Is Your Motivation There For You When You Need It?
In the face of Covid-19 most of us are under a completely new regime. This can be tough and motivation at times like this can be sadly lacking.
?Eight minute watch
Hello, I’m Gordon The Happiness Guy. A short while ago I shot the vide below, it’s part 1 of a two part series about motivation. At the moment I’m hearing from people that under lockdown, the new routine – or lack of it – is causing problems with their motivation.
This video is really important right now because many of you have the time and the opportunity to finally overcome the things that stop you doing what you need and want to do. In the Vlog I talk about how the cause might not actually be motivation itself! Oh and if your motivation isn’t showing up then the best version of you isn’t showing up either.
Watch the video to hear some mind hacks to help you approach it differently.
This is part of one a two part series, so I’ll add part two next week (edit it’s now here). In the meantime get started with this video and you might find yourself making the most of this time before you know it.
I’m available here for any questions. If you prefer to read what I’m talking about, there is a transcript of the video below
Hi it’s Gordon. I’m The Happiness Guy and I want to shoot you a pretty quick video about motivation; and how to have more motivation.
So if you struggle with it, this is going to be the video for you.
What is motivation? It is the feeling that exists in advance of doing the thing you need to do, to get something you want or to get progress in some way.
The problem with motivation is that it’s quite fleeting. It’s a little bit unreliable. It doesn’t show up when you would love it to show up. So often we just don’t feel like it.
As an aside, if you are using motivation as your primary strategy to get things done you might not have a brilliant life. Have you? Motivation is pretty transient, it can be quite flimsy and it’s certainly not robust. There are things other than motivation that make a big difference to getting things done. I’ll talk about that in a separate video because I promised today would be motivation!
Today we are talking about motivation but what we describe as motivation is usually one or more of four different things that when combined make the biggest difference to you having higher levels of motivation.
The first one is belief. When motivation is lacking there’s a lack of belief. So either you’ve got a lack of belief that the thing you are thinking of doing will work; or you have a lack of belief that you will do it consistently enough so that it works.
If you have a lack of belief then motivation is going to fall. That’s the first thing. We’ll come back to this in terms of how to improve on it.
Number two is lack of clarity. If you don’t know exactly what you want or need to do, you are usually not going to do it. As soon as you are uncertain about something you don’t engage. You will often go away and do something else instead. This is where procrastination will show up – we know there is something we should do, however as we’re not quite sure how to do it, we go and do something else. Lack of clarity is really problematic if we are going to be motivated. So we need to know exactly what we are going to do, and when we are going to do it and perhaps for how long and maybe we need to make the thing we are going to do smaller than we think.
The third thing is purpose. Let’s take something like getting fit or losing weight; they are the things that we might care about. We don’t care so much about going for the walk that will cause the weight loss. It is the underlying purpose that makes the walk important.
Going for the walk itself is not really what you want … though you might come to enjoy it. What you really want is the outcome of going for the walk. So you must tie the task very directly in your mind to what it is you want. You have to link them together in your brain: ‘I’m doing this so that I get that’. It needs to be really clear to you how the activity ties to the purpose and afterwards you need to tell yourself well done! This self praise serves as positive reinforcement and generates positive emotion. It’s this positive emotion that will help you be more motivated the next time you come to do this task.
The next component that’s problematic when it comes to motivation is having competing purposes. When it comes to purpose you have more than one. You have many purposes! They compete. You often don’t know which one is the most important or perhaps you have got them in the wrong order? Competing purposes are competing priorities and will often be enough to stop you in your tracks. If you are struggling to do something, it is often that you have not got it prioritised highly enough in your own head.
If it keeps coming up and up and up and it isn’t getting done then something you are telling yourself is not quite true. It clearly is important to you, so you need to stop de-prioritising it and you do this by getting clear on your priorities otherwise you may well spend a significant amount of your life in regret and feeling bad. So put it to where it needs to be.
You must look after yourself – you are important and if you prioritise things in the right order to care for yourself it will help you be the best version of you.
Belief, clarity and purpose are joined by the fourth thing that is often missing when it comes to motivation. Energy!
I think that is one of the biggest things we miss in day to day life. If we had more energy, what would we get done!?
We describe it as ‘I don’t have the motivation.’ But in reality it is often not that. The truth is “motivation” as you are seeing is often too vague so we stay stuck.
Instead the reason it’s not getting done is that we don’t have the belief, or we don’t have the clarity or we don’t have the purpose or we have competing purposes, or we simply don’t have the energy.
If you don’t have the energy there are a couple of ways round that.
You can think about where in my day do I schedule it? Do I schedule it earlier so that I have more energy or do I do it in such a way that it doesn’t take much energy? And perhaps by doing the thing in a particular way you get more energy.
For example lots of people don’t exercise because they tell themself they haven’t got the energy. They are often exhausted by the end of the day and they think they have to go to the gym and exercise hard for an hour. They can’t face that, so they don’t do it and they beat themselves up mentally and emotionally and their energy gets even more drained. They may do this for months or years.
Instead when it comes to energy ask yourself the question:
‘How can I get more energy?’
I do this all the time with exercise. Gentle stretching would absolutely do it, going for a walk would do it. Doing exercise for a fairly short space of time (doesn’t have to be an hour / doesn’t even need to be half an hour). You just need to form the habit.
Once something is a habit you don’t need motivation, but until it is a habit, you do. So make it small, so that the energy cost is small. Do it in such a way that you feel good, energised and refreshed after it. I do exercise in the morning before I start working, so that I feel how I want to feel. Then I have more energy, not less through the day.
MOTIVATION OCCURS AFTER THE EVENT
There’s a fifth component (yes I know I said there were only four).
The last component when it comes to motivation is that it doesn’t show up until AFTER you have done something. Nature really didn’t do us any favours with this one! You need to take action first, to have a positive experience in relation to the action taken for motivation to grow.
Most people expect to be motivated in advance. Sadly that is not how it works. Motivation will show up after you have done the thing.
So until you’ve done “the thing” a number of times, you need to give yourself that nudge, that push through those first couple of times. Once you have done that then motivation will start to show up in advance but until then it is not going to be present.
So these 5 components are the problem with motivation.
So if you tell yourself a better story, instead of saying ‘I don’t feel like it’ or ‘I’m not motivated’, work it out – examine the components. Is it that your belief is lacking and if so see how you can improve it. Or is clarity lacking and if so how can you get more clarity? Or if purpose is lacking, work out how the thing you’re struggling to do links to what really matters. Or if it’s energy that’s lacking. schedule it, or do it in such a way that you have got more energy.
If you approach something that you are trying to get done with those components in mind then I am certain that you are going to have a much better outcome.
I’m going to shoot another quick video immediately after this one on my preferred strategy for motivation. I think you’ll like it… well maybe 😉
If you have any queries and I can help then I’d love to. Send me a text or an email, otherwise have a fantastic day!