How to get Motivated
The drive behind all human behavior. Seems a little presumptuous to assume all humans can be lumped into a box with this one, but once broken down you’ll see how it all can be linked back to just two major forces. Two forces that have the power to really make or break you. Understanding what they are, how they deeply affect us, why they affect us and what we can do about them is going to help us leverage them to our advantage to actually give us that Motivation that we desire, stop procrastinating and start making real and lasting change in our lives.
What are these so-called powerful forces, you ask? The desire for pleasure or the need to avoid pain. So powerful they are, in fact, that we can even trace Procrastination back to them. Yes, procrastination, the leading cause for why you’re not further ahead in life, why you’re not where you want to be (financially, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, etc). Oh, procrastination, the thing that makes you put off till tomorrow what you should be doing today. The thing that makes you even use the term should when you really should be making these things a must if you’re serious about improving and radically changing your life.
How, you ask, does procrastination tie in with the pain/pleasure framework? Well, why do we procrastinate? Do we really believe that the task at hand is better put off to a later time? Is it truly not that important in the grand scheme of things? Or is there a greater force at play? When we procrastinate, we actually believe that taking action, whatever the action that we’re putting off is, would be more painful than doing nothing or not taking action, and likewise, we believe that the passivity of taking a nap or watching Netflix will bring us a greater reward – pleasure. And, from a very shallow and narrow perspective – putting focus on the here and now – it will reap more rewards – in the moment. It will feel more real to us to receive that momentary pleasure of relaxation or the feelings we get from the television show… But long term, procrastination sabotages us, immobilizes us and destroys more dreams and lives than could ever be worth the temporary pleasure that we perceive to be gained from our idleness.
Change your Focus
Our internal associations about pain and pleasure must change if we want to experience change. Our Focus must change. Remember, where focus goes, energy flows. Instead of focusing on temporary avoidance of pain we must take the holistic view, the long-term approach, what will not taking action mean for me and my goals in a month? A year? 5 years. How will pushing through the temporary discomfort, struggles, or even perceived awkwardness ultimately give me pleasure – a positive outcome? What pain will not following through ultimately cause me? A bird’s eye view here is so essential to being able to make decisions with longevity in mind. Learn to use pain and pleasure instead of letting them use you. That is what gives you back control. That is how you motivate yourself. You don’t find motivation, you make it.
Balancing and understanding the framework of these two emotions turns our shoulds into musts. Let me give you an example, When you say “I should really start eating better” it’s not very compelling, is it? But let’s attach some pain to it. “I must start eating better, or I won’t live long enough to enjoy my kids or grandkids.” or “I should really make those sales calls” which doesn’t incite much joy for picking up the phone, but what if we can add an element of pleasure to it “I must make time for my business every day (be specific to what that means for your business model) because I have big goals and our financial freedom is extremely important to me.” When something is a must, you’ll find a way. Remember how powerful Visualization (your Mind Movie) is? Use that same exercise, but envision what life will be like if you don’t take the action, if you do eat the extra cake, if you don’t quit smoking, etc. See and feel where you’ll be in a year, in 3 years, in 10 years. What will it cost you? Feel the lack of pleasure or the true intensity pain that making the wrong decision will bring. Weigh these options, pain and pleasure, on your life scale. If you’re constantly sabotaging your efforts, procrastinating, and finding yourself making poor choices or ultimately not following through with the things it will take to create the life you want, it’s because that scale is weighted in the wrong direction.
Take Massive Action
This is a big one, and for that reason it scares the tar out of most normal people. Taking action, while easy once started (because of the momentum it creates!) requires making a decision and moving. Deciding is the hard part because immediately our survival brain goes “What if this is the wrong decision?!” and I’m here to tell you, that it could be. But don’t let that stop you. Successful people, people who are movers and shakers – those with real momentum – decide. They don’t sit on things and marinate, weighing all options and endlessly researching. They make intelligent decisions, but they make them quickly. The thing about decisions, and taking action is that it propels you forward – gives you the momentum. If the decision is wrong, and the actions are wrong, you’ll know, and you can simply just reassess and slightly change course – after all, it’ll be easier since you’re moving. It sounds overly simple but that’s because most common sense things are.
You’re at the Wheel, Sis
Ultimately, in life, we must learn to be ok with uncertainty and change. We have to come to the place where we understand and accept that there are many things out of our control. But, while we can’t control our external world – the good news is, for you control freaks out there (talkin’ to myself here) there is much that we can control – our internal world. That is completely and totally ours to design. Three major areas where we can take back control in our lives are our thoughts, our efforts and our actions. These are all tied together, and have offshoots that affect countless areas of our lives, the lives of others and eventually – our destiny. Decide today that you will take charge and create your own momentum. Declare that you’re taking responsibility and step up into that role, it is so very empowering.