I find that motivation can be a tricky thing.
We all want it. We set our goals. We have our dreams. And then we try to fill the gap by pouring in motivation.
But of course, it isn’t as easy as one might think. Being motivated can be hard. So ultimately, you’ve got to make sure you’re doing it right!
So here I will highlight the 7 motivation killers that are dragging you down. This should help you weed out the things that have been leaching on your motivation all this time.
What May Be Killing Your Motivation
1. People who put you down
Straight up. Avoid these people. They’re simply insecure to the point that they’ve to take it out on the world as they’re afraid of other people’s success.
Eliminate these people in your life and create a healthy environment for yourself.
2. Negative news
It’s a sad thing that most of the news we read today are just bad or sad. We’ve natural disasters, corrupted politicians and a random innocent victim who got robbed. It’s a small wonder people lose their confidence or even get depressed.
Do yourself a favour and stay away from the news. You may be “wired” to be attracted to bad news or drama, but why upset yourself further by reading up on such things? You don’t need a clear visual on what you already know is going on out there.
3. Friends who are way too comfortable
Sometimes, your close friends could be dragging you down. Sure, they’re there for you and provide you a comfortable relationship.
But that could be the problem. Too much comfort may be holding you back as you feel you need not push yourself since everyone around you is the same.
Remember: comfort and stability is overrated. Find people from other walks of life who can motivate you.
4. The past
Whatever that happened has happened. The past and its people stays there. It does not exist.
Don’t let time you’ve lived already lived through get you down. Stop thinking about it.
If anything, everything that was meant to happen was perfectly made to prepare you for the life you’re meant to live. So be present.
5. The future
And conversely, the future can be a big motivation killer.
Some of us tend to think too much and over analyze everything. As such, our expectations get out of hand.
You can’t ever predict the future. Even the most assured person in the world looks both ways when he crosses the road. So embrace uncertainty and just keep doing your best. The rest will take care of itself.
6. Thinking that trying is not enough
I personally disagree when people say something like, “Don’t try. Just do.”
First, it doesn’t make sense because everything starts from trying.
And secondly, there’s nothing wrong with trying. It’s certainly better than when you don’t at all.
So take it one step at a time. Try first, for failure only comes when you stop trying. Pretty soon, you’d have done many great things.
7. The chase
We often go awry when our eyes are on the prize, so much so we’re blind to everything else.
Be it money, love, status or whatever, we need to realize that there’s a fine line between having an aim and having an obsession. The latter is what a lot of us slide into.
Know this: Success doesn’t bring happiness, but happiness always brings success.
Once in a while, remember to instead enjoy the process, have some fun and not take life so seriously.
What has been a major motivation killer for you? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comment section below.
How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals
Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.
What is Motivation?
The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.
Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).
Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.
However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals.
How to Get Motivated
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.
This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.
4 Ways to Make Starting Easier
1. Schedule it
One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it.
When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.
An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”
2. Measure something
It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.
3. Extrinsic motivation
This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.
4. Make it public
Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.
How to Stay Motivated Long Term
When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.
These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:
1. Stay in your goldilocks zone
The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.
For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging.
The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.
2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals
Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within.
For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.
3. Use “chunking”
Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.
Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.
For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.
4. Be flexible
We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.
5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion
Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.
This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.
Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.
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