Seeking (and Keeping!) Motivation
Many of us get great ideas and want to follow through on them, but sometimes the tedious work involved can drain our original motivation. In this post, I’d like to suggest some ideas to keep yourself motivated as you work through this year.
Remember the “F” Factors
For most of us, there are motivating factors that keep us going. We don’t often just start doing something without a reward or something to keep us going and gaining value from it. I’ve found that a majority of people are motivated by at least one of the following “F” factors: freedom, friends, family, fitness, finances, and/or fun. If, for instance, you’re having a hard time getting your teenage child to clean their room, you may be able to motivate them by the reward of money earned for completing their chores or more time to spend with their friends. The reward for continued visits to the gym is becoming fit and healthier, therefore feeling better overall. Depending on the relationship you have with your family, they could be either a positive or a negative motivating factor – either they will cause you to want to spend time together or time apart. Pretty much everyone I know is motivated by free time and/or the ability to have the freedom to choose what you value and the decisions you’d prefer to make rather than being forced by someone or something else that takes away that freedom. And finally, fun is a powerful motivating factor that is innate within us all. Children learn and grow through play and fun. As adults, we gravitate more towards activities and events that involve play and fun as well. When you combine fun into the task at hand, the motivation level increases drastically.
“The Good, The Bad, and The Lovely”
My business coach, Nigel Clayton (a wonderful and very smart man), always reminds me about how motivation can be sucked from us if we aren’t spending our time wisely. He believes the concept of “time management” is looked at incorrectly by most people. We all have the same number of hours in a day, so how can some people accomplish so much more than others? He teaches that it typically comes down to the tasks we set out to accomplish. He says there are three types of tasks: ones that we are good at, ones we aren’t so good at, and ones we love or “the good, the bad, and the lovely”. When we are rocking, time passes quickly, and we accomplish a lot, we are probably in a lovely space. Conversely, when we are dreading doing the next thing on the list and getting distracted by pretty much anything else that can be done, it’s likely we’re in a bad or challenging space. There are things in your life that you love to do and get them done easily, hate to do and put off or just don’t do at all, and things you might like to do but aren’t super exciting.
I like to encourage my clients to start with the lovely tasks first. Not only will you be excited to do what you love doing, but it will get your momentum going and you may find it easier to take on something else from the good or bad list after having a previous positive experience of accomplishment.
And before moving on to other suggestions, I want to quickly address the “bad” tasks and how to tackle them. Sometimes, “bad” tasks involve many steps that can seem overwhelming to accomplish if you haven’t planned accordingly. Or they may be out of your scope of knowledge and you need more education, training, or someone to walk with you through it. Or they may just be plain annoying and you don’t want to do them. In any of these instances, it is helpful to bounce ideas for how to tackle these types of tasks off of someone else. You may even recruit someone to help you or do them for you. With some outside assistance, “bad” tasks become much more manageable.
Sometimes if you need to accomplish something you don’t really want to do, it may help to combine it with something you love or something more interesting. For example, cleaning the house is not so fun for me. However, if I combine it with putting on some music I really enjoy and turn it into an opportunity for dancing and singing while I clean, I’m way more likely to get a sparkly kitchen out of that time. Same thing for doing cardio exercises. Running is not my thing but I know doing cardio is good for me. I love that my gym has a theater where I can get on the elliptical and easily go for a few miles while I watch a movie. I accidentally ran for five miles once because I was so caught up in the movie I was watching!
Create a Successful Environment
I have a colleague who recently posted on Facebook about “setting up her workplace with a bunch of comfort stuff… tea, slippers, candles, music, etc.”. She creates an environment she wants to be in to accomplish what she needs to get done when she works on the computer. For me, I know I need to separate my home and my work as much as I’m able. So as an entrepreneur, I try not to work from home and get distracted by the many things I could be doing around my house. I have an office space for seeing clients and I try to do other business-related things in places other than my home (coffee shops, libraries, and parks tend to be my go-to locations). Whatever works for your environment to feel productive, make that happen to the best of your availability and you’ll see much more success.
Visualize Your Accomplishment
My last suggestion for increasing your motivation is simple in theory but more difficult to practice. When you use your creative mind to focus on the outcome of what you want to achieve, you make it more real. By imagining the end goals and results of your desires, you are putting your mindset in a place of achievement. You are visualizing what it looks like and feels like to get what you want. This technique is often referred to as meditation, visualization, or even manifesting. Rather than wasting your energy and becoming negative about the difficulties that may be involved, flip to the positive side and live in that future space for a moment to experience what it’s like to already have achieved your goals. Practice living “as if” you’ve already done it. This technique takes some time to do well and you have to train your brain to start thinking this way but the pay offs are fantastic!
I hope these ideas have been helpful in moving you forward towards more effective motivation. If you feel you need some guidance in keeping the momentum going, we would be happy to consult with you. Please contact us at 720-381-2755 or by email at tradewindstherapy at gmail dot com to schedule your first session today.