Motivation. Oh boy do I love that word when I am excited to do something. And oh boy do I hate that word when I dread to do something! What exactly is motivation and how do we get motivated when we are at a standstill? Motivation is an internal or external trigger that propels us to get in action. It could be something we say or think to ourselves, or something we see or hear in the outside world that sets off the trigger. Regardless of what the trigger is, there are three distinct reasons we are actually going to be motivated to do something: DESIRE, NECESSITY, or POSSIBILITY.
We are motivated to do something based on desire when we want something badly. Necessity pushes us to do something because we feel we need to do it and have no choice in the matter. And finally, possibility is when we do something simply because it is available for us to do!
Depending on context, we do various things in our lives due to desire, necessity and possibility, however we usually have a preference that actually motivates us to take action. Think about the most recent activity you were extremely motivated to do and ask yourself if you did it because you wanted to do it, needed to or because it was possible for you to do. You will be able to pick an answer.
So why is this all important? Because if you want to get yourself motivated to do something when you are stuck, whether it is going to the gym, getting outside after a long winter, or getting a massage when your to-do list is half a mile long, you must first understand how you specifically get motivated.
I am usually extremely motivated when it comes to necessity. This is quite common with mothers because although we don’t necessarily love or want to do the chores we do, we feel we have to or else our children will not be taken care of. I am not motivated to do laundry because I want to, I do it because I feel I have to. So if I really want to go have lunch with my girlfriend but see the four piles of laundry lying on the floor in front of the laundry room, I will not go to lunch. I will be more motivated to do what I need to do rather than what I want to do. If my motivational preference were desire, I most likely would be more motivated to go for lunch with my friend and figure out the laundry situation when I get home.
When we take a good look at the last items on our to-do lists, we usually did not complete them because we either did not have time or were not motivated enough. As parents we tend to blame lack of time for pretty much everything we don’t get around to doing. Although time can be quite limited, if you really think about it, most people make time for everything they are truly motivated to do! So if you are stuck and lack motivation in getting something accomplished, here are three steps to help get yourself into gear.
- Find out what your general preference is when you don’t have a problem to be motivated to do something. Did you do it because you wanted to, needed to or simply because it was possible?
- Apply that motivational strategy to what you are stuck in. For example, if your general preference is necessity and you want to start working out but you can’t get yourself motivated to go, you will have to have enough compelling reasons of why you NEED to get to the gym. It is imperative to make that list, because once you realize the need, you will be motivated to do it. The more on the list, the quicker the motivation. Same works for the other preferences.
- Keep that list handy so that you continue to enforce the reasons that fit your motivational preference until your once struggle turns into habit and ultimately pleasure!
So what are you waiting for? Go and get motivated!