Where Does Motivation Come From?
All too often, daily life seems to get in the way of our goals and our overall dreams. Even the most motivated of people seem to go through a natural ebb and flow from time to time. So what’s the secret to maintaining our motivation?
Fear is a very bad long-term motivator. Think about it this way. If fear truly did motivate us to make changes, then people wouldn’t smoke cigarettes, right? What’s more frightening than watching a loved one suffer from lung cancer caused by smoking? What’s even more frightening is the thought of having to go through chemotherapy, continued pain and multiple surgeries in order to overcome the cancer. What about heart disease and other obesity related issues caused by overeating? If fear were truly a great motivator, then wouldn’t everyone be exercising daily and eating healthy food? This is why fear is not a great long-term motivator.
I believe motivation is so crucial to your success in life that it must be hit from all directions in order to be sustained. Without true and lasting motivation, we all fall prey to the obstacles that will always arise while we are in the process of achieving our desires, hopes and dreams.
Know Your “WHY” – Internal Motivator #1
Why do you want what you want? Sounds simple doesn’t it? It’s not that simple. We are human which means we are multifaceted! So, let’s start off by making a goal to exercise 6 hours this week. Why would you want to do that? Maybe your first response is to lose weight. So, why do you want to lose weight? You might want to feel better about yourself or just be healthier.
When I personally work on uncovering all my “WHY’s”, I pretend I am talking to someone who has a little understanding of the language I speak. If I said “feel better about myself”, and this person doesn’t understand that, what other words would I choose to try to explain it better?
The “why” is the most crucial step to find your lasting motivation for anything you desire to achieve. It’s what will get you past all the obstacles, challenges and tough times, along with all the negative people in your life.
Sometimes your “why” changes as you do. It evolves as you evolve, so you must be diligent about revisiting and recreating your “why”. If you have a goal to lose weight and it’s been your goal longer than you care to remember, but you haven’t reached your goal, then it’s time to make a change! It isn’t a true goal for you. It isn’t going to ever get you to where you want to go because it simply isn’t important enough. You might need to simply dig deeper into why you truly want it or you might have to have a hard talk with yourself and discover a totally new goal!
Anytime you hear a person give their “why”, yet they still never achieve their goal, it’s usually because the “why” they have isn’t strong enough, deep enough or it’s the wrong goal for them.
Know Your Results – Internal Motivator #2
If you don’t know where you are today versus where you were last week then how do you know if you’re headed in the right direction? When you are passionate about your dreams, goals and desires, you simply cannot leave the results to chance! You need to check in with yourself all the time. What type of results are you getting? Are you moving closer towards your goal or are you going in the wrong direction? Are you stagnating? What’s happening? The last thing you want to do is to get months down the road only to find you haven’t moved an inch in the right direction! If you know something is working then that will become additional motivation! If you know it’s not, then you can shift course a bit so you can get some results! Many of us call this the “Feedback Loop”. Decide what criteria will be part of your feedback loop for any given goal. Check it weekly and chart your results so you can change course if necessary!
Sample Feedback Loops:
- Weight Loss: Log your weekly weigh-ins and daily nutrition.
- Body Fat Reduction: Log your weekly measurements.
- Exercise: Log the hours per week you do cardio and strength training.
- Nutrition: Log your food intake.
Feed Your Mind – External Motivator
Lasting motivation must come from within, but the people and things we surround ourselves with are also contributing to our ongoing motivation. No matter how big your goal is and no matter how much you track your results using your feedback loops, if you are constantly bombarded with negative people then it’s going to be a serious uphill battle! You may not be able to take every negative person out of your life, but you are 100% in control of who you choose to call a friend and spend time with.
I have a very important rule. For every negative person I have to deal with, I spend an extra 30 minutes with positive and uplifting people. The moment I get off the phone with a negative person, I call a close friend who is supportive and positive. This is my way of getting rid of the nasty and negative vibes.
The Bottom Line
It is our personal responsibility in life to reach our dreams, desires and goals. If you’ve ever met a person who lost their hopes and dreams, you will truly want to devote time to reaching yours, starting today! There is nothing more depressing than a person without hope for a better tomorrow, a person without a clear direction in life, or a person who has given up on their dreams. In order to make sure you never become that person, make sure to take charge of your dreams, hopes and goals!