Often when we talk about motivation it’s around the concept of ‘What motivates you?’ which implies something static and unchanging. That single thing that gets you motivated to perform a particular task.
But that’s not really how it works is it? Here we will explore how motivation can be created in a deliberate and conscious way. How we can keep discovering motivating triggers in an ever-changing environment.
As is often the case, it comes down to mindset.
You might be thinking – I know what motivates me to get out of bed each morning. It’s my family, it’s money, it’s going to work, and so on. But those can become more of a reason, not really a motivation. The context of motivation I’m talking about is that feeling of satisfaction – doing something because we want to, not because we have to. Ideally we would feel motivated to do these things all the time, but let’s face it, sometimes our motivation disappears.
So how do we manage to pull ourselves out a motivational rut, and more importantly, why does it happen? It’s frustrating right, when something you found so much pleasure and satisfaction in suddenly doesn’t have the same effect.
Just accept that it’s a part of our journey.
As the environment around us is ever changing, and our lives and our innate selves are ever changing, it makes sense that what motivates us changes too.
The typical example of this is happening to most of us right now. The cold months are upon us, we struggle to find the motivation to do the things we usually love to do in the warmer weather. It’s not that we want to stop exercising for instance, we have lost motivation because our environment has changed.
The same thing happens in our personal and professional lives. The environment in which they exist changes, our lives change, and motivation can wane. So how do we get it back?
We have to change our mindset to it and come up with new strategies. Or perhaps create new goals. Come up with new reasons for doing whatever it is you are struggling to get motivated for. Whatever it is, spend some time trying to work on it, don’t expect it to come to you immediately, just trust the process and yourself.
Of course, there are always those tasks we have to do, not because we want to but because it’s an obligation. So how do we get motivated to do that? It takes consideration and mindful effort. This could be something as simple as identifying one thing about the task you enjoy and focusing on that. If there isn’t one, find one. Or simply tell yourself you will enjoy it – put a smile on your face and believe it. Consider the outcome. How good it will feel when you have ticked that off your list. You will be amazed how this simple change in thought can make you feel instantly lighter and more energetic, leading to motivation. Seriously, try it.
For those who need some more theory around these concepts, you can look to my colleague Michelle Crawford’s mindset model. In this model all humans are sitting on a scale which goes from the Sufferer Mindset at one end, through Survivor, Passenger and Driver to the Thriver Mindset at the other end.
No prizes for guessing which end of the scale someone will be sitting in if they are able to create their own motivation through mindset.
That’s right – in the Thriver Mindset the individual, among other traits, accomplishes things by creating an ongoing experience of flow. They have a high sense of personal responsibility, set ambitious goals and have a strong sense of knowing these will be achieved; believing everything is a self-development opportunity.
Put this into the context of motivation, and you can see how someone with this mindset would be driven to develop and create their own motivation to reach their goals. Compare this to someone in a sufferer mindset, who for whatever reason has a very negative mindset and believes that whatever they do they cannot improve their life.
Hopefully you feel inspired to take control of your own motivation. Don’t just wait for it to come and be upset when it doesn’t or when it goes away. Be aware and accepting of the fluid nature of motivation and take ownership. You will be surprised empowering this is how much more motivated you become as a result!
So if you if it feels as though something has become a chore, think about – why is that? What is it about the responsibility or task that you are not enjoying? How can you change it or approach it in another way?
Find another reason to do it.
Sometimes it can be as simple as literally changing your internal dialogue.
When you find yourself saying ‘I don’t want to do this’: Stop. Think. Tell yourself you will enjoy it. Seriously, give it a go. You will be surprised at the result. You are in control of your internal dialogue and that’s where motivation begins.
If you would like to further explore the Mindset Model and begin your journey to become a ‘Thriver’ you can pre-order Michelle’s book Being More Human on our website.