6 Questions to kick start your motivation in difficult times
To set and achieve your goals you must kick-start your motivation, without it, it can lead to struggles within your life.
Motivation could be inspired by outside forces such as other people or rewards. Inspiration could come from within, e.g., to improve at a certain activity. Internal motivation tends to drive people more strongly, the successes are more fulfilling.
One framework used for understanding motivation is the hierarchy of needs proposed by American psychologist Abraham Maslow in 1943. According to Maslow, humans are inherently motivated to better themselves and move toward expressing their full potential—self-actualization—by progressively encountering and satisfying several levels of need from the most fundamental, such as for food and safety, to higher-order needs for love, belonging, and self-esteem.
Maslow extended the theory to include a need for self-transcendence: People reach the pinnacle of growth and find the highest meaning in life by attending to things beyond the self. Although the universality of Maslow’s theory has been challenged, many believe it captures fundamental truths about human motivation. (Psychology Today)
Setting and Achieving Goals
Failing to finish a goal is sometimes due to the way it was set. But there are a few psychological tricks that can help you set and reach those goals.
- Attached the goal to a value, such as the value of supporting your local community or fighting climate change.
- Set your goal as an asset to be gained rather than a threat to be avoided. For example, instead of thinking, “I shouldn’t bother my boss, so we can avoid a rocky relationship,” try thinking, “I want to learn new communication skills to reset our relationship.
- Try setting a learning goal instead of a performance goal; instead of deciding to lose 20 pounds, decide to learn more about nutrition and cook two healthy recipes each week.
- Try attaching the goal is attached to a life value.
Setting YOUR Goal
How do you decide on your goals? Are they inspired by what your peers are doing? Are they set by authority figures in your life? Where your goals come from has a big impact on whether you’ll achieve them. One place they could come from is your own life values.
Values are not the same as goals.
Values – the principles that help you to decide what is right and wrong, and how to act in various situations (Cambridge Dictionary definition)
It’s important to know what big-picture things matter to you overall so they can help guide you.
Goal – a purpose, or something that you want to achieve (Cambridge Dictionary definition)
Ask yourself, are your goals based on your larger life values? If not, make some adjustments. If your goal reflects a value, you hold deeply, you’re more likely to be successful than if your goal is just another “should” to cross off on your to-do list.
Make the goal about a challenge, not a threat.
If your goal is based on intimidation, you’re less likely to achieve it than if it’s based on a challenge. Here are some examples:
- Threat: If I don’t decrease my blood pressure, I’ll likely have a heart attack.
- Challenge: I want to decrease my blood pressure so I can improve my quality of life.
- Threat: I need to improve with my studying because I’ll fail if I don’t.
- Challenge: I need to create a new study routine for myself so I can become the type of student I want to be.
- Threat: I must figure out how not to push my new boss’s buttons, so I don’t continue to have a rocky relationship with him/her.
- Challenge: I want to reset my relationship with my new boss by learning new communication skills.
Notice the difference? The threat versions of the goals sound scary and definite. If you’re not making progress toward your threat-based goal, you might find yourself avoiding dealing with the situation altogether. But the challenge-based versions are more hopeful and forward-looking. They give you more of a direction to strive toward. (Psychology Today)
Share your Goal
Who have you told about your goals? How much detail did you share?
When it comes to motivation, we humans are very much social animals. Sometimes a little social pressure can help us achieve what we want. There’s something about committing a goal to someone else that makes it easier to stick with it, or perhaps harder to give up.
You have full control over the level of motivation and self-belief you have. Identify what you want and start being who you want to be by committing to YOU! Here are 6 questions to kick-start YOUR Motivation.
- What do I want?
- Is this goal in line with my life vision/overall life-plan?
- What’s good about my current situation?
- WHO will I have to BE to achieve this goal?
- How does this goal fit into my life/lifestyle?
- What resources do I need to achieve my goals?
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