Where’s Your Motivation?

We all have some motivation or we would never get up in the morning or make it to work or even fix a cup of coffee. When we talk about a lack of motivation, it has more to do with those non-preferred or seemingly less than glamorous activities like sweating, denying ourselves something fun, or saying no to that delicious chocolate cake. Unfortunately, our health, bank account, and overall brain development need us to dig deep when we notice our lives are a bit out of balance.

Everyone has a wavering pattern of motivation for most activities, even when you have established habits. It can be a rude awakening when you realize your time has slipped away on social media or games, you ate that donut at work – again, and you put off that assignment another day. Remembering you have a source of motivation for many things you already do will help you dip into your resolve for new challenges.

That level of internal drive that surges us forward and maintains momentum, rotating the rudder in life, begins with a little consideration. It turns out, goal-setting, if approached thoughtfully, can get you…everywhere.

Research continues to show that those of us who plan goals in our heads are 10 times more likely to succeed, while those who write goals down are 30 times more successful. If you have come up with New Year’s resolutions before, you have practiced setting goals.

In order to really see success, try selecting a goal that reflects your personal interest and values rather than something you feel pressured to do according to society’s standards. You will have an intrinsic desire to accomplish a task when it reflects a core value. Defining your most sincere values is an appropriate first step in this process and fun. Imaging your next levels of improvement should be given the time and attention it deserves. A personal journal and your cozy corner of reflection make the perfect combination for devising goals in each area of your life or each role you fulfill.

Next, set about whittling your goal according to the proven method of construction: Make it SMART: SPECIFIC, MEASUREABLE, ATTAINABLE, RELEVANT, & TIME BOUND. For example, if I’d like to lose 10 pounds, I would tie it to my value of being a good role model for my children and improving my health so that I could function better in my various roles and responsibilities. I would abandon the ideas that I had to look like a cover model or that I should satisfy an ideal perfect image.

Another important step in goal setting is to focus on the process. Devising a plan that carries you through to your goal, across a specified period of time, helps you stay on track and mark off the journey. You will also know how to jump back in more easily if you hit a bump in the road. Process thinking will help you find flexibility in the methods of accomplishing your goals and often develops stronger self-regulation.

Going back to losing 10 pounds; a process focus might include making a list of strategies to cut calories such as bringing healthy lunches and snacks to work, keeping water with you all day, and scheduling more movement throughout the day. Walking past that donut would be hard, but facing that struggle and prevailing just once will add to your future bank of resolve.

One more thought includes behavior momentum. Just like asking your child to take their toy to their room can lead to cleaning the whole room; meal prepping on Sundays can set the stage for a healthy week at work. One little action rolls into many more behaviors that can look like an overwhelming task early on. Sometimes I put on my workout clothes and tell myself I will only walk, then once I warm up, off I go into a full three mile run.

The most important thing to remember is: You can do more than you think you can! 

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