3 Ways To Hack Your Motivation
We’ve all been there. We start the new year with the best of intensions to lose weight, get fit, eat healthier….the list goes on and on. But then it happens. Life throws us a curve ball. We slip. We delay. We procrastinate. We give up. Why does motivation always seem so fleeting?
Guess what– even the most driven, successful people on the planet don’t feel like getting things done all the time. You might ask, “well, how are they still successful?”
When we look deeper into what motivation is, we see that it’s actually the driving force behind discipline. It’s what carries us from our goal to our accomplishment. In other words, motivation is wanting to get things done.
But when we’re exhausted, and we’re stressing over all the little things we have to do… that motivation and drive fades. So, what can we do to reignite that spark of motivation?
Here are three simple ways to hack your motivation and stay (or get back) on track:
Know Your “Why”
The number one motivation hack is knowing your “why”. When your goals have deep, personal meaning and purpose, it’s so much easier to stick it out when things get challenging. “I want to get fit.” Great goal…but why? “So that I can be a good example for my kids”. See the difference?
So…what’s your “why”? The reason behind your goal? Figure it out. Write it down. Post it somewhere you can see it every day. This is the influence that keeps you moving forward. This is what feeds and fuels your motivation. Remember, our goals are not just about achieving something, but about the person we want to become.
Building new, sustainable habits can be challenging. We tend to think more about eliminating “bad habits” first. “I have to stop eating fast-food.” Or “I have to stop spending all weekend on the couch binging my favorite show.” But, experts agree that rather than eliminating habits that don’t serve us or our new goals, it’s better to replace our old habits with new, more beneficial habits. Easier said than done, right? Fortunately, there’s a hack for this one, too. It’s called habit bundling. And it’s all about establishing a pattern or routine to help you reach your goal.
For example, “When I decide to pick-up fast food, I will go for a 20 minute walk or run.” Or “Every time I start a new episode of [insert whatever binge-worthy show here], I will do 20 push ups.” The trigger of “when I do this, then I will do that” removes the forced ‘I have to do this’ need for motivation, and becomes a standard practice over time. Repeated behaviors like this can turn into self-improving habits. “Instead or ordering fast food, I’ll go for a 20 minute run or walk and then head home for a healthy dinner.” The best part? It increases productivity while reducing mental stress.
Plan for Failure
Yes, you read that right. We all know it’s ideal to reach our goals flawlessly and in a timely manner. But, life frequently seems to have other plans. Staying motivated when difficulty arises is a lot more challenging than it sounds – especially if we get into a groove and an unwanted interruption occurs. Say you’ve been intentionally going for your daily run and eating all the whole foods with plenty of veggie (yay, you!). Then a hard freeze hits. You take a week off from running due to the frozen conditions and all of a sudden you’re having potato chips for breakfast and ice cream for a late night snack. Now, you’re frustrated, confused, stressed out, and losing focus on your goals. Sometimes, we can get so thrown off that we hyper-focus on the issue (I failed) rather than the solution (how can I get back on track?).
So, how do you stay on track when stuff hits the fan? Plan for failures and imperfection. Seriously. You have to drill failure into your practice. We can’t predict everything that could possibly go wrong– but expecting setbacks and knowing your alternative options when disaster strikes makes all the difference in your motivation. When you accept that life can (and will) interrupt your plans, you can keep the momentum going anyway. You can approach your tasks without being deflated. You’ll be more realistic about what you can achieve, learn how to make adjustments, and stay open to exploring other options. Don’t be afraid to plan for failure. Embrace it as a tool for staying motivated and achieving your goals. Flexibility is the path of least resistance.
Ultimately, being a motivated person just means that you’re in control of your life (despite old habits and possible set-backs). Remember, you’re fully capable of making the necessary changes in your life to achieve your goals. And you deserve to live the life you want. Take small steps, one day at a time, and before you know it, you’ll be celebrating your success. You’ve got this.
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