What is motivation?
Motivation is the desire to take action that you know will benefit you in some way. It is what drives you to act.
More importantly, studies have shown that motivation is the #1 predictor of success.
Unfortunately, women often tell me that one of their biggest challenges and frustrations is that they feel stuck and lack the motivation to get things done.
Whether it's losing weight, going to the gym, writing a book, completing a work project or..., lack of motivation is what keeps them unable to move forward.
The good news is, there are simple ways to increase your motivation. These can work in all areas of your life where action is required.
Factors that contribute to our level of motivation:
Fundamentally, there are 4 factors that contribute to your level of motivation to do anything. They are:
1. the value you put on the anticipated outcome of your actions
2. your mindset
3. the length of time you have to complete the task at hand
4. your ability to focus
These 4 factors interact to give you an overall level of motivation.
Any one of these factors can become a stumbling block.
The good news is, there are strategies you can use to increase your motivation regardless of where the block occurs.
4 strategies to increase your motivation:
1.Clarify the value of the anticipated outcome of your actions.
Often, when we are unmotivated to do something, it is because we have not given much thought to how we will feel when the work is done.
A simple exercise to get clarity on the value of the anticipated outcome for you is to ask yourself 4 simple questions:
1.What is the anticipated outcome?
2.Why is (the answer to #1) important to me?
3. Why is (the answer to #2) important to me?
4. Why is (the answer to #3) important to me NOW?
For example, if you are someone who struggles to get to the gym, when you go through this exercise, you will discover that going to the gym is simply a means to an end.
When you have clarity around what “the end” is for you, when you connect with how you will feel when you get to “the end”, THAT is when you will find the motivation to follow through with going to the gym. The stronger the emotional connection to the outcome, the greater your motivation to take action.
For some women, “the end” is the ability to keep up with the kids or grandkids. For others, “the end” is being healthier and able to get off meds. Whatever that is for you, once you connect with it you will find yourself much more motivated to do what it takes to get there.
2. Mindset Reset
Whether you believe you can or whether you believe you can’t, you are right ~Henry Ford
Once you are clear on the outcome you are seeking, the next step is to ask yourself “do I believe I can achieve this outcome?”. The key here is to answer honestly.
If you don’t believe the outcome is possible, write down all the reasons you can come up with.
Often, if we challenge our beliefs, we find that they are nothing more than someone’s opinion of us that, over time, we have adopted as our truth.
The following exercise will allow you to test the validity of every belief that is standing between you and your desired outcome.
Belief: I can’t do this because _______________
Can I be absolutely sure that this is true?
Who do I become with this belief?
What is possible with this belief?
What is the benefit of this belief?
What is the cost of this belief?
If this belief is NOT true, who can I become?
If this belief is NOT true, what is possible?
What do I choose to believe now?
What is my next step now?
There are times when time really is the enemy!
Studies have shown that we tend to procrastinate most ( which is just another way of saying we are unmotivated) when we have deadlines far into the future.
In this case, one way to increase motivation is to reverse engineer the task at hand into the smallest steps possible, set a short deadline for each step, and then work through those small steps one at a time.
For example, if you have a month to complete a task at work and you just can't get yourself to start working on it, break it down to 10 steps so that you are left with 10 mini projects. You now have a deadline of roughly 2 days for each step.
The benefits of this strategy are:
You always know what your next step is.
You experience success as you complete each step.
You can see your progress as you move closer to your goal.
Often, the magnitude of the task at hand can leave us feeling overwhelmed, unable to focus, and easily distracted.
The Pomodoro Technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo when he was a student. At the time, Cirillo felt overwhelmed by the volume of assignments he had to complete, and this had a negative impact on his ability to focus.
Why Pomodoro? Because the timer Cirillo used was in the shape of a tomato...
The technique works like this:
Step 1 - Choose the task you need to work on.
Step 2 - Set a timer for 25 minutes.
Step 3 - Start the timer and focus that one task until the timer goes off.
Step 4 - Take a 5-minute break during which you MOVE – get away from your work station, whatever that may be, and give our brain and your body a break.
When the 5 minutes are up, repeat steps 2-4 another 3 times.
At the end of the 4th round, take a longer 30-minute break.
The benefits of this kind of approach include:
Your only concern is what you can accomplish in those 25 minutes.
You experience success each time you complete a cycle you can see your progress.
If 25 minutes is too long for you initially, play around with the length of the work cycle until you find an interval that works for you.
I have used this technique for many years and have found that the ideal work/rest cycle for me is 50 minutes of work followed by 10 minutes of rest.
Motivation is the driver of action, and it is the #1 predictor of success.
If you find yourself unmotivated to take action in any area of your life, the problem is likely due to one of the following:
lack of perceived value in the expected outcome
limiting beliefs with respect to your ability to complete the task and get the outcome you want
an inability to focus
a deadline that is too far in the future
There is a strategy to improve your motivation, regardless of where the block lies.
You now have a way to overcome each of the challenges. Find the one that is most applicable to your situation and give it a try.
Please share your experience in the comments below.
If you feel stuck in life and you want clarity around what is holding you back, I offer complimentary Life Mapping Sessions. At the end of this 60 minute session you will have a visual representation of where you are and where you want to be, and you will know what is holding you back. You will also know what your next step should be.
Book your complimentary session here