Finding Motivation that Works - Pinterest pinToday we’re talking about finding motivation that works. The right kind of motivation, in other words, that will keep you working towards your dreams and goals even when you don’t particularly feel like it anymore.


Motivation is a very personal thing – you don’t motivate an organization, for example – you motivate individuals within an organization. And what motivates each individual will be unique to that individual.

As such, if you’ve got a goal that you want to achieve, especially when it’s something really big, or a long term goal that will take a lot of time, then you need to figure out what your specific, unique motivators are in order to keep you interested and determined to reach that goal, or you will run out of steam before you get to the finish line.

How to find motivation that works

There are two things you want to think about when you start trying to figure out your unique motivators:

  1. Think about what you’ve tried before that HASN’T worked;
  2. Think about what you’ve tried before that SORT OF worked.

Very simple; just two things to consider: what worked and what didn’t work? You want to think about what hasn’t worked for you in the past because trying to use that same kind of motivation technique again in future is likely to be just as useless for you as it was in the past.

Trying to find #motivation that works? Keep these two things in mind! Click To Tweet

And when you think about what sorts of motivational techniques worked for you before, try to get specific about what aspect of those techniques was useful. And what you want to do is build your future motivation factors around all of that.

What gets you started, what keeps you going?

So, for example, if you have tried to start a regular exercise routine in the past and have failed to keep going with it, think about:

  1. What was it that first got you to start up that fitness routine – what was the initial motivator to start exercising again? and
  2. What motivators did you try to use that kept you going past the first couple of days (even if those motivators stopped working for you after that?

Maybe you started working out because you “really should” be exercising. Because you’ve been told that it’s good for your health. Or that it will help to lower your chances of heart-attack or diabetes.

And maybe you kept going for a whole week because you had visions of turning yourself into some totally ripped specimen of humanity with washboard abs that your object of desire would be unable to resist.

Analysing your motivators

So now you know what got you going, but what does it mean? In the example we just used, it would mean that you tried external motivators (your doctor’s view that you need to get more active, and the hope that you’d become more appealing to the person you’re attracted to).

And there’s also the element of fear as a motivator in this – fear of illness (wanting to avoid diabetes, for instance) and fear of no longer being considered attractive to someone else.

And you also know that this didn’t work for you. It wasn’t enough of a motivator to get you through that first, and most difficult stage, of turning that fitness goal into an actual habit that you just do because that’s what you do.

It’s about creating new habits

That’s a key point there, by the way – the key to being successful with a big goal is to turn the actions that you have to take in order to achieve that goal into a habit. And the initial stages of created habits can be really, really hard to get through.

Inertia, remember – the longer you’ve been doing something, the harder it is to stop. The longer you’ve been NOT exercising, the harder it is to stop NOT exercising.

Want #success? Turn the actions you have to take in order to achieve a goal into a #HABIT. Click To Tweet

And that’s where your motivators come in, and why it’s so important that those motivators be right FOR YOU. Getting through that “inertia hump” is a bitch and half, and if you don’t have the right internal stimuli to get you through that very strong resistance to changing your existing habits, you are going to fail to create this new habit.

Resistance to the new way of doing things

Again, super-important point that I want you to remember: when you are trying to create any new habit, whether it is the habit of exercising regularly, or writing pages towards your novel every day, or consistently marketing and promoting your business – you first have to get yourself  over your resistance to doing any of these things.

And that resistance arises because of the fact that you already have a habit of NOT doing any of these things. Do you see what I’m getting at here? Inertia is working to keep you in the habit of not doing, and you have to expend a lot of effort to create the new habit of doing.

Resistance arises b/c you already have a #habit of NOT doing what you need to do. Click To Tweet

And that is really, really hard. And it’s why so many of us fail to keep going with a lot of our big dreams and goals. We can’t seem to overcome that hurdle of the old habit, and get ourselves going on that new track, with the new habit that we want to create.

Inertia doesn’t have to be your enemy

So back to the motivators.

Again, think about a goal that you have tried to achieve – so a habit that you wanted to create – but weren’t able to. And think about what you tried to use to motivate yourself. Knowing what you know now, can you think of new ways of motivating yourself that will get you through that first, awful, inertia hump?

Because remember that inertia is not your enemy – an object in motion tends to stay in motion, and object at rest tends to stay at rest – it’s just one of those immutable laws of nature. And if you can get yourself through that first stage where everything in you is resisting this new habit that you are trying to create, you WILL get to the stage where that new habit starts to become your new normal.

And that’s the point at which inertia will now be working on your behalf to sustain this new normal – you will get to the point where you start to resist NOT doing this new habit!

Turning the new into the usual

Again – really important point: if you can get through the resistance phase of starting a new habit, then your new habit starts to become your new normal, and you will get to the point where you WANT to do it, and you resist NOT doing it.

And that, people, is everything. You have to find something that will sustain you and keep you going through that horrible initial stage where everything in you wants to STOP doing this new thing, simply because of the fact that it’s a new thing. You need to get to the stage where the “new thing” becomes the “usual thing”.

So think about what types of things motivate you most, and what keeps you motivated to keep working on something even when things get hard. And build your unique motivation techniques around that.

Your unique motivators

Use your intuition – what appeals to you as a motivation tool? Do you need to be intellectually convinced about the benefits of a particular behaviour before you’ll do it? Do you need external rewards like praise or presents? Do you prefer internal rewards, like a particular feeling that you get? Are you a visual person who needs to be able to SEE your progress in some way? Do you like having lots of data to work with, or do you prefer to keep focused on the big picture?

Think about what works to keep you excited and interested in your goal – what is that makes you want to achieve that goal more than you want to avoid the discomfort of getting there – and make it a point to use that information to create your own unique motivators.

Find the right kind of motivation for you, then get out there and start turning your “what I need to do to build my dreams” into your consistent habit. And you WILL start to see big progress and big changes in your life because of it.

photo credit: cc (modified by me)

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