Motivation is the ability to act to achieve your goal.
Successful people have the ability to motivate themselves, but why can they motivate themselves in one area of their life, but can’t motivate themselves in other areas?
Is there a secret set of rules for motivation?
I was recently working with a client who was highly motivated and successful in his career; he would happily sell himself during a job interview, he was motivated to meet deadlines and enthused to make everything he did count, but unmotivated when it came to his health. He wouldn’t exercise, diet or drink enough water, even though his goal was to lose weight!!
What is the secret to motivation? How do you motivate yourself to take action, to be more successful and to keep going when the going gets tough?
These 3 rules for motivation will change the way you approach task and goals, creating instant motivation that will kill Mr. Procrastination and bring alive Mr. Action:
Rule #1: Win the fight – Mr. Procrastination vs Mr. Action
We live each day with 2 invisible buddies, Mr. Procrastination and Mr. Action. These twin brothers have the power to motivate or demotivate you, but with great power comes great reasonability. The only weakness Mr. Procrastination and Mr. Action both possess is that only one can be in the room at the same time. The room of course is in your head! In the fight to get into the brain-room, how is the winner chosen? The winner is chosen by what you focus on
“I know for sure that what we dwell on is who we become”. – Oprah Winfrey
In work, my client would focus on the challenge of the task, the enjoyment of the outcome of his project, the ability to use his skills and knowledge to make a difference to the business. He would also focus on building his career reputation as a professional problem solver
Rarely did he think about potential mistakes, getting it wrong or what others may say about his work. This is Mr. Action at his best – think positive and create action
When thinking about dieting the clients focus changed. Instead of thinking about the challenge of dieting, the enjoyment of the outcome of his new health regime, his health, fitness and longer life, he would instead think about the negatives.
Mr Procrastination relishes the negative thoughts. My client couldn’t take action as his focus was on the pain of dieting; being hungry, not enjoying soggy old lettuce and the bland boring taste from a cold weltering salad dish.
Rule 1: Change Your Focus To Win The Motivational Fight
Rule #2: Make Mr. procrastination work for you
Mr. Procrastination isn’t evil. He is a superhero or protector, keeping you away from danger. He can predict future problems, potential pain and hard work. This foresight stops you taking action on something that you wouldn’t, in the short term, enjoy. Procrastinations kryptonite is his attention to detail. Once focused, Mr. Procrastination can’t let go. One problem leads to another. Pain equals more pain. Once caught in Procrastinations trap, it’s hard to escape.
“Vision without action is daydream. Action without vision is nightmare”. – Japanese Proverb
All superheroes carry out their duties for the better good. Whisper in Procrastinations ear and he will work for you. When you want to diet, focus on what problems you will have if you don’t diet and allow Mr. Procrastination to get carried away with himself; bad diet = bad health, bad health= clogged arteries, clogged arteries = heart attack…
Rule 2: Focus on The Pain of Not Taking Action To take Action
Rule #3: Mr. Action always chases the carrot
Procrastination gets your engines running. We are highly motivated to get away from pain. Imagine this scenario; You have recently been diagnosed with a curable illness, you simply need to choose which medication to take. The doctor explains that medicine one has a 65% success rate with few side effects and medicine two has a 35% failure rate with few side effects. Which would you choose?
Most people would choose medicine one with a 65% success rate, even though the odds for both of the medicines success rate are the same, because we are more motivated to move away from pain.
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world”. – Mahatma Gandhi
Pleasure is also motivational – the donkey will chase the carrot. Mr. action thrives when chasing his carrot, creating lots of motivation for you to take action.
Mr. action will motivate you by getting you to focus on the outcome(s) of taking action. My Clients Mr. Action told him “When you eat salad and exercise you will feel good about yourself; your own self worth will increase, you will perceive that others will find you more attractive and research shows that attractiveness plays on unconscious part in the success of a job interview outcome, which can only help your career…”
Rule 3: The More Pleasure You Associate to Your Goal The More Mr. action Will Kick In
My client already had a strategy for success. He simply needed to use his career success formula – focusing on the pleasure of completing task and the pain of not taking action, with dieting by focusing on the positives of exercise and good food (becoming more healthy, living longer) and the pain of eating takeaways (being unhealthy and dying at an early age).
When you feel stuck, change your focus and follow the 3 rules for motivation. Think of the pain of not completing the steps towards your goal and pleasure of achieving your outcomes and let Mr. Procrastination and Mr. Action work for you, rather than against you.