Merriam-Webster dictionary defines motivation as, “the act or process of motivating.” They define motive as, “something (such as a need or desire) that causes a person to act.” I don’t know about you, but sometimes my motivation goes into hiding. It’s not entirely clear where it hides out or how far down it has dug itself, but it is sure a bit tricky to uncover in those times. Has that ever happened to you? In an effort to figure out this whole motivation thing and perhaps even find where it hides when its not with me I decide to do some digging into the subject.
Turns out that motivation stems off of feelings. And from that I learned that feelings and thoughts are closely intertwined. We know that feelings are pretty universal to the human condition. And while I will disagree slightly with the likes of many, feelings aren’t facts. They may appear that way to us and indeed we frequently need to treat them as personal facts but they aren’t hard core facts.
Thoughts are those passing “talking in my head” things we experience most of the time. We also believe these thoughts to be truthful and accurate, which oftentimes they are not. But here’s the interesting part: when we have competing feelings and thoughts it’s almost always that the feelings rule the day. Translation? Without a great deal of practice and experience it is really hard to over-ride our natural desire to give all the creditability to our feelings. When we’re talking about finding motivation, holding onto it, we need to know this bit of science; our brains naturally believe feelings are telling us more of the truth than thoughts.
So, how do we use this information to help us find and hold onto motivation? We start by beginning to think about what feelings we’d like to have more of. If we want to feel more financially stable, feel more comfortable when we look at our bank statements, then we start with that feeling. I would call that ease or pride or safe or perhaps for you it is freedom. Whatever the feelings are start there, identify that first.
Next, find the positive and stay there. Positive feelings attract more positive feelings. The better we feel the easier it is to stick to our plans. This may require you to actually work at it, this might be a bit of stretch for you but I know you can do it. I have a good friend who is, hands down, one of the most optimistic people I know. She can find the positive in nearly anything. While it used to drive me crazy how she did it, I now find myself wondering how she’d spin something if I get a bit lost in the negative. Try it, it works!
This next step is a fun one: reward yourself. Treat yourself. We’re not all that different then Pavlov’s dogs. If you’ve met a small goal treat yourself or put a star toward a larger reward but do something to acknowledge your win. Harvard’s Teresa Amabile has done research on the subject and has found acknowledging progress toward a larger goal is critical in getting to the bigger goal.
Last step! Get some outside accountability. Tell people what you’re striving to do. Tell them how you plan to do it so they can help you stay on course. Join a Facebook group that will help you, mark your wall calendar, shout it out in an Instagram message. Do whatever you need to do to make sure you get what you need to keep going.
Motivation will hide but I also know with these steps you’ll find yourself uncovering its hiding spot more quickly! Want some extra help in this area? Give me shout out on FB and I’ll be sure to check in with you to see how you’re doing with your goal! Yep, just a nice coach-like thing I’d be happy to do with you!
Best for your day!