker you move forward. There is always something that can be done, even though it may be difficult and challenging to do so.
Take action. Move forward one step at a time. A series of steps becomes a journey, which will eventually lead to a destination.
Inspiration leads people to take action.
Motivation comes from within, but it is often inspired by an external source. That inspiration may come from a range of activities, such as music, art or dance. It may also come from someone else’s story, an inspirational quote or visiting a particularly uplifting location.
Most of us seek inspiration at various times and we know what it feels like when we find it. However, sometimes we can also struggle to find or maintain inspiration. It is important to identify what works for you and to then make sure you keep it in your life. Strengthen your self-awareness by asking yourself what, where, when or who inspires you?
We can also inspire ourselves if we stop and think about what motivates and enthuses us; be that family, friends, self-fulfilment, or the acquisition of material possessions. Once we make progress and experience the benefit of the changes, that also becomes inspiring and motivating. We see, hear and feel the difference. Then we want more of it, as success breeds success and we go from strength to strength.
What gives you the energy to get moving and make things happen?
What leads you to take action?
Hold on to that thought so that, whenever you need inspiration, you know where to find it.
‘People with Goals succeed because they know where they are going’ – Sir Edmund Hillary
Make your Goals positive rather than negative, eg ‘I will wear smaller-sized clothes and be able to enjoy a good walk,’ is more positive than saying ‘I want to lose weight’ or ‘I will stop smoking’.
The more focused and specific you are with your Goals the better, for example, saying, ‘I will do a brisk 30-minute walk every day, regardless of the weather’ is stronger than saying ‘I will try to go for a walk more often.’
Tap into your feelings and emotions so that you can really identify with the benefits; for example, knowing that improving your physical health and fitness will also improve your mental wellbeing, lift your self-esteem and help to improve personal relationships. It will also help you to feel proud, happy, calm and relaxed.
A lot of this is connected with your unconscious mind. If, for instance, you’ve not been doing much exercise and suddenly want to do a lot more, the unconscious mind will see that as a perceived ‘threat’ and may try to stop you. You, therefore, need to train the unconscious mind to recognise that the changes are not a threat but something you really need and want to do.
Be self-aware and take responsibility for your own motivation. We are all individuals and are motivated by different factors, such as achievement, growth and reward. Find out what works for you and use that to create motivation.
Take control of your thinking, refuse to be a victim. Recognise and understand what is happening, then take action.
Be careful what you say because you are the one who is always listening. Keep talking positively to yourself and others. You are training your unconscious mind.
Make your Goals positive. Move towards something you want rather than away from something you don’t want.
Light up your imagination. Use all your senses to create a compelling vision of what you are moving towards.
Connect with your emotions and feelings. Identify the benefits for yourself and others.
Keep going until you build new habits. Your body will release chemicals that will improve your wellbeing, eg Serotonin, Dopamine and Endorphins. In time, your mind and body will look for those rewards and encourage you to act. It will become a natural part of you.
Brian Tregunna is a highly-acclaimed Life Coach, therapist, trainer, mentor and facilitator. He works with individuals, groups and organisations to help people achieve their full potential.
He regularly helps people to address a wide range of challenges, including mental wellbeing, motivation, workplace performance, business development, career progression, gaining employment, health & fitness, personal relationships, public speaking, time management and much more.