The reason why we do what we do is often referred to as motivation. This motivation can be a powerful driver of success; however, it can also be used as an excuse. All to often we tell ourselves, “I would get started working out but I’m just waiting for the right motivation”.
What is motivation anyway? Is it this secret power that only the uber lucky and talented posses? Is it something that requires the help from others or is this something you can conjure up ourselves? Is it something that you can buy? As a behavior analyst it is my job day in and day out to assess what motivates individuals to do what they do and in my experience it is not a lack of motivation that gets people stuck, but instead a lack of perspective.
While many individuals attribute motivation to internal factors (e.g., mood, energy level, and mental state), it is much more productive to shift that focus externally. This shift allows us to take control over our motivation. By shifting our focus externally, we are able to identify the variables in our life that are the building blocks necessary for laying a firm foundation of growth and success.
I place these external drivers of motivation into two general categories.
1) What are things that I want or need that will add value to my life?
2) What are the things that are causing me pain or discomfort in my life that I want removed?
By using this “add” and “remove” categorization, it is much easier for me to then formulate goals and develop an action plan that will get me closer to my ideal life.
These drivers will be entirely dependent on the specific needs of the individual and that is perfect since each individual has their own unique vision of what their ideal life should entail.
Some general themes that may be encompassed in the “add” categories may be:
– money, free time, energy, strength, and friendship
On the other hand some “remove” themes may center around:
– weight loss, back pain, medications, and habits detrimental to my health
Take a minute to perform own motivation flip. Grab a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the left side make a list of all the external factors that you would like to add to your life and on the right list out all of the factors you would like to remove. The more specific the better; however, the challenge lies in keeping the list to things that are external. Stay away from mentalistic terms and emotional states as these concepts are generally out of our control and are commonly the result of our experiences instead of the driver. Generating this list is the first step to goal planning and may be the spark you need to get going on your path.
Love you all,