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“I need help with motivation”
In our Badass Mama Community, there are a few questions that are asked when joining. One of these questions asks what is the biggest challenge you are facing right now. The number one answer is finding motivation.
And this isn’t just about working out.
Motivation can be a very powerful but tricky beast. There are times when it is super easy to get motivated as we get sucked into the tornado of excitement. Other times, it is almost impossible to figure out how to get the motivation and there is a trap into the death spiral of procrastination.
For today’s blog post, let’s talk about 5 tips that we can actively put into our lives to help answer this problem of finding motivation that can be used in many different aspects of our daily lives.
What is motivation?
The general definition is the one’s general willingness to do something. It’s a set of psychological forces that compel us to take an action.
He says “Every choice has a price, but when we are motivated, it is easier to bear the inconvenience of action than the pain of remaining the same. Somehow we cross a mental threshold – usually after weeks of procrastination and in the face of an impending deadline – and it becomes more painful to not do the work than to actually do it.”
Ok…so how do we do it?
Tip #1: Remove the word “motivation” from your vocabulary
Ummmm…what? Stick with me.
The word “motivation” for many of us already brings a negative tone to the table. For me, the word is totally associated with guilt in something that I am not doing but feel that I need to be doing.
I tend to ask myself “why are you not doing this and where is your motivation to get it done”. Why is it hard to change direction and start taking control of my life? How do you get out of this slump?
For this very reason, we must remove the word “motivation” from our vocabulary. It’s time to swap the carrot for the stick (I think that is how the saying goes).
Squash the negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. Start monitoring your thoughts and recognize when the “mean girl” or negative thoughts start to creep in.
Take the negative talk and squash it like a bug. Replace the negative words. As word as it sounds, say it out loud. Replace the “this is too hard” with “I can totally do this”.
Replace the word “motivation” with “what action will I take today”
Tip# 2: Discover the real reason “why” we don’t want to do something
At work, I am frequently asking “what is the path of least resistance” because that is what most are going to follow in a workflow, pattern, or set of tasks. This same philosophy is in our everyday lives and plays a part in our motivation.
For many of us, we pick something that is a very tall mountain and is going to be a tough road to make it to the top. AND we only focus on the top.
Stop here and think about what that mountain is to you today.
Now ask…why is there a resistance to get to the top? What is the speedbump, stop sign, or road block that is making the path hard?
Really ask yourself “why don’t I want to do this?”
Tip #3: Find a friend or group of people doing the same thing
Get Support. I can guarantee that there are others in this very group that are looking at the same or a very similar goal. What would happen if you found a partner (a friend) to tackle this together?
Ok…I am going to confess something. I have a very strong love/hate relationship with working out. Don’t get me wrong…I love the feeling after a good workout and how my body feels from having a regular exercise program. But…I am talking about getting to the workout.
Knowing this, I have found a group of women that are having the EXACT same issue and we push each other. Each week, we find 2-3 days on our calendars and schedule a workout. We then facetime or zoom with each other and workout. It’s usually 6a morning workouts, lots of curse words, and sweat but we always end with a smile, a quick talk about our day, and a warm heart of the group lifting each other up.
This may be a group fitness class that you have been thinking about taking.
Story time. I took a break from teaching dance fitness classes and joined the YMCA. I didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to work out. I found myself sitting on the floor, by myself, in the back of a group fitness class waiting for it to start.
This amazing woman walking into the room, looked around, saw me and beelined herself to me. She said “Hi, I am Charlotte and you are my new best friend”. Fast forward, she still is so many years later.
What does this story mean? Go to that group fitness class and find the girl sitting in the back. Introduce yourself and tell her you will be her new best friend. And then encourage each other in the class.
When you have THAT person (or persons), you will want to come back for not only the class but the connection you make with the people in it.
With COVD, this has been hard with group fitness classes being temporarily closed. Did you know that many of those group fitness instructors are now doing zoom classes? It’s not perfect but we can still come together during this temporary time knowing that very soon we will be back in the same place.
Looking for a new friend? Join the Badass Mama Gang community. This is THE place for us ladies all finding ways to get through the day of life! (PLUS…it’s free)
Tip #4: Break it up into bite-size pieces
“I’m too far from my goal so why start?”
Just start. I promise that the hardest part of anything is just starting.
Be realistic in outcomes. We aren’t going to lose 20 lbs, gain boulder shoulders, or get a new certification in 1 week.
When I am in a slump, it’s often due to too many things going on at the same exact time. I am trying to do to much and in too many directions. Total energy sucker and this also zaps the desire to add more to the plate.
One of the most common mistakes we make is trying to take on too much at the same time. We pick too many goals to tackle that all have the same end date OR we pick this giant goal to accomplish that is so overwhelming that the starting point is hidden.
How do we solve this? Break down one goal.
Let’s work through an example.
Say your goal is to stop drinking caffeine. For many of us (this is totally me), we go with the cold turkey technique. Day 1…we got this. Day 2…the ship has sailed and drinking coffee in my favorite mug. THEN the guilt sinks in on why can’t I keep the motivation to keep going with this and yet again another thing I failed at.
Ok….this is where we have to stop the negative thoughts. Why did this experiment fail?
We pick something that is HUGE. And then tore off a Band-Aid that was to big of a leap to keep consistent and to stick.
What if we have broken this down into bite size pieces? What if the plan was to replace one caffeinated drink per day with water for the first week? And then the following week, I went with 2. Now this….this is very doable and a path that doesn’t meet a ton of speedbumps. It’s manageable and the feeling of meeting the bite size goal “motivates” to keep going.
Tip# 5: Just start
Motivation is often the result of an action, not the cause of it.
Once you start, it is easier to continue to move forward. Nearly all the friction in any task is the beginning but after you start, progress has started.
It’s easier to finish something than start it.
Wrapping this one up!
Motivation on anything is not a constant thing and it will come and go. Think of the journey being a marathon vs. a sprint. Some parts are at a slower pace and some are faster (like when you see the finish line).
Celebrate the small successes. This matters. Set small targets and stop to celebrate when you hit them. Tell your group about hitting this goal and celebrate together. Tell others how you did it.
And don’t forget about the benefits. That is the focus!
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