I have spent the last 3 weeks trying to educate myself more on different concepts of motivation, which I hope will help me give you the best tips to avoid losing your motivation. I was hoping to stumble upon the holy grail of motivation. Big surprise—I didn’t. What I did find is that, in order to have better motivation, it helps to understand the concept of it, and then see which kind of motivation you best respond to.
According to a Google search, motivation is “the reason or reasons a person has for acting or behaving in a particular way.” But I believe motivation is so much deeper than that. Motivation can come from within ourselves or from the external environment around us. It can be positive or negative. A person’s motivation is often a combination of the following:
This is the type of motivation where you are driven to accomplish a goal because it will benefit you and you expect a reward at the end. Positive motivation can help you work harder toward your goal because you want to enjoy the reward. However, the downside is that it can be hard to stay motivated for a long period of time if your goal is not immediately attainable.
How to use positive motivation; it’s important to remember the reason you are making this change. You are doing this to improve your life and your well-being. Also, set small rewards for yourself as you accomplish your monthly goals and a larger reward when you accomplish your more major goals. A great example would be to buy a new outfit at the end of the month after meeting your “mini” goal—or going somewhere nice after you’ve met your main goal.
This is the motivation based on fear or consequence. It is either the reason you take action—avoiding failure, or the reason you don’t take action—fear of failure. Negative motivation is an excellent motivator in the short term because it causes you to dig yourself out of negative situations. Think back to that 7-page paper you wrote an hour before it was due. You finished the paper but it was stressful, sloppy, and unrewarding. Let’s face it, negative motivation is just simply not great on your mental or physical well-being—especially in the long-term.
How to use negative motivation; use negative motivation when you are fighting against the unhealthy urges or cravings. Use it in those moments of weakness—you’ll thank yourself later. Think about how hard you’ve worked so far to get where you are right now. Then remind yourself how hard it will be to get back to your current self if you were to give into those urges—causing you to fall off the wagon completely. When you walk by the delicious donuts at QuikTrip—think of the old saying “A moment on the lips, forever on the hips.” [often used by my late Granny].
Wait—what was my Granny trying to tell me!?!
The motivation that comes from within you. It drives you to continue working at the things you love, seeking out new challenges, and gaining knowledge to be the best version of you. This motivation does not rely on outside factors or rewards. It is an internal drive. Think of a child who learns all of the different types of dinosaurs, what they ate, or how fast they ran—or a person who becomes a mechanic simply because they like fixing things. Intrinsic motivation can be hard to nurture and grow—but it can be long lasting and self-sustaining.
How to use intrinsic motivation; look for things you enjoy that are in line with your goals. If your goal is to start exercising more, look for a way to make it fun so you can enjoy it. If that means you start rock climbing at ROKC or hiking outdoors instead of doing the traditional workouts—that’s awesome. If your resolution is to lose weight or eat healthier, then start experimenting with new recipes. I’ll even get you started with a meal my wife and I love; Caribbean black beans and rice with sliced avocados. Ooh-wee, it’s good stuff. My point—an activity you enjoy is more likely to be repeated and become your norm.
These are factors outside of the individual that promote action. Extrinsic motivation can be used to push a person through the hard times. It can carry people through the valleys where they may have lost their intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivators can be rewards, competition, or someone rooting for you to succeed. Note; if you’re trying to accomplish a goal because someone else wants you to—not because it’s important to you—that motivation is not sustainable. You have to do this for you.
How to use extrinsic motivation; a great way to utilize extrinsic motivation is to find a gym or lifting partner who meets you at the gym each day. You won’t want to miss gym day because you won’t want to let them down—as well as yourself. Your gym partner will be there to root you on while you’re trying to push through that last rep. If your goal is losing weight, join a social media group or get with a group of friends to stay accountable to.
Planning; one thing that takes motivation out of the equation. Planning your day and/or week out and planning your meals will create a routine. Over time, this will all become your second nature. Yes, you will still have to get yourself to the gym and meal prep, but having a plan—a routine—drastically decreases the likelihood that something will prevent you from accomplishing your goals.
Do you ever wonder why it looks so easy for people to go workout every day? How they are able to schedule things around their workout? It’s because going to the gym and working out is their routine—it’s their second nature. It can be yours too. Stay strong, stay focused, and create your routine.
My Hope for You
Now that you hopefully understand each type of motivation a little better, which ones best fit you? It’s important to choose the ones that best suite you and start creating your motivation now. As I stated in the beginning, there is no holy grail of motivation. It takes time, patience, dedication. I urge you to take some time—list out each type of motivation on a piece of paper and write out your motivations. Make several copies. Keep it on your nightstand, put it on your fridge, your bathroom mirror, your work station—places where you can see it every day. I hope that in doing this, it will remind you how powerful the human mind is—how you can motivate yourself every day. How you can be the best version of yourself. And, don’t forget to incorporate some SMART GOALS.
More posts in the Time for Change series to come. Thanks for reading.change, motivation, negative, resolution