If you remember only one thing today let it be this.
Nobody. Absolutely nobody can motivate you long enough to do anything worth doing or to have anything worth having.
Any achievement worth talking about, writing about or reliving, takes time to create. The type of motivation required to make that time and stick with it is primarily an inside job.
Wait a second.
What about all those people who are out there making a killing motivating others?
I’m glad you asked.
For the few people who change their lives after listening to something motivational, there are many more people who go back to living their lives at status quo. This is because there are two types of people who seek out motivation.
There are those who are already motivated but need a kick in the pants. Motivators make a good living from them but not much because once the kick is delivered, it will be a while before you see them again.
Then there are those who have been convinced that someone else is responsible for getting them to do something or become something.
How can you spot them?
They stop working when the boss stops looking.
They hire a trainer and skip a workout when the trainer takes a sick day.
They stop when they are tired and there is still work to be done.
They live by other people’s schedules.
They ask stupid questions.
… How long do I have to do this for?
… Why are they not doing this?
… Did you do this?
… Do I have to do this, I don’t feel like it?
They start all action statements with ‘we.’
… We should do
… We should go
… We should try
This segment of the population is powered by borrowed motivation and are responsible for making motivators millionaires.
What Does Internal Motivation Look Like In Real Life
It looks like Jennifer Phillips X Factor audition in 2015.
Jennifer had the opportunity to change her life. That opportunity put her in front of four judges. One of whom was Simon Cowell. She had a plan. The judges, starting with Simon Cowell, of course, did not like her plan. They made her change it. She did and she absolutely killed it.
If Jennifer had been powered by the external motivation of her singing coach or friends and family she would have buckled because they were not there at the moment when she was asked to change the plan.
External motivation does not keep your schedule or any schedule for that matter. When you need it, you must go in search of it. Unfortunately, life does not wait. Neither does opportunity.
Internal motivation, if you’ve built it, will always be there. Bright eyed and bushy tailed waiting to propel you forward.
Call to Action
Let today be the day that you let whomever you had tasked with the responsibility of motivating you, off the hook for failing miserably. They were never adequately equipped for the task at hand.
Let today be the day that you hammer the following quote into your soul. “You are essentially who you create yourself to be and all that occurs in your life is the result of your own making.” ~ Stephen Richards
James Clear says that the “environment is the invisible hand that shapes human behavior.” So let today be the day you start to build your internal source of motivation by creating an environment in which it can grow and thrive.
That environment requires the following.
You are required to have big goals. Great goals. Scary goals. You are not required, by anyone, to have big, great or scary ways to achieve said goals. The self-induced requirement that things have to be achieved in difficult environments, stunts the growth of internal motivation.
Set big goals and keep the process of achievement simple and easy and most important, part of what you already do.
The gym should be on your way home and not in the other direction. The healthy food should be at home and the junk food in the store and not the other way round. The good books should be by your comfortable chair and not in the library down the hall.
Alex Mathers writes that “Life is movement. Everything moves. Everything is in a constant state of flux. You must align with such constant change, to align with reality. If you don’t move, you are no longer real. And life will punish you for that. You will feel it.”
One form that punishment will take is having to rely on the motivation of others to do anything or be anything. How awful is that?
Once thinking has been done create an environment that allows for more doing.
For example, once you decide to save money, getting the money to your savings account should be automated. If you have to think about it, you create the opportunity not to act.
Jerry Bruckner says in his book, The Success Formula that, “Once you know your goals you should measure your progress to achieve them. Seeing your favorable progress will serve as positive reinforcement to continue your hard work and seeing negative progress will alert you to something you should change to get you back on track.”
Knowing that you are on the right track, that you’re getting better, does wonders for your internal motivation.
Figure out how to measure your goal. Keep in mind that you are not measuring activity but progress. Not all action is forward and forward is the only action that counts in the pursuit of internal motivation.
For example, measuring how long you worked out is more beneficial than measuring the mere fact that you did work out. Of course, this measurement assumes that working out is a thing that you already do. If it’s not, then measuring how many days you worked out is a better place to start.
Humans are either moving towards pleasure or avoiding pain.
It’s tough to avoid pain when you set big, great and scary goals. Even if you have set the easiest of achievement processes. As you continue to challenge yourself it’s going to get hard. Real hard. You’re going to need to keep your eyes on a reward to keep going.
The habit of focusing on a reward releases dopamine. Psychology Today defines dopamine as a “neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine also helps regulate movement and emotional responses, and it enables us not only to see rewards but to take action to move toward them.”
The reward you establish should not counter the efforts that went into achieving it. That only serves to set you back.
For example, don’t choose to reward yourself for saving money by buying something that empties out your savings account. Don’t reward yourself for achieving a particular weight loss number by gorging yourself on twice the amount of calories.
Celebrate the small things that you’ve done. Celebrate the big things that you’ve done. Celebrate it all. “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate,” says Oprah Winfrey.
The reason for your celebration was not accidental. You intentionally put yourself outside your comfort zone and kept pushing until what you wanted to happen, happened. This act of perseverance should be acknowledged and celebrated.
Celebrations feed the insides where internal motivation resides. Celebrations make you stop. That moment you stop to celebrate your success creates a moment of gratitude. Gratitude is that delightful gift that keeps on giving.
Celebrations are not required to be big, flashy or go on for days. In fact, it’s best if they are kept brief and to the point so they don’t hold you back.
The best time to beat a winner afterall is when they are celebrating.
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