Motivate me!

Oasis Living Magazine, July 01, 2011

Do you sometimes feel you should be doing something but just can’t find the energy to do it? Whether it is to finish a report, organize your financial budget, or catch up with an old friend for a coffee, the initiation of the act can be the hardest thing. You may have organized your exercise and healthy eating regime plan (for the fifth time). You’ve got the gym membership, the new running shoes, the diet books and the daily schedule in place, however, you just can’t get yourself to start. You just don’t have the “humph” to do it.

The bad news is that if you are waiting for motivation to magically appear you will wait a long time. The good news is that motivation is a choice.

“Seventy percent of success in life is showing up” Woody Allen 

So what is motivation? Encarta dictionary defines motivation as: “a feeling of enthusiasm, interest or commitment that makes somebody want to do something”. Motivation is the driving force, the energy that pushes us to achieve tasks and goals. Motivation can be categorized into two components: intrinsic and extrinsic.

Intrinsic Motivation comes from within. It is something you enjoy doing and it’s easy to keep yourself on task. If you enjoy cooking, you have the enthusiasm to spend time planning the dish, buying the ingredients and creating your dish. While the finished product may look and taste good, it was the satisfaction you got from preparing the meal that inspired you to cook.

Extrinsic Motivation involves external factors influencing your desire to complete the task. You might not enjoy cleaning the house, however, the end result of having a clean house is pleasing. You may not enjoy your job, but the money you are paid is what keeps you getting up for work every morning.

So where do we find motivation? While some people find that they need a personal trainer or life coach to assist them in this process, the reality is SELFMOTIVATION is the key to success! You must find a way to be able to motivate yourself so you can complete those “notso- fun” tasks and achieve your goals.

Here are some tips:

1. Decide
Reflect on a goal and have clear reasons why you want it. The more reasons the better. You must be “hungry” to get the results. Example:

Goal: New job Why do I want this?

New challenge

New environment

Better salary

Better conditions

Professional Growth

2. A major goal with smaller goals
Your main goal must be realistic. Then break it down into smaller goals to be able to track progress. If you want to lose thirty pounds and be fit, it is a result that you will not see after your first week of workouts. Set daily/weekly measurable targets to keep on task.

3. Prepare
To avoid excuses and procrastination, put your organisational skills into practice. This might include preparing your gym bag or organizing the kids’ lunches the night before, or simply putting your running shoes next to your bed so you’re ready to go.

4. Commit
Make a commitment to yourself that you will be disciplined and give it your best shot for a specific time frame. Like your exercise program – promise yourself you’ll stick with it for three months.

5. Flexibility
Avoid the “all-or-nothing” mentality. If you are meant to exercise tomorrow, but something happens and you can’t, don’t give it up for the rest of the week. You may be able to make it up later in the week, but if not, be sure to do all of your workouts the following week.

6. Reward
After your first week, if you complete all your workouts, treat yourself to a massage; or buy yourself a new dress after losing ten pounds. Keep an eye on the prize while you are running on the treadmill!

Following these six steps will give you a better chance of establishing the motivation to achieve results. Andre Carnegie summarized the importance of motivation very well when he said: “People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents.”

Self-motivation is an ongoing process. The more we do it, the easier it gets – so get practicing. It’s all up to YOU!