I think this is one of the critical mistakes most make when it comes to motivation. No one questions why I should brush my teeth every day. It is well understood that the effect wears off, and for good oral hygiene, you need to clean every day.
Cut to motivation and most will ask, why can't I be motivated for life in one shot? For some goals, you don't need to motivate yourself daily, and for some, perhaps you need hourly reminders of your why. It's okay if you need motivation every day. This need does not undermine your desire for the goal. It takes time before things get done without "needing" motivation.
How often do I need to motivate myself?
In my opinion, it depends on five factors
- The goal/result itself
- The kind of effort required for the goal
- Time factor - how long you have been working on this
- Whether you are pursuing the goal alone or with a like-minded group.
- Lack of clarity on what works as motivation
Let's understand these five factors in detail:
- The importance of the goal/result itself:
Let's face the truth; we work fiercely towards that which is truly important to us. It's not easy to have intrinsic motivation to work towards something that we don't value. At times you may have gaps in motivation levels, but when it's a fundamental goal, you keep coming back to it. If it's not something you truly want, you will seek ways to create gaps and eventually get out of achieving the goal. Having a desire for the end result helps maintain consistency in motivation.
- Kind of Effort required for a goal:
Motivation is affected by the kind of effort required to achieve a goal. Types of energy necessary for a goal: (1) Physical (2) Mental (3) Combination
At times you may be mentally charged up for a goal but are lacking confidence in the physical ability to achieve the goal, at such times an external push helps.
For example, at the beginning of the fitness journey, a personal trainer will motivate us to push our limits. We are okay doing 20 reps, but the personal trainer pushes us to achieve the 30 reps for our sake. You don't need the motivation to get to the gym perhaps, but lack the motivation to break your limits!
At times you are working very hard to find a solution to a problem and feel mentally exhausted. You are motivated to find the answer but need the motivation to look at things differently. A leader/mentor can be a source of motivation here.
- Time Factor
Time is a significant component in motivation level. It's not very difficult to get motivated to study one week before an exam but quite challenging to do it from day one of the academic year. Many require strict deadlines for becoming motivated to complete work.
At times you have worked for very long in a project with no results. As time passes, it only decreases motivation. It's crucial to know the realistic timeline associated with the goal you are chasing.
Another way to look at the time factor is your natural body clock. Perhaps you are naturally motivated in the mornings but need more motivation to complete a task in the afternoon as typically during the afternoons your body wishes to rest.
- Solo or Tribe
When you are on a solo journey, you need to be self-motivated at every step. You need to ensure you follow adequate practices to keep the fuel tank full. When you are part of a tribe, you can feed off someone else's motivation when you are feeling low.
- Lack of clarity as to what works as motivation
Different people have different ways of motivating themselves. Some have precise processes they follow, and some have no idea as to what works as motivation. This lot will struggle with motivation as they have not yet figured out a particular process. Here's the thing, there need not be an only specific process; different days come with different requirements. Maybe on a particular day, you need physical motivation, some days a strong external push, some days just reading an inspiring quote of the day can get the ball rolling. One way to figure out what will work for you is to have a conversation with yourself. Check-in with your mind, body, heart to see what needs to be done. They will let you know what needs to be done so that all showup and function as a team! Having that me time and self-talk goes a long way in ensuring you give yourself the needed motivation to get things done.
Then again, the underlying assumption here is that you want to get things done!
In my opinion, motivation depends on these factors. All of these factors are quite dynamic.
What all can be done to boost motivation?
Motivation needed will not be the same every single day. Some days you may need more, and some days just a little bit will do. Be gentle and kind to yourself. Some days require more coffee. Different days call for different motivation triggers.
Some of the things that help me boost my motivation are:
- A nice cup of tea/coffee and good self-talk
- A relax yoga session
- A hearty run
- Read an inspiring quote or story
- Speak to my mentor/friend, philosopher and guide
- Vent out the demotivating factors to a friend
- Watch a funny show
The common thread in all these activities is that my focus is centered in the present moment. When that happens, the demotivating factors slowly lose their hold over me, and I return to a state of being energized and feeling motivated to carry out all things that need to be completed.
What are some of the things you do to boost your motivation?
How to stay motivated, even if you do not see the results?
Many of us torture ourselves with the question, what is the point of doing all this if I am not getting the results?
- Consciously release the hidden agenda.
Introspect and check if you have a hidden agenda behind the process. Do you want to be a good coach and create impact or are you in for the money? Do you want a healthy lifestyle, or do you want to look prettier than everyone else on Instagram? When your goals are infested with hidden agendas, then the process and the outcome can get misaligned. You are sowing apple seeds when you want oranges. EFT or Tapping is a great way to release unknown hidden agendas.
- Don't be afraid to make changes:
When you set out to achieve a goal, very often you get overly attached to a process even when it's not yielding result. Instead of making some hardcore changes, you somehow wish things to fall in place magically. Change is hard, but make the changes when you start getting strong signals that what you are currently doing will not get you where you wish to be. Speaking to experts, mentor, or coaches can help in identifying redundant processes and creating new productive habits.
- Re-evaluate your timelines - are you expecting too much too soon?
In the age of instant noodles and instant gratification, we do tend to want almost everything instantly. If that feeling of "what's the point" is creeping in, set aside some time to re-evaluate your timelines. Are you putting in the required effort to meet the deadline set by you or have you set an unrealistic schedule? Where is this feeling rooted - is it rooted in you seeing someone else's results, or is it genuinely rooted in your effort & result equation. At times we feel something can be achieved in x amount of time only to realize later that it requires more time. Don't be afraid to re-evaluate your timelines.
Go ahead… fill yourself with motivation and march ahead!