Oh, motivation. Moooootivation. Mo-ti-va-tion. A thing of dreams, Pinterest quotes, and Instagram captions. We want you, hope for you, and pray for you, all with no idea of how to get more of you. That’s why we’re going to spend some time today talking bout how to master motivation (and where you might be going wrong).
Maybe you go to bed with the intention of getting to the gym before work, only to end up pressing snooze until you’ve got just 10 minutes to wake-up-get-dressed-brush-teeth-slam-coffee-and-head-out-the-door.
You may have even put “grocery shop & meal prep” in your calendar for Sunday, but by the time it rolled around, binge watching the latest season of Black Mirror on Netflix sounded way better.
So now it’s Monday and you’re berating yourself for not having more motivation. This is the first point of clarity: motivation isn’t something you have, it’s something you create. And that is what today’s post is all about.
To learn more about motivation, I went to my guy, Brendon Burchard. Brendon is one of the world’s leading high performance coaches and he studies high performers. (Check out his book, High Performance Habits). It stands to reason that high performing people are pretty motivated, and so we all might have something to learn from their ways of thinking and behaving.
What I’m going to do today is break down Brendon’s 6 Keys to Motivation, talk about where you might be going wrong, and most importantly, what to freaking do about it.
(P.S. If you feel like I’m speaking directly to you when it comes to the “where you might go wrong” section, there’s no shame. By being here, reading this article, you’re taking the first step. Some of the unproductive habits or mindsets that I describe below are exactly what we help our clients work through in Nutritional Freedom: Foundations.)
1. Ambition: Set goals and set them often.
Where you might go wrong: If you spend time thinking about motivation, I bet you’re already setting goals. But setting goals doesn’t automatically lead to achieving them. And achieving our goals doesn’t necessarily lead to the fulfillment we hope for!
What to do:
- If you’re not setting goals, start. Create a rhythm around when you set goals and when/how you check in and track progress. Think about the forms of internal and external accountability you need to bring in to set yourself up for success.
- Set goals that are in alignment with your values, which describe and provide clarity around the life you truly want to lead.
- Start by setting process or action goals instead of outcome goals. You have autonomy over your actions, but you may not always control the outcome. (We’ll talk more about setting health goals next week.)
2. Expectancy: Believe that you can actually achieve these goals and expect that you will.
Where you might go wrong: You let our past history dictate your future. The evidence of your past failure serves as the reason why you won’t succeed in the future and why it’s futile to even try. This type of thinking will always keep you stuck.
What to do:
- Focus on cultivating a growth mindset and enhancing the belief that your skills and capabilities are not fixed, but filled with endless potential. The more you fail, the more you learn and the more you grow.
- Pay attention to your language. The language you use with others and even in your own self-talk is powerful. If you talk about how you’ve always been an emotional eater, that becomes a life sentence, not a description of past patterns.
- Use daily affirmations to stay focused on the future and to put on blinders to anything that might derail you.
3. Focus: Check in on your goals daily.
Where you might go wrong: Most likely, you’re just not doing this.
What to do:
- Create a routine for a daily check in. Is this something you’ll do every morning before you head to work or every evening before you go to bed? Make it part of your life’s rhythm.
- Have a daily reminder of your goals. Post them somewhere in your house, at work, or put an alarm on your phone that’ll remind you of what you’re working toward.
- Write down your goal every single day in present tense, as if you’re already doing it.
4. Effort: Take action to create momentum.
Where you might go wrong: We’ve got two options here: either you’re straight up not taking action, or you’re taking continued action but you’re not creating real change in your life.
What to do:
- If you’re not taking action toward your goals, start by implementing the strategies I’ve described above.
- If you’re still not taking action, go back and reevaluate your goals and/or get clarity on your values.
- If you’re taking action but it’s not creating change, ask yourself if you’re truly engaged in that daily action. Doing something (journaling, exercising, eating nourishing foods) to “check the box” does not feel the same as taking action when you’re plugged in mentally and physically.
5. Attitude: Maintain optimism and positivity.
Where you might go wrong: Maybe you don’t know how to manage your thoughts or feel your feelings. You might not even be aware of your thoughts and the implications they have on every aspect of your life.
What to do:
- Figure out what you think! Every day for the next week, sit down for 10 minutes a day and do a brain dump of your thoughts.
- Optimism and positivity are important, but they’re not the only emotions you’ll experience in life. Work on becoming ok with feeling negative emotions, and learn how to best come back from them.
- Think about the circumstances in your life that lead to you feeling negative emotions. How can you either change those circumstances or change how you think about them?
6. Environment: Set yourself up for success through your physical space and the people in it.
Where you might go wrong: You might not be aware of how your environment is affecting your motivation. And even if you are aware of it, it doesn’t mean that change is easy.
What to do:
- Audit your physical space. What can you do (big or small) to improve your physical environment? If your office is a wreck, start by simply clearing your desk. Then block off a day on your calendar to take care of the rest. When that day comes, do it.
- Audit the people in your real life. Start by building an awareness of who positively impacts your life and who doesn’t. What can you do to change this circumstance, or at least change how you think about it? If the idea of “cutting someone out of your life” is scary (I get it), can you focus on adding more positive people to your network?
- Audit your social media influences. This one’s easy: unfollow anyone who makes you feel like crap, or anyone who makes you believe in ideas that aren’t in alignment with your values. Do it now. You’ll be amazed at the difference.
I hope this got your wheels turning with some ways to be someone who generates motivation instead of simply wishing for it! And if you’re ready to do the work, get started with this worksheet!