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Motivation Pt 3. – Staying Motivated!

How to STAY Motivated?

While working on whatever journey you have set out to accomplish, it is important to not take on tasks that are significantly above your capability.  There is a phenomenon in developmental psychology called The Goldilocks Principle that describes the ideal routine for maintaining your motivation.  This theory is based on the children’s story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, where Goldilocks finds a house owned by three bears.  Each bear has its own preference of food and beds. After testing all three examples of both items, Goldilocks determines that one of them is always too much in one extreme (too hot or too large), one is too much in the opposite extreme (too cold or too small), and one is “just right”.

How does The Goldilocks Principle apply to your journey?  Much like the size of the bed and temperature of the food in the story, if one of your tasks is significantly below or far exceeds your capability at the time you attempt it, you may find it boring or discouraging.  These feelings could possibly hinder or halt your progress toward your goal. The mind is a powerful tool but often can be our biggest roadblock.  Tasks that straddle the border of success or failure are most motivating for the human brain.  If you find yourself boring or discouraged with a task at hand, sit back and brainstorm how to pull that task back to your level to maintain peak motivation.  Keeping the Goldilocks Principle in mind when planning your tasks is vital for maintaining long-term motivation for accomplishing your goals.

The Motivation “Wall”

Anyone who has run a marathon has heard of the “The Wall,” when I ran my first marathon I experience it right on schedule at Mile 22.  Chances are, no matter the journey, you will hit speed bumps or roadblocks along the way. It is important to persevere.  Even if the tasks you are preforming are within your scope of capability, your mind will likely tell you to stop if something becomes too challenging.  Rather than giving in to this thought, imagine how good it will feel when the task is done and you have accomplished what you set out to do.  You might consider brainstorming new ways to keep yourself engaged in the task at hand in order to finish.

Everyone has heard the quote “Pain is temporary…” and while it may be cliché it is also true.  Say you have 4 reps in your squat set left, your legs are on fire and you feel defeated.  You muster the energy to finish those last 4 reps, you instantly feel better and stronger knowing that you completed what you set out to do.  This quote applies to so many things in life: working out, cooking, cleaning, even just making it through a shift at work.  When I graduated college and got my first job working 12-hour shifts, I would dwell on how long the days were or how slow the time went.  One of my more seasoned co-workers, who always had a calm demeanor, told me: “there’s nothing you can do about it, you have to be here.  The way I look at it is, I get here and I spend 12 hours of my day here, the time goes just like it would for anyone and after 12 hours, I go home.”  I internalized what he told me and saw the truth in the words.  Push yourself to keep going because it WILL end, and when it does you will feel much better knowing what you accomplished.

DownsizingBri_LanceArmstong_PAINOne last sentiment about hurdling over that “wall,” you will NEVER regret the progress you made, but you will regret what you did not accomplish if you quit.  You see the finish line in the distance, and while you might hate every second along the way when you cross that line you will feel fulfilled.  I have never met someone who told me they felt awful after losing 30 lbs. during their fitness journey, and I likely never will.  A large part of our society gets hung up on the goal and not the journey – anyone can dream of winning a gold medal in the Olympics but few people want to put the work in and train like an Olympian.  You want your 6-pack abs and chiseled back, but you don’t want to grind out at the gym 5x week while maintaining a healthy diet.  You can’t have your goal without the hard work that precedes it, that is life.  If you stick to your schedule, put in the work, push through the “blood, sweat and tears” you will see results and you will live a happier and fulfilled life.

Comment on what factors motivate you to achieve your goals!!

If you need to catch up on the rest of the essay:

Motivation Pt 1 – What is Motivation?

Motivation Pt 2 – How Do I Get Motivated?

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Motivation Pt. 2 – How Do I Get Motivated?

How Do I Get Motivated?

SCHEDULE YOURSELF!  A lot of time and opportunity is wasted on wondering when you will do your next workout (I’ll use exercise as my example, since it is my goal.) If you do not schedule a time and day to work out, you will wake up hoping to “feel like working out.”  Setting a schedule for yourself is fairly painless, and will appeal to your goal-oriented mentality.  Most people, whether they acknowledge this or not, have a goal-oriented mentality.  If I’m doing squat reps at the gym and I set my goal for 5 sets of 7 reps, when I get to that last rep and I’m feeling pretty tired I tell myself it’s “just two more” and I muster the strength to finish.  Some people may jokingly refer to this as their own form of “OCD.”  Either way, set yourself a schedule and stick with that schedule and you will see results.

CONSISTENCY IS KEY!  Once you have your schedule set up, be consistent!  It’s an acceptable practice to have a “cheat day,” just as long as you make that part of your schedule.  I normally reserve my cheat day for Sunday, but if I make an allowance on Tuesday what is to stop me from making a “one time” allowance for Thursday or Friday?  Consistency can become your ritual to meeting your goals.  If your goal is to lose weight, an example routine might be: wake up at 5am, workout from 5:30-6:30, wind down with a shower, head to work from 8:00-4:30, come home, do some stretches or yoga to unwind from work or before bed to clear your mind and “power down” before going to bed early. Rinse and repeat this schedule everyday and it will become normal and you will see the weight loss!

Charles Duhigg notes The 3 R’s of Habit Change in his book The Power Of Habit.

3-Rs-of-Habit-Formation-1024x560

  • Reminder – The trigger that initiates the behavior
  • Routine – The Behavior itself and the actions you take
  • Reward – The benefit you gain from doing the behavior

Stay Tuned for the Third and FINAL part of my Motivation Series!

Backtrack to Part 1 – What Is Motivation?

Progress · Tips

Motivation Pt. 1 – What Is Motivation?

Motivation:Mountain_MandelaQuote

  1. the act or process of motivating : Some students need motivation to help them through school.
  2. the condition of being motivated : employees who lack motivation
  3. a motivating force, stimulus, or influence :  incentive, drive

Some people are born with fierce motivation, they are unstoppable – for the rest of us, motivation is a self discipline.  Anyone can sit down and write a list of “life goals”, they can even further describe the steps to take which will make their goal attainable, but then what?  The hardest part of getting something done is starting.

How often do you make up your mind to do something: “Ok, this is my last good meal tonight and I’m starting my diet tomorrow, I HAVE to lose 10 lbs.”  Does this sound familiar?  There is a quote from The War Of Art by Steven Pressfield that states, “At some point, the pain of not doing it becomes greater than the pain of doing it.”  At what point of repeating “I’ll start tomorrow” do you realize that you will never start and that you feel worse than the day before?  In this post I want to help identify your roadblocks before you get stuck, and help form a detour to your goals!

Am I Doing This Wrong?

There are a lot of misconceptions and personal setbacks when it comes to getting motivated.  Most people expect to “get motivated” and immediately hop up and lose 10 lbs, get that perfect job, finish that novel or simply clean the house – that is not how this works.  Motivation comes AFTER starting a new behavior or habit, not before!  Almost all your friction or frustration occurs at the beginning, after you have decided to start whichever journey you set your eyes on.

You finally decided on a goal – maybe you want to lose weight, or join a direct selling company and transition to working from home.  These are great goals; they’re actually goals I have myself.  So how do you get started?  Do you look up articles on internet forums or YouTube?  Do you buy books to read and highlight or maybe catch an inspirational speaker at your local theater?  These are all good practices to learning a new trade or how to exercise properly, but more often than not, people get stuck on this phase of their journey.  This practice is called passive inspiration: taking in the advice and ideas of other people.  You find a great video on how to start your business from a successful entrepreneur and you watched the entire thing! You feel empowered and motivated but you did not actually start your own business.  Do not get me wrong, learning is a VITAL part of starting anything new, but equally important to learning is actually executing your plan.

What you are looking for is active inspiration: actually taking your knowledge and starting your business, going outside and marketing or setting up shop at a local trade show to get your name in the community.  You can sit and learn everything there is to know about anything, but unless you get up and do work you will never reach that finish line.

There is some debate on how long it takes to develop a habit.  Plastic Surgeon, Maxwell Maltz, published a book that asserts 21 days is the magic number to develop a habit.  A study by the University College London states 66 days is the magic number to develop a new habit.  No matter the number of days, you will not see results tomorrow, and you have to be persistent with your work and goals to succeed.  The roadblock is getting started.  Once you are well on your way to your goal your body and mind often adapt to the changes you have made.  The progress toward your goal will occur naturally, which often makes finishing your task much easier than starting.

Move Along To Part 2 – How To Get Motivated!

Check Out Part 3 – Staying Motivated!