Having just re-read The Power of Less by Leo Babauta I came across one of my favorite topics, motivation. Motivation is what drives us to achieve goals and standards that we set in our lives. Motivation can be both negative and positive and intrinsic, or extrinsic.
Intrinsic, positive motivation is best as it comes from a deep desire within an individual to pursue and achieve a goal. When you have a strong desire to accomplish your goals maintaining motivation is much easier, but struggles do arise. Discouragement happens, but it shouldn’t be strong enough to sway you completely from your goal. I see this frequently in individuals trying to transform their body as they “fall off the wagon” and scrap each plan to reach their goal within a few weeks and start fresh. This is epitomized by the program jumper, or the individual who changes their workout completely each workout because they read something new and exciting they want to change.
To accomplish a goal takes hard work, dedication, and mental toughness. When motivation drops don’t quit, persevere and use 10 of the 20 Tips covered in The Power of Less sustain motivation.
- Hold Yourself Back- Start slowly and do less than you are capable. This will keep you motivated to continuous improvement. Ex.) Make your workouts too easy; instead of 4 sets of 6 perform 2 sets of 6. This enthusiasm and feeling if triumph will leave you wanting more. Next time add another set.
- Bite the Bullet and get started- “I’ll start tomorrow” or “I’ll do it later” are common excuses. Start now; whatever your goal is begin with it now as there is no time like the present. The hardest part is getting started, once you’re moving there is no stopping you.
- Stay accountable- Commit to your goal and report your results daily, either in a log or too a public forum. Who wants anyone else to know of their failure?
- Replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts. Corny indeed, but saying “I can” rather than “this is too hard” is a wonderful way block the negative.
- Think about the benefits- Instead of thinking about how hard it is to follow a new diet think about how much better you will feel.
- Think about your goal and how you made it your goal- This often builds up excitement just like when you initially made the goal
- Read about it- Find more information about your goal and read about it. Finding more knowledge and past successes is a great way to increase motivation.
- Find like minded individuals- Spending time with people with similar goals and passions leads you both to better decision making and motivation.
- Read Success stories- I am extremely competitive, so reading that someone else can do something motivates me to blow past their successes and set a new standard.
- Celebrate Often- Building success takes baby steps, which must be rewarded. Rewarding yourself along the way reminds you of your goal and shows you that it’s within reach. If it takes you a year to reach your goal and you don’t reward yourself along the way how likely are you to stick with it? Not Likely my friend.
The Power of Less by Leo Babuata is a phenomenal book on simplifying life and making yourself more productive. I have read the book on multiple occasions and highly recommend it to everyone. In the world we live in today we are swamped with overbearing tasks and an influx of information that keeps us from doing the things we really want and need. Use these motivational strategies whenever you struggle to bust through plateaus and reach your goals.
Babauta, Leo. “Chapter Eighteen on Motivation.” The Power of Less. New York City: Hyperion, 2009. 163-67. Print.