Many people tell me they need more motivation…they often they say this without really understanding what motivation is and how it can be improved.
To them motivation basically means they keep putting things off and never get round to doing certain things.
This week I mentored 26 people on a one to one basis and a number of them mentioned motivation. All of the ones that mentioned motivation were suffering with, what I have found to be, a very common situation. Here are the simple steps I took them through to enable them to motivate themselves so they were far more likely to take the action needed:
When you think about something you put off – how do you think about it?
Do you think about the process you’ll have to go through and all that is involved and how painful that would be? Or do you think about how good you’ll feel when it is over and done with or completed?
Most people I help in this area are thinking about the pain of taking the action rather than how good they will feel when it’s done and out of the way
I do this myself of course and notice it and change it if I want to. A classic example with me is if on a Sunday when the local car washes are closed I think about washing my car. When I think about it I immediately decide no. Something happens though between thinking about washing the car and deciding not to. It is in that gap I run through in my mind and make a decision.
This decision is arrived at by a thought process that goes something like this:
After thinking it through like that and telling myself all of that process in a down and dreary inner voice – yes I decide I will not wash the car!
If instead I think about washing the car and I start to think about it and how good the car will look when it’s clean, how glad I will be in the morning when I am driving in the car then there is much more likelihood I will wash the car.
Another way of getting motivated to get on and do something is to focus on something you are looking forward to that is happening after the task is done, sometimes even very simple things can help us to get through something we are not looking forward to.
For instance if I have a difficult or boring task coming up not only will I think how great it will be when it’s done, I will also think about something good that is coming up later, even if it is simply the fact I will be back home, having dinner with the family.
One of the reasons this helps is it tells your mind you do survive this task, life does go on! It also helps because when you get a good feeling thinking about what is happening later, you experience that feeling now and it helps reduce or cancel out the uncomfortable feeling you have in that moment about the task that needs doing.
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