3 Keys to Success
In our last article and podcast “Motivation Killers”, we outlined the common but mostly ineffective ways that people try to motivate themselves. Motivation is a funny thing because you all have many times in life where you do something that doesn’t require any extra motivation. So, what’s going on here?
Of course you already know the answer; you don’t need to motivate yourself to do something that you really enjoy – it’s just that it’s so compelling in itself that you simply can’t wait to do it. Some things are so enjoyable that you probably even pay money to be able to do them! Other times you have been so motivated for something that you would have changed your day’s routine so you can fit the activity into your day.
So it’s obvious that you react this way with activities that you are naturally motivated towards. But of course when it comes to health and fitness, unfortunately there are things you have to do in order to achieve your long term goal – including activities you would rather not do.
It is these activities that people struggle with and find it hard to keep up. And unless you start to like them the more you do them (which can happen a lot). It’s much easier to do those ‘not-so-compelling’ activities however once you know how to change the way you are thinking about them.
So in “Motivation Killers” we covered some typical (but typically unsuccessful) strategies for trying to get motivated. If you identified yourself in any of the 4 “Motivation Killers”, then start using these new motivation tools explained below and notice the changes they bring.
1. The Pleasure Seeker:
Focus your thoughts on your desires that relate to the activity or goal. Instead of thinking “I have to exercise 3 times a week”, focus on what you like and what you want. e.g. “Iwant to get fit. And I want to enjoy myself at the same time. I want to be able to maintain my fitness once I get there.”
Not only is it more pleasant to think positively about what we desire, by doing this we often get more information about our specific goals which can further help us ingetting what we desire.
It’s also a bit like when you start looking to buy a house. As soon as you start thinking along the lines of “I want to move” or “I want a house with a garage”, your brain helps you out by making you ultra aware of all the houses with for sale signs, all the garages, makes the realtor magazines stand out whenever you go past a pile. In that same way, by thinking about what you desire in relation to the activity, you open your mind and connect with a natural motivator – the hunger for pleasure.
An example of this: A woman Maree worked with would force herself up most mornings to go for a hill walk – it didn’t really fit in with her late nights at work but she had heard that by exercising first thing, your metabolism is raised during the day and that this was better than exercising before you go to bed. When she came for her session, she had been struggling with her plan for weeks and was about to give up on it completely (which she found left her with a dilemma because she also wanted to continue towards her goal of losing weight).
So Maree helped her change her focus to a pleasure seeker – from having to get up early to what her actual desires were around exercise. Turns out she wanted to feel like she was pushing herself so she felt that she had done something, and that she wanted it to be an effective use of her time. From identifying her desires she was able to redesign her plan. She ended up doing resistance training in front of the telly late afternoon before heading out to work. Then on the weekends, she would either go to a spin class or combine a walk with catching up with a friend. Just with that one shift of focus, she reboosted her motivation.
2. The Master of Choice:
Imagine you have your own friendly fitness and health ‘waiter’ with a large menu of options. If you were to be presented with all the available options and each of their benefits.
“Today’s specials are:
A night in, watching TV
A pump class starting in 1 hour
A hot bath and a good book
Casual yoga class in local community centre
Catching up with a friend
A bike ride ……”
Realise that the list of possibilities is endless and that there are also many choices of combinations of the activities. For example you can choose to have a workout and then come home to relax in the bath or watch TV. Or you could combine catching up with a friend with a walk in the hills. Note that what might work for you one day, might be boring or uninspiring the next.
Offer yourself a wide list of possibilities that will support you achieving your end goal and you will be sure to find something that works for you each time.
3. The Fortune Teller:
This is often the key for people who have experienced difficulty in motivating themselves. Instead of focusing on the ‘nitty-gritty’ details of what it will be like actually doing the activity, look into your future to the time when you have completed it and feel how good that is.
Below is an example of the exact steps to take to get motivated. I have used going for a run as an example.
1. Think to yourself positively:
“It will be good for me to do some exercise tonight”.
2. Imagine positive result: See yourself after the run. Imagine the smile on your face as you feel proud of having done something for your health and to support your goal.
3. Focus on the feeling: As you imagine seeing yourself, focus on the good feeling the ‘Future You’ has, having completed the exercise. Allow yourself to fully experience that satisfaction, and the motivation and energy will come, so that you may want to start right away.
So next time you don’t feel like going for a run or to the gym or doing any exercise for that matter, first focus on your desires. It may be that whatever you are trying to motivate yourself towards just isn’t your thing. And that’s fine! Instead of forcing yourself to continue a particular regime, first focus on your desires. You may find that something more interesting pops into your mind when you consider all the available options.
And once you have your choice of activity, just imagine how you will feel after completing it. Won’t that feel good? – well off you go then!
If you are not 100% clear how to apply these strategies to your own motivation issues or find there is nevertheless still something blocking your motivation, then feel free to contact either of us with your questions. We’d be happy to help.
To your lasting success and happiness,
Jan & Maree nWow! Counselling & Coaching