I was commenting on my singular lack of motivation to a friend yesterday, who was also feeling somewhat unmotivated, and it occurred to me that motivation would make a good topic for this week's ramble.
So we all know what motivation is, it's that elusive thing that encourages us to do whatever it takes to reach a specific goal.
There is a really great article about motivation and how it's fueled by dopamine on Lifehacker. My friend Jamie posted it on Facebook last night and I thought it was quite timely. It's also very interesting, although I have to admit a lot of it went over my head because I was suffering from a really bad headache when I was reading it so it was a little hard to focus.
There was also another interesting article on Lifehacker that defines motivation as the force that compels us to action. It also claims there are six types of motivation: incentive, fear, achievement, growth, power, and social. You can find the full description of each HERE
But other research claims that there are only two basic types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation comes from inside the individual, you strive for a goal because you find it personally rewarding. Extrinsic motivation comes from outside the individual, you strive to reach a goal to earn a reward or avoid a punishment.
All of this is just the tip of the iceberg as far as information about motivation goes, and more than anything it left me feeling like I'd gotten off track. What I really wanted was a way to motivate myself when I'm feeling an utter lack of motivation.
So I redefined my search to self-motivation and came up with a quiz that asks the question, how self motivated are you? It told me: You're doing OK on self-motivation. You're certainly not failing – however, you could achieve much more. To achieve what you want, try to increase the motivation factors in all areas of your life. It then went on to describe the four key areas and what I needed to work on. All in all it was really interesting and surprisingly helpful. If you'd like to take the self-motivation quiz, you can find it HERE.
Sometimes staying motivated can be a struggle. We're constantly beset by negative thoughts and anxiety, doubts and depression. So what can we do about it?
Here are just a few suggestions:
- post a picture of your goal. Whether it be the cover of the book you want to write or the skinny dress you want to fit into, it helps to have some visualization.
- keep your eye on the prize. Focus on your goal and how great it will be once you reach it instead of all the work it will take to get there.
- finish what you start. Not only is it a good habit to get into, to finish one task before beginning another, it will also give you a sense of satisfaction.
- find a buddy who has the same goal.
- just do it. Sometimes you need to just get started on something and once you do you'll be motivated to continue.
- find some way of making it fun. It's always easier to do something that's fun than something that you really don't like or want to do.
- for long-term goals, break it down into smaller, easier to manage goals.
- set up a reward system - when you reach a mini goal, reward yourself.
- don't compare yourself to others, it's not fair to either them or yourself.
- make a public commitment. Tell everyone you know what you plan on doing. Nothing is as great a motivator as fear of looking like a fool when you don't succeed.
So . . . what motivates you?