Five Factors of Motivation
What can prevent us from reaching our goals? Motivation levels dipping before we finish the journey to our chosen objective.
So I got to thinking about the factors that we need to develop and continuously maintain so that our motivation levels take us all the way to achieving those end goals, which embody what we value in life. I came up with what I consider to be the top five factors that contribute to the success of our motivation: planning, pace, persistence, patience and pride. Having a clear idea of these five factors and checking in with them when working towards your life goals (whether they be in health, career etc) will support you to effectively begin initiating change and keep you on track to accomplish your chosen aspirations. Essentially, this is a strategy to improve your motivation levels and pin point what area you might need to tweak if at any time your momentum dips.
So here we go, five factors to consider and perfect so that you start and stay motivated to reaching and achieving your goals:
There’s that old saying, ‘it’s all in the detail’ and in my mind the execution of the details comes from knowing your bigger vision and having a plan to build it into a reality; deciding direction and how to reach the destination. Don’t get me wrong, there will be unexpected challenges, diversions and distractions along the way, but by coming up with a plan you provide yourself with a support mechanism to quickly refocus and get yourself back on track again. So, first decide on the goal or goals you want to reach in your life and the reasons behind why you want to achieve them. Ask yourself, what’s the biggest and best benefit of being successful in this goal? Put the power behind your goals by getting to the real hub of what your ideal life would look like and stretch yourself to set a goal or goals that have meaning and significant value to your life; what really matters to you? Those reasons and benefits are your greatest supporters when there are challenges or doubts that can cause your motivation to ebb and commitment to wane. Decide on your goals and start making a plan for those achievements; expect to be successful in what you set out to accomplish. Make sure that you create your milestones (mini-goals) along your journey because these will keep you moving toward your end goals; enabling you to make the changes manageable and to check your progress along the way.
If you are thinking that you are not much of a planner then what better place to start developing that skill but when working on your personal change project? A plan will allow you to breakdown the size of the goal, help you to be productive with your time, identify your resources, consider what support you might need and choose the activities required to be successful. Having a plan will provide you with focus and guide your thoughts so that you are consciously and consistently aware of the direction you wish to travel in.
You get to set the pace by which you wish to progress so think about the momentum that will stretch you and keep you moving on a continuous basis. In the first instance you might have chosen a pace that is too fast or too slow and it’s OK not to set it perfectly straightaway. Remind yourself that it’s going to be a trial and error exercise for a while before you find the pace that ideally suits you. Along the way you can adjust the pace and at times it may be a necessity due to some of the challenges or changes that take place but you do first have to start. Having spent many years working to others time-frames and expectations I’m now a strong advocate of working to your own pace. Why? Because it gives you full ownership of your goals and puts you in the driving seat of your life; empowering your motivation. Following someone else’s pace may make the process too fast or too slow, which can lead to dissatisfaction, frustration, undermining of your confidence or overwhelm, which essentially hinders you in the long-term. These are your life goals and it’s your journey so allow yourself a pause if you need to or to slow down or to speed up; make the pace work for you. Feed your self-belief rather than allowing another’s pace to erode it.
I’m going to tell you something that you don’t want to read but which you need to consider and accept before embarking on your change journey. Here goes…you are going to have some big challenges, distractions and maybe some really hard times to face when in pursuit of your goals and you need to make sure your response to those situations is one of persistence – it’s absolutely vital. So you need to identify what is going to help you persist through the tough and the easy times. Before you start on your goal, I again suggest that you ask yourself this question: what is the most important benefit to achieving your goal? That answer re-connects you to what you are striving to create in the long-term; the thread to the bigger picture. In those moments whereby you have to dig deep to persevere, you then have the resource and the drive to put in the work and the effort to undertake the necessary series of actions, which will lead to your goal becoming a reality. It always helps to have a few different resources in your persistence tool kit so have a think about creating your own mantra, a reward system for achieving each milestone, a habit or a routine that sets the action process in motion and strengthens your resolve to see the action through. These methods can give you a much needed jump start to getting you back into the motivated state of mind and to persist through the challenges.
Being patient is the greatest kindness you can give to yourself for yourself. Notice the self-talk that you are saying to yourself and if it isn’t positive or supportive in its content then break the cycle and make a pledge to change and improve the narrative. When it comes to long term change then bear in mind that progression is often incremental and rarely instant. You must cultivate the patience to continue on regardless of how far away the destination seems to be and adopt a resourceful and creative attitude in order to find other options and ways to reach your goals, rather than giving up when you experience setbacks or disappointments. If you become dissatisfied or frustrated then acknowledge the emotional state that you find yourself in, but set a time limit on how long you are going to stay in that negative mind-set for. Once that time span is up, move on and focus on finding another way forward and focus on your options so that your motivation is not dampened by negative thoughts of the past.
We can forget how much effort, energy and work has gone into our commitment to bringing about change so spend some time noticing and taking pride in your achievements; enjoy your progress. This is such a simple thing to do yet we so rarely set aside the time to do it but it is in your power to be proud of yourself; you are your greatest supporter. Don’t wait for anyone else, instead, allow yourself to pause, reflect and feel the pride of having accomplished your milestones and the results of those achievements. Give yourself a reward and remind yourself that you are doing great.
(c) Katrina Ramsden