How to Stay Motivated

September 22, 2015

Often times, when I am trying to gain a deeper understanding of a concept or idea, I like to start by looking at the definition its root word(s).

mo·tive

1. a reason for doing something, especially one that is hidden or not obvious.

1. producing physical or mechanical motion.

It is truly amazing to see how many of the answers exist in the language we use everyday. Before Googling “motive”, I was thinking about how to explain motivation as a form of faith…as believing in something that cannot be seen, but holds the true value of dedicating yourself to a practice (exercising, meditating, budgeting etc.). Luckily, the above definition explains it to us with one word: reason.

Most of the time, we are most motivated when we first make a strong conviction or powerful decision about where we are going to go or who we are going to become. Why is this motivated feeling so real and present early on, but seems to fade and lose its luster days or weeks down the road? It’s because the initial REASON that the conviction was made is still very fresh in our minds and so the inspired feeling is right there by our side.

Inevitably, the surge of motivation is reduced to a slow drip and that is usually the time that we skip a gym day; put off meditating; take an early cheat day on our diet, etc. Fortunately, we can derive a few helpful strategies to help keep us going in times of motivational downturn from the very definitions of the word “motive” (Hint: the first two tricks point to “motive” as a noun, and the second two to “motive” as an adjective).

1. Set Up Reminders!!!

Find ways to refresh your memory of why you are embarking on your journey. You can be practical and stick up some Post-Its with words and phrases that express the “meaning behind your mission”. You could leverage technology by finding your favorite motivators on Instagram or Twitter and flood your feed with their musings. You can even go full-on New Agey and create your very own VISION BOARD!

2. Get REALLY excited about SMALL payoffs

While the grand vision of you delivering yourself as your own personal champion to a raucous crowd of spectators may be the initial earthquake that sets off the tsunami of inspiration, the reality is that most of your victories are going to be personal, tiny and unsexy. So it behooves us to learn to cherish the value of small steps in the right direction. Sometimes being able to look in the mirror and say “I’ve been doing things differently for the past six months” IS the trophy!

3. Dedicate yourself to a SMALL, humble practice

I can relate to how you probably first felt when you decided to make that big change. You’re going to set the world on fire; kill three birds with one stone; swing for the fences. The truth is that those momumental efforts, while grandiose in theory, are completely unsustainable in practice. By committing to something that is easy to maintain and well within your capabilities, you will build momentum, confidence and a platform from which to ramp up your efforts.

4. Create a Support System

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could put the whole globe on your shoulders and make the world turn? So you could try to make that happen OR you can make it easier to go for the long haul by getting the people, places and things around you that can bear some of the load. A machine under too great a stress for too long is bound to break down. By distributing the load over a greater surface, you can keep coasting when things are even keeled and leverage your supporters to gear up when the challenge is tough.

The first two tips keep your REASON constantly in your line of sight, while the second two keep you in MOTION. You see, the way to keep your motivation is simply not to rely on it! Instead, believe truly and deeply in your REASONS and pace yourself to be able to stay in MOTION. Well, those are my insights on this topic. What has your experience been with motivation? What techniques do you use to keep inching towards the goal?

In spirit and sport,

Mitchel

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