The importance of motivation
Do you lack enthusiasm and a zest for life? Are you somebody who believes that ‘I will do that’ but never actually does it. If you never do what you intend to do, you may well have a problem with motivation. When you have motivation, you are driven and more determined to create the life that you want to live. You don’t suddenly believe that everything in life is easy but you know that you are prepared to do whatever it takes to achieve your goal, regardless of what challenge that poses. Many people suffer from a lack of motivation but just because it is common, it does not mean that you should accept that way of living. You were not put on Earth to live the same life as everybody else. You have your own purpose, your own goals and you will also have your motivations.
Maybe you are unhappy with the life you are living or, maybe you are just unhappy with one or two aspects of that life. Either way, change is required. As Einstein argued, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. Well, if you are unhappy with something, doing the same thing over and over again is not going to change something. The desire to change is one of the most important factors in goal setting but it is not enough to have that desire just once. Desire for change must be maintained throughout the process and that is what motivation really is. When you set a goal, you are looking to change something. It is useful to ask yourself the following questions:
- How will you benefit from accomplishing your goal?
- How high (0-10) would you rate your motivation to accomplish your aspirations and goals?
- Are you ambitious enough to stand out in whatever you do?
- Do you truly believe that you’re capable of accomplishing the aspirations you hoped for?
If you answer these questions honestly, you will have a better sense of your motivation levels.
The importance of motivation
Motivation is one of the most important factors in determining the level of success that you will achieve. Motivation is required throughout the entire goal process. The following are some key reasons why motivation is so important:
1. Identifying a goal
Goals come from a desire to change something in your life. You may be motivated by positive or negative factors. Maybe you are unhappy with some aspect of your life. If this is the case, you would identify what you want instead and set a goal to achieve it. Alternatively, there may be something which you enjoy in life but you would like to experience more of it or, there may be something which you would like to add to your life.
Whether it is a desire for change, a desire to add more or, a desire to add something new, it is motivation for improved circumstances which inspires the goal.
To set powerful goals, check out the Ultimate Guide to Goal Setting.
Whatever you want to achieve in life, you will need to commit yourself to it and focus your energy on it. There is only so much that you can do as time and energy are limited resources. As you are constantly inundated with things that you could do, you need to be able to prioritise your activities and focus on the most important tasks. This allows you to achieve your best results. Motivation is critical in helping you to determine which activities should be prioritised.
Anybody can draw up a plan but the value of that plan will never be known until you put it into action. Setting a goal is not enough to achieve it. You need to take consistent, decisive and effective action to bring that goal to reality. The difference between those who consistently take action towards their goals and those who do not, is motivation. There will be days when you don’t really want to do anything. On these days, it is your high levels of motivation that will push you through.
4. Overcoming setbacks
One of my favourite books is The Success Principles(TM): How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Jack Canfield. In one section of the book, Jack provides a rather amazing statistic. He tells us that 94% of all salespeople have given up on the sale after the 4th time of asking but 60% of all sales are made after the 4th time of asking. That means that 94% of salespeople miss out on the chance of making the sale because they don’t have the motivation to keep asking.
This can be applied to all goals. How many times have you given up on something just because you hit an obstacle? Almost any goal worth achieving is going to require some resilience. You will hit obstacles and when you do, you must decide whether you will continue or give up. Motivation will ensure that you keep going.
5. Staying the course
Many of your most important goals will require a great deal of time to accomplish. It is easy to lose motivation and lose sight of your objectives. If you allow this to happen, you may never reach your end goal. It requires a special kind of person to keep their eye on the prize for a long period of time and, keep taking consistent action towards their goal. What makes these people special is that they are highly motivated and they take action to reinforce their motivation on a regular basis.
A clear vision for life and, effective goals to realise that vision, are essential if you want to live your best life. However, goals and a vision are only dreams unless you take consistent action to bring them to life. To take this consistent action requires motivation. Motivation rarely happens by accident and, when it does, it rarely lasts for long. If you want to experience the long-lasting motivation which will help you to stick with your most important goals, from conception to achievement, you are going to need to work on it. No matter what goal you set, never lose sight of your need for motivation as it will be the one thing that will push you through the tough times.
When it comes to getting results, it takes motivation and ability.
Motivation makes things happen.
Where there’s no will, there’s no way. One of the best ways to improve your personal effectiveness is to master your motivation and find your drive.
If you can master motivation, you can deal with life’s setbacks, as well as inspire yourself to always find a way forward, and create new experiences for yourself, and follow your growth.
In this post, I’ll demystify motivation and give you the motivation tools that really work.
1. Connect to your values.
This is the ultimate secret. If you can connect the work you do to your values, even in small ways, you can change your game.
One of my values is learning and growth.
I find ways to grow my skills in any situation. For example, I don’t just “call back a customer.” I “win a raving fan.” I don’t just “do a task.” I “master my craft.” I don’t just “get something done.” I “learn something new.”
2. Find your WHY.
Figure out a compelling purpose. Turn this into a one-liner.
For example, when I fall off the horse, I remind myself I’m here to “make others great.” This gets me back on track, sharing the best of what I know.
3. Change your WHY.
Sometimes you’re doing things for the wrong reason. Are you doing that task to get it done, or to learn something new? Just shifting your why can light your fire.
4. Change your HOW.
You can instantly find your tasks more enjoyable by shifting from getting them done, to doing them right.
I think of it as mastering your craft. Make it artful.
Sometimes slower is better. Other times, the key is to make it a game and actually speed it up. You can set time limits and race against the clock. Changing your how can get you out of ruts and find new ways to escape the mundane.
5. Remember the feeling.
Flipping through your head movies and scenes is one of the fastest ways to change how you feel.
Remember the feeling. How did you feel during your first kiss? What about laying on the grass on a sunny day?
When you feel good, you find your motivation faster.
6. Shift to past, present or the future.
Sometimes you need to be here, now. Sometimes, the right here, right now sucks. The beauty of shifting tense is you can visualize a more compelling future, or remember a more enjoyable past.
At the same time, if you catch yourself dwelling on a painful past, get back to right here, right now, and find the joy in the moment.
You’ll improve your temporal skills with practice.
7. Find a meaningful metaphor.
Find a metaphor that fuels you. Maybe you’re the “Little Engine that Could.” Maybe you’re “in your element.”
The most powerful thing you can do is find a metaphor that connects to your values. This is why I turn my projects into “epic adventures.”
8. Take action.
Here’s a secret that once you know it, can change your life. Action often comes before motivation.
You simply start doing an activity and then your motivation kicks in. Nike was right with “Just do it.” For example, I don’t always look forward to my workout, but once I start, I find my flow.
9. Link it to good feelings.
Find a way to link things to good feelings. For example, play your favorite song when you’re doing something you don’t like to do.
It has to be a song that makes you feel so great that it overshadows the pain of the task. It’s hard to tell yourself you don’t like something when it feels so good.
A similar approach is to find your theme song.
10. Impress yourself first.
This is how people like Peter Jackson or James Cameron or Stephenie Meyer inspire themselves. They make the movies or write the books that impress themselves first. They connect their passion to the work and they don’t depend on other people setting the bar. Their internal bar becomes their drive.
11. “CHOOSE” to.
If you tell yourself you “HAVE” to do this or you “MUST” do that or you “SHOULD” do this, you can weaken your motivation.
The power of choice and simply reframing your language to “CHOOSE” to can be incredibly empowering and exactly the motivating language you need to hear. Choose your words carefully and make them work for you.
12. Pair up.
This is one of my favorite ways to make something fun. One person’s painful task, is another’s pleasure. Pair up with somebody who complements your skill or who can mentor you and get you over the humps.
13. Change your question.
Sometimes you need to change your focus. To change your focus, change the question.
If you ask yourself what’s wrong with this situation, of course you’ll find things to complain about. Ask yourself what’s right about the situation and you can quickly find the positives and get your groove on.
14. Fix time for eating, sleeping and working out.
Sometimes your body or emotions are working against you because you’re not giving them a break or fueling them the right way.
One simple way to improve results here is to find a routine for eating, sleeping, and moving or working out that supports you.
15. Play to your strengths.
Spending too much time in your weaknesses wears you down. Spending more time in your strengths helps you renew your energy and find your flow.
Strengths are the place where you can grow your best. Find the things that you can do all day that you really enjoy and find excuses throughout your day to do more of that. Success builds on itself and this helps you build momentum.
Try out the motivation techniques to see what works for you.
At the end of the day, all motivation really comes down to self-motivation, and you get better at motivation by building your self-awareness.
Learn how to push your own buttons from the inside out.
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This piece originally appeared on Sources of Insight