“The first thing to remember is to start where we are. How could we start where we are not? And yet, how often we try to start way ahead of ourselves. That leads nowhere. But wherever we are, help is there. Life provides all the help we need. If we trust and look for it, we shall find it.” ~Brother David Steindl-Rast
Let’s take a little walk together and talk…
As human beings we have basic drives.
One is to be connected to others,
Another is to be effective in whatever we choose to do.
Here’s one we don’t talk about as often. It can be called the pleasure principle, which is defined by dictionary.com as an automatic mental drive or instinct to avoid pain and seek pleasure.
The problem arrives when we identify leaving our comfort zone with pain, and instinctually identify it as a threat. If we are not conscious of it’s primitive trickery, we fall subject to a cloaked irrational fear that somehow we are going to die if we feel pain… or in this case leave our comfort zone.
Studies have shown that mental challenges such as learning a new language, starting a new hobby, and placing ourselves in new situations literally strengthens the brain. It’s like going to the brain gym: No pain-no gain. The discomfort we feel engaging in these strengthening activities is the evidence our brains are getting stronger.
So have courage and step out of your comfort zone. Make “Feel the Pain” your new mantra, and do the things you have been putting off. Each time you do…each time you feel the pain… your brain receives the gain and you feel a sense of accomplishment.
Have a great week and until next time, Shine on 🙂
P.S. Check out my post on Parent-Space. It’s called “Can 20 Minutes of Focused Positive Attention Change Your Child’s Life.” http://www.parents-space.com/family-health/can-20-minutes-of-focused-positive-attention-change-your-childs-life/
…and don’t forget to vote yes or no on the red cup post. Thanks 🙂
Hey Everyone, let me introduce you to NoMo (nicknamed for No Motivation) the suckerfish. NoMo’s salary comes from the commission he earns convincing unsuspecting humans that motivation must be present for action to take place. Annually he makes a seven figure salary providing an upper class standard of living for his family. NoMo’s favorite treat is an energy drink called “HDMG” an acronym for Human Drain-My Gain, which is the byproduct sucked from human inactivity. Just look at that belly! His mother is very proud.
Let’s begin by looking at the barriers to getting things done. The first barrier I will address is the mistaken belief that motivation must be present to get things done.
Energy Sucker #1 The belief that motivation must be present to get things done
Most of us have experienced the energy we receive from motivation, and assume it is a pre-requisite for moving forward. “I’ll do it when I feel like it,” is the barometer for initiating action. Often we get super stoked about pursuing a goal but after a period of time, lose the fire. In other words, when the newness of the idea wears off, the energy leaves with it. What’s a person to do?
One of the biggest barriers to getting things done is the belief that we must be: motivated, feel like it, or want to accomplish whatever the task may be. It can be as simple as emptying the dishwasher or complex as getting the college degree you have always wanted.
Motivation gives us the natural energy we crave. We often assume it’s the only fuel that will run our motor. If it isn’t present, we are out of gas. 😦
However, there’s an alternative fuel source: Willpower, generated through self discipline. Think of a recumbent bike or an elliptical trainer. When you position yourself on the equipment, it doesn’t turn on until you begin peddling or stepping.
Wanting to to do something is not a prerequisite for doing it!
Some times it is…ACTION, THEN MOTIVATION
Once we get moving, the energy we associate with motivation often appears 🙂
When we think about doing something, are we thinking about the effort it will require or are we thinking about the end result of obtaining our goal?
Question: How many times do we confuse ourselves, thinking that being motivated is a higher priority than actually attaining our goal?
For the sake of conversation, let’s use cleaning out the basement as the desired goal.
Cultivate willpower by visualizing a detailed picture of your goal.
Visualize what achieving that goal would look like, including how you and others would feel.
Spend some time embedding that picture in your mind, and feel it in every fiber of your being.
Next , MOVE and DO
Remember the magic formula for growth is: Know – Feel – Act (FYI, yesterday I re-posted an earlier post called “Tap into Your Resilience” which explains the magic formula, Know-Feel-Act.)
Postscript: There will be times when moving…or doing does not activate motivation. During these times, recognize that achievement trumps motivation and is rewarding in and of itself.
The short video below contains some of the latest research on cultivating willpower. It’s energizing… just watch it!
Please share your tips on how to overcome lack of motivation by pressing the leave a comment button in the top right hand corner of the post. Thanks to all those who have contributed your thoughts on other posts. Your thoughts add so much to the discussion. To read previous comments, tap the comments button in the upper right hand corner. Apparently this blog template does not allow for the comments to just show up at the bottom of the post.
Until next time…Shine on 🙂
- The Power to Do (barbarascovillelcsw.com)
- 5 Tips to Improve Willpower (sheslosingit.net)
- A Willpower Quotation From The Dalai Lama (renardmoreau.wordpress.com)
- Checklist: Are you doing these five things to increase your willpower? (bakadesuyo.com)
“I hate getting ready for bed!” I am so comfortable reading in my chair at night that I just don’t want to move. The next thing you know I drift off to sleep and when I wake up it’s all I can do to get myself to bed. Washing my face and brushing my teeth is torture.”
“Homework!!! I dread doing my homework. I don’t like what I’m studying and I can’t see the point. I’d rather be eating Oreos and playing Call of Duty.”
“Housework!!! Really? Do I have to clean the house. There are so many other things I’d rather be doing. Facing six loads of laundry and dishes piled up in the sink is so overwhelming, and not only that it would take me all day.”
“Making important phone calls!!! I hate making important phone calls. I’m afraid people will think I’m stupid and they won’t give me what I want.”
Disclaimer: The statements I have written are a combination of my voice and others. They DO NOT represent any one person.
Fill in the blank:
I have trouble getting started_________________________________________
A couple of weeks ago in preparation for this post, I asked several people to share with me what they have trouble doing or getting started on. As I looked over the different statements they made, it became clear to me, that underneath each challenge, there is host of reasons for not being able to get started…and cause lack of motivation.
As the reasons started piling up…
I began to think about how many talk about the need for powering through lack of motivation, but rarely address the root issues (with the exception of depression) causing the lack of motivation. It occurred to me that if we understood the reasons… or barriers stopping us, we would have something to sink our teeth into and work with.
With that, I’ve decided to slow down and explore each barrier, and I invite you to walk with me by contributing your thoughts on the subject. Thanks to those who commented on my original “Power to Do” post, dated 3/10/13. Your thoughts were insightful and helpful to all those who read them. For those of you who didn’t get a chance to read them, please take the time to do so. I’m betting you will be glad you did.
So far I have identified fourteen barriers to accomplishment and before I go any further, I want to list those for you, so you know where we will be heading for the duration of this series.
The List a.k.a. “The Energy Suckers”
1. The belief that motivation has to be present to get things done
3. Not wanting to give up personal control
4. Not wanting to leave our comfort zone
6. Already feeling overwhelmed
7. Lack of skill
8. Over estimating or under estimating how long the task or achieving the goal will take
10. The task or goal is distasteful
11. Something in the environment makes it especially difficult
12. Indecision about what we want to do
13. Rigid thoughts
If you can think of any others, let me know; but for now, ask yourself which of these keep you from moving forward.
Until next time… Shine On 🙂
- Building Self-Motivation (healthylifestyleplus.com)