Motivation is a powerful but mysterious force of nature. It is sometimes very easy to become motivated, and you find yourself caught up in a whirlwind of excitement. Sometimes it’s nearly impossible to figure out how to motivate yourself, and you’re stuck in a death spiral of procrastination.
Researchers are beginning to gain a better understanding of the science of motivation. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter (chemical messenger in the brain associated with pleasure), has recently been identified as a powerful motivator. Dopamine has been shown in studies to transmit signals prior to receiving rewards, encouraging us to achieve something positive.
The good news is that contrary to popular belief, self-motivation can be changed, and it isn’t some innate, God-given trait. Research shows that there are some proven ways you can become self-motivated, even when the going gets tough.
Here I am sharing practical actions to help us get more done with less friction.
1. Build Conscious Habits
Because habits are so ingrained in our lives, they have an impact on our motivation. Certain habits or routines we develop encourage motivation, whereas others distract, drain, or de-motivate us.
The solution to staying motivated is to learn how to control your habits. So that you can steer and use them as a tool to create consistent and systematic inputs or actions toward a desired output or outcome.
2. Get Clear with your WHY
When we are working toward our goals, we are usually clear about what we are doing and how we intend to proceed. But one thing is missing, and it is crucial to the journey, and that is your why.
What is your main reason for doing that, and why is it so important to you?
The more compelling your reason, the more determined you will be to complete your journey. For example, I am reaching out to you; my content is reaching out to you via an article. Am I an expert at everything I do? Perhaps not.
Because my why is so clear, I want to use my writing, videos, and courses to help you reach your full potential and ultimate goal. All of these are ways for me to serve you and share my knowledge with you through various mediums, and this is my WHY.
Find a compelling reason to get out of bed every morning and work toward your desired outcome.
3. Goldilocks Rule
According to the Goldilocks rule, humans experience peak motivation when working on tasks that are just beyond their current abilities, but not too difficult or too easy. Humans enjoy challenges, but they should be at the maximum level of difficulty.
Consider running a marathon alongside a professional athlete who has been training in the same field for many years. He has his own schedule and training regimen. Will you be motivated while running alongside him? NO, because you know your chances of winning the marathon are slim.
Consider another scenario: if you are running a marathon with a 10-year-old boy, will you be motivated? No, because you’re going to win the marathon.
However, if you are running a marathon with someone who has the same schedule as you, he is either employed or owns his own business. If you put in the necessary effort, you have a good chance of winning the marathon.
This is similar to motivation when setting goals. If you set goals that you know you won’t be able to achieve, your motivation will fade and you will set goals that are simple to achieve.
Apply the Goldilocks rule to your life; whether it’s your fitness, career, or business, set a goal that is challenging but still attainable.
5. Find Effective Rewards
Assume you work in a gym and have set a goal for yourself to work out for one hour every day. But you are only able to work for 30 or 45 minutes for some reason. Today, however, it is different because you will reward yourself as soon as you reach your goal.
When training dogs or any other animal, the same principle applies: we push their limits, motivate them for the reward, and we can get things done from them.
Even in the corporate world, if an employee reaches a certain milestone, the company will reward them with some sort of bonus or incentive. It motivates them to do even better than before, and they are motivated to achieve that specific goal.
When you achieve a small goal, treat yourself to something you enjoy (a Movie, Favorite snack, a trip or anything else)
5. Learn to manage your stress
Stress can cause brain changes that reduce motivation. According to a recent study, increasing stress levels can reduce motivation to pursue reward by influencing prefrontal cortical activity (the area of the brain that governs the integration of emotion, motivation, and cognition).
Learning to manage stress is one of the most important things you can do to improve your motivation and willpower.
When you are stressed, your body goes into fight or flight mode, encouraging you to focus on short-term goals and outcomes. However, self-control necessitates keeping the big picture in mind.