May 1, 2011
Rev Up Your Motivational Horsepower
Getting Yourself To Do Whatever You Need To Do
Once you find good reasons why you want to get something done, and detail the reason and fire up energy for it, you’ll get more done, more quickly.
The Faces of Motivation
It’s easier to get something done when you like the activity or when there’s an intensity behind the reason to it. It’s the stuff that you don’t like or is difficult and takes patience that is harder to get done, like pesky paperwork, giving a talk, making a call, registering a complaint, or going to the gym. To get yourself to do just about anything, you absolutely must have a reason as your motivation. You don’t have to “feel like it,” which is a pleasant kind of motivation.
Motivation can also be seen as either passion or duty. Having a passion to achieve something is a motivation that overcomes obstacles and persists onward. When there’s a duty or a “have-to” behind a goal or activity, it’s often more difficult to keep yourself going. You feel like you’re dragging along.
What Gets Us Tired
Sometimes good reasons and strength of passion can weaken or fizzle when we meet obstacles or see a long road ahead. It takes lots of motivation to finish school, get trained for a special profession, get physically fit and healthy, forge a great relationship, manage your stress, and communicate effectively. You can get tired or lose your way by:
- Losing Focus. You are distracted. You don’t keep “your eye on the ball.”
- Getting Discouraged. You get rejected or turned down. You encounter a logistical or relational roadblock.
- Not Liking It. The activity or step is distasteful or unpleasant for you.
- Losing “Fire.” The initial energy, fire, or passion has died down.
Ways to Rev Up
Get your motivation revved up again by using some of some approaches that will strengthen your reason and your passion.
- Purpose. Find a clear purpose, and you’ll have a good reason. For instance, it’s good to listen better for the purpose of having a much better relationship with your partner.
- Focus on the Outcome. The end result is your reward or satisfaction. Get a clear picture of your success.
- Focus on Your Beneficiaries. Besides you, who will benefit from your dedication? Your spouse, children, friends, community?
- Focus on the Task. Do the specific thing you have to do, and do it with attention and “presence.” Live the moment well by doing well.
- Be Responsible. Figure out what’s the right thing to do. Tell yourself, “I am a responsible person.”
Begin With Two Reasons
You can do most anything if you have a strong reason to do it. When you slow down or get stuck, sit yourself down and write two good reasons for the thing you want to do, whether big or small. What are the reasons, for instance, for you to exercise regularly? To feel good? To look good? To go places or visit people? Feel the satisfaction by picturing a good outcome.
Start the Activity
Once you engage the “easy magic” of just starting—just beginning a task or activity—you will find yourself moving along, feeling better, and being more hopeful. Each move or small activity is a success in itself, and when you see it that way, you’ll make faster progress than you have before. So, just get your gym clothes on as a start to go to the gym. Just read a paragraph or article on listening better as a start to engage your partner. Or time yourself for 15 minutes to start studying or to begin a home project.
Here are three practical things to do to rev up your motivation:
1st List a few things you’ve been meaning to do but don’t get done. Next to each one, lists your reasons to finish, then give them a 1 to 10 intensity score.
2nd Start with one listed item, and ask what’s missing. Is the reason a good one, a weak one, or one with low fervor behind it? Either change the reason, or pick a strategy above to put some fire under the reason.
3rd Get started. Take a step, even a very small step, then a couple more. This “magical” strategy will help you clarify or intensify your motivation. Schedule it!