Understanding motivation and how you can make it work for you
The Business Dictionary defines motivation as
“Internal and external factors that stimulate desire and energy in people to be continually interested and committed to a job, role or subject, or to make an effort to attain a goal.”
Motivation is essentially the fuel that drives our behavior, the reason why we do things, and the antidote to complacency.
How can we use this to our advantage? How can we answer the call of motivation and ensure that we’ll have the wherewithal to keep going after our goals when circumstances are less than ideal?
1. Ride the motivational wave.
The concept of the motivational wave was developed by Dr. BJ Fogg who founded the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford University, where he directs research and innovation.
According to his findings,
“When motivation is high, you can get people to do hard things but once it drops, then people will only do easy things.”
Most of us have experienced this additional serving of motivational energy, especially at new beginnings. Whether it’s a new relationship, business venture or lifestyle change, you’re likely to have that brief period of wonderful anticipation where you feel like you can do anything!
The trick is to recognize that this feeling won’t last forever, and capitalize on it while you have it. Knowing that we’re more likely to do easy things in the absence of motivation, you can break down your goals into the smallest possible unit of execution so it doesn’t seem as scary for example pitching your business idea to one new person per day is a lot more manageable than securing funding within a given period of time.
Keeping it simple will encourage you to do the work even when you no longer feel motivated.
2. Identify and eliminate all friction.
In this case, friction refers to all those obstacles, excuses or even legitimate reasons that are most likely to come between us and our goals.
Maybe you’ve been unable to go to the gym as often as you’d like because you have children to take care of. Eliminating friction could involve solutions such as enlisting the help of a nanny or finding a workout program that you can do from the comfort your own home.
Eliminating all friction makes it that much easier for you to stick to your plans because it will require less mental energy to convince yourself to do the work if there are no hurdles left to jump.
3. Plan for failure.
As we all know, the road to success is often built on a foundation of trial and error, which is also unfortunately the biggest killer of motivation.
Expecting and planning for failure involves mental preparation and the knowledge that we may have to face some unforeseen speed bumps along the way.
What will you do when you fail? Will you give up entirely or will you learn your lessons and correct course? Will you talk to a friend, or get professional help?
Just knowing that you have options and that you don’t have to give up on your dreams just because things didn’t go as planned could be the catalyst to your next motivational wave and ultimate success!