First of all, what motivates you? What makes you want to do something big in your life or take some new action? What excites you enough to do that? What about the idea of changing your life in a positive way? Does that excite you? And what if I told you you’d need to make some major life changes to get there? Would you have the drive to follow through on it and change your life? What would help you to get there? What would inspire you to take not just the first steps, but to continue?
Motivation is Different for Everyone
There have been times in my life that I trained for races and had to motivate myself through that. Other times I’ve realized I needed to do bigger things like divorce my husband of 7 years. It really doesn’t matter what you are doing or what’s moving you in that direction – it all takes some level of motivation to do it. For some, motivation to do a race and all that it entails would be more work than the motivation it takes to follow through on a divorce in an unhappy marriage, but for some it’s the reverse. We are all different, but the essential elements and steps it takes to get there are generally the same.
Our Personal Challenges
Personally, my most challenging battle has always been with my weight and finding the motivation to make changes to help me with weight loss, or just maintaining my weight. We all have our vices and ‘addictions’, and chocolate and ice cream are definitely mine. However, I do find that if I can maintain motivation and momentum, while also allowing myself some of these vices (I found sugar-free and low-cal alternatives), I can be successful on some level. Not always, but as I discuss below, I bring myself back to these essential elements that will get me there.
The 5 Elements
I’ve outlined here what I believe are the 5 most essential elements for motivation. I think that these all need to be fairly constant to keep someone moving forward, but everyone is different. In other words, as in number 1 below, you might be initially inspired, but you may need to be re-inspired regularly throughout the process. Think about how to incorporate all these elements when you set a new goal for yourself, to help yourself achieve what you set out to do, and to STAY motivated.
- Inspiration– That spark or moment that you see what you want and are excited by it. Motivation is defined as a force or influence that causes someone to do something, and I believe that “influence” is inspiration. So in other words a person, place, or thing that influences us to feel an emotion that inspires us. Inspiration moves us to motivation, which in turn leads us to taking some sort of action. Inspiration can come from anywhere too. It can come from pain and suffering, from competitiveness, from love…or from just seeing that you deserve the life that you dream about. So a place of self-love.
- Desire– You begin to see how change could impact your life in a positive way, and you start to want something better for yourself.That is key. You have to want your life to be better. Even if it will also make other’s lives better, you have to have that underlying feeling that it will also improve your life in some way. You need to have a thirst for it! Something that is missing in your life that you feel you can have. Something that you want that you know you deserve.
“I don’t have to settle. I don’t have to tolerate the life I have, even if it’s good. I want great!” – Tony Robbins
- Belief– The moment that you have full faith that you can have/do/be whatever it is you want. Believing that it is possible for you to have a better life, and that you are capable of making the changes needed to get there is vital. You also have to believe that you DESERVE better. That you deserve to be happy! Desire to have it is one thing, but moving into the belief that you can achieve it is essential. It may take time to get there, but you need to work on keeping the faith.
- Focus– Mentally preparing yourself for the journey, the process – what it will take to get there/do it – as well as staying centered on the final vision of what you want. This is really the most challenging part, depending on what you feel inspired to do, or to change. It can mean walking away from partners or spouses, cutting off friendships, looking for new jobs, moving, starting a new business, quitting bad habits, starting good habits, saying NO, and really just pulling out our strongest most empowered self to do some heavy lifting. It can be emotionally stressful, physically challenging, and spiritually and mentally draining. But it’s a matter of embracing it all and moving through it, learning from it, and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. That’s where focus will keep you on track. Focus is about visualizing and seeing yourself achieving the end goal to help you move through the hard stuff.
Change can be Hard
I will say that the big changes I’ve made in my life were so wonderful in the long run, but in the moment, sometimes they were awful. But if I wasn’t clear in my vision of what I wanted for myself and what I could have in the future, I couldn’t have done it. So, while you do have to be in the moment and move through the emotions (and pain) of change, you should always keep that light burning up ahead. That light of greater things in your future.
You should always remember that “this too will pass”. There will be an end to the misery. I know it’s hard for some people to make the choice to have misery in the moment so they can be happier in the long run. We are sometimes put in painful situations to get clear, to get inspired, and to get motivated to change. So keep focused on the goal and not the pain.
“Pain pushes until the vision pulls.” – Michael Bernard Beckwith
- Drive– to set into motion or carry on energetically. Maintaining forward momentum even if you take steps backward at times. This is when we lose people. This is really where the brunt of the ACTION is at with motivation. It’s all about continuing on your path. It’s the slow progress sometimes of one foot in front of the other. It might feel painful, it might feel tedious, and it might feel like you aren’t making any progress sometimes. However, you have to continue to at least take small steps to move forward. You can’t throw in the towel. You have to do the work to make progress. The steps above will help you the most with this essential step though. Remind yourself of what inspired you. Remember what your desire is – what you want to achieve. Reaffirm to yourself that you CAN do it. Have the end goal vision in mind. Because even at those time that we slide backwards on this step, we can get back on track using the other steps. But it is essential to maintain your drive forward. Don’t give up. You CAN do this!
The Steps will Guide you
So while this isn’t a step by step process or even a guarantee that you’ll stay motivated, it’s good to understand what the basic steps are and how and why we do what we do. There are times you will lose sight of the vision. Times you won’t feel inspired. Times you will lose your desire. Times you will slide backwards or quit even. But if you can get yourself back through the steps I’ve listed above, you can get back on track and stay on track. When things get cloudy for you, go back to the original inspiration and that desire you had. Drum up the belief again that you can do it. Look at how far you’ve come already! Pat yourself on the back once in a while! Because once you find your focus again, you’ll be driven forward. And who knows, maybe you’ll even inspire others?
Another post you may enjoy is – 4 Ways to Keep Yourself Motivated and Committed to Your Goals
And a recommended book would be The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey