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Motivation

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore This Dark Method of Motivation

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When you get home from work, what’s the first thing you want to do? Is it to start exercising? Is it work on a new side-hustle? Or is it mastering a brand new musical instrument? I’d actually bet cash that you do NOT want to do a single one of those things. In fact, it’s very likely you want to do the opposite instead – and that’s to slip into your house clothes, hop into a comfy chair, and dive into an exciting show on Netflix or browse social media.

That’s what a normal person wants to do after a hard day’s work, after all. Unfortunately, it’s obvious that neither of those things will improve your life in any regard. Luckily, it’s possible to drop this lazy habit so you don’t get stuck in a swamp of mediocrity for the rest of your life. And all it takes is a bit of an “attitude adjustment” to make it happen.

Your motivation needs some “chutzpa” to get you going

Once a person finishes a task, the natural inclination is to relax. But the problem is that just because the body wants to take it easy doesn’t mean the job is done – and that’s a feeling we can all relate to. 

Unfortunately, this is a never-ending problem that requires the right strategy to counter it. Otherwise, each day you’ll do the same old thing. And that’s to give in to the lazy and child-like response system the human body has. And if you just let your body dictate all your actions, well, it’s just going to seek out junk food all day long and encourage Netflix binges. It’s clear that this is a quick way to a sad and depressed life. So let’s nip this issue in the bud.

“There are no limits to what you can accomplish, except the limits you place on your own thinking.” – Brian Tracy

Motivation nowadays lacks any “edge” to it

Humans are wired to sink into routine and comfort. It’s a way for us to conserve energy so we can put it towards useful things (like escaping tigers). But we don’t live like our ancestors anymore, and it’s obvious we don’t need traits like this in modern settings. Yet despite our lack of need for this characteristic… it’s not going anywhere. We are forever stuck with the tendency to seek the path of least resistance, of instant gratification, and of maximum comfort. Even if it means we have to sacrifice ALL our future success, happiness, and fulfillment because of it.

How to add sharpness to your favorite motivation tactics

The only way out of our lazy haze is by infusing some electricity into our motivation methods. It’s got to be something that actually makes us stop and think about what we want to do at any given moment. That way we don’t just default to laziness – instead, our brain actually does some cost/benefit analysis about whether it’s actually a good idea to binge Netflix for a few hours after work.

I’ve taken some of the most popular motivation tactics out there and gave them some edge so they work FAR more effectively at getting you to take action on your goals. I suggest you give them a shot if your first habit when you get home from work is to kick back and relax the instant you enter the door.

1. Exchange SMART goals for SMARTS goals

While SMART goals are good for clarity and direction, they lack when it comes to motivation. But if you add an extra “S” at the end, you’ve got “stakes” added to the mix. All of a sudden, your new SMARTS goal will drive you to take action as quickly as possible.

Here’s a few ideas to get you going with this, you can use these as springboards to create your own variations pretty easily:

  1. If you succeed at your goal, you get to eat at a nice restaurant. If you fail, then you’ve got to eat a whole raw grapefruit (I hate grapefruits so replace this with whatever works for you).
  2. If you succeed at your goal, you get to take a weekend trip somewhere nice. If you fail, you’ve got to volunteer as a roadside litter picker-upper.
  3. If you succeed at your goal, you get to watch a movie you’ve been excited for. If you fail, you’ve got to watch a boring documentary on a topic you have no interest in.

You get the idea. Just pick something on both sides of the motivation spectrum and you’ll be good to go with your SMARTS goals.

2. Remember your “big why” and your “dark why” as well

People like to talk about the major reason that’s motivating them to take action:

“For my family.”

“To leave a legacy.”

“To do something amazing.”

And that’s all well and good. But people have a “dark” side to them as well, and pretending this side doesn’t exist is basically denying we are people with negative emotions as well.

And that’s a big mistake. There’s a lot of power in negative emotions because they can create action. This action can sometimes be undesirable, but it can also be directed towards goals you want to accomplish. 

Jealousy can drive you to improve your physique. Anger can push you to increase income from a side-hustle. And even gluttony can drive you to exercise more (sometimes when I know I’m about to eat bad, I’ll exercise beforehand to “even it out”). 

It’s all about finding productive outlets for negative emotions. So instead of denying a normal, human part of us instead, find a way to use it to create good in your life and make it even better.

“Put your heart, mind, intellect, and soul, even to your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.” – Swami Sivananda

3. Associate with those who are successful but don’t ignore those you do NOT want to be like

Think of a person in your life who you do NOT want to be like. It could be an incompetent parent. An unreasonable or lazy boss. Or an unethical leader of some kind. So long as this person brings out a sense of shame and disgust, you’ve found a good mark.

Got your person? Perfect. Next time you find your parenting to be lacking… or your after work habits to be lazy… or your managerial style to be shameful… think of this person. Think of how upsetting their actions are and how you are “toeing the line” of being just like them. Once you do this, you’ll instantly find your actions changing so you don’t become like them.

This is actually a pretty powerful motivational technique because it creates both emotion AND action in you. And a combination like this is sure to get you moving so you achieve your goals much more effectively.

Remember that when it comes to motivation, the goal is NOT to feel good or inspired – it’s to take action on your goals. That’s the ONLY goal. And whether the source of that motivation makes you feel positive or gives you anxiety…does it really matter? Results are the name of the game in life. And with these “dark” tactics, I’d expect your own life to have more motivation and success because of it.

Ericson Ay Mires here, and if you’d like to see more motivation advice like this, you owe it to yourself to download the first chapter of my ebook, “Motivation Instinct,” for free - it shows you why typical advice like “just be positive” and “visualize your success” doesn’t work for the average person… and the “dangerous” motivation method I use to create instant, long-lasting motivation to achieve all my goals instead.

Motivation

How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals

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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.

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar

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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Motivation

What Is Dark Motivation and How Can I Use It to My Advantage?

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It’s Thursday, 8 PM. I’m relaxing at home, doing normal things, and scrolling social media. Tomorrow is a big day. There are lots of things to do with moving pieces of furniture because I’m moving to another city. On top of that, a repairman is coming to my house at 8AM, so I’ll have to get up early. (more…)

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Motivation

The Killer Morning Routine to Boost Motivation

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If you’re anything like me, waking up in the morning is a hard task. Over the course of a number of years I’ve built a routine that helps wake me up and keeps me motivated. (more…)

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Motivation

Why “No Pain, No Gain” Is More Powerful Than You Realize

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Chances are you’ve heard the quote “No pain, no gain” before. Especially if you enjoy hitting the gym and getting a nice pump going on. What this means is that in order to make your muscles grow, you’ll have to shred the fibers so they can grow back bigger and stronger. This progress causes physical pain because you’re tearing apart your muscles, but the reward for the pain is always worth it. (more…)

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