Want to know the secret to creating MOTIVATION? — lay out a clearly defined goal.
I want six-pack abs…
I want to be able to run my first 10K…
I want to be able to play with my kids and not get tired…
Whatever the goal, you must want to achieve it and achieve it desperately. Envision hitting your goal, and how good it will feel once you get there.
THAT is how you CREATE motivation.
Unfortunately, creating motivation and sustaining motivation are NOT the same thing.
It’s the reason gyms are so packed during the first six weeks of the New Year and decidedly empty for the remaining 46 weeks of the year.
Why is it so easy to create motivation, but so difficult to sustain it?
The answer is simple and rooted in basic human psychology—we’re hardwired to focus on the short-term, on the immediate.
It is a strategy inherited from our Stone Age ancestors who were plagued by difficulties and dangers that made basic survival a day-in, day-out challenge.
But in today’s soft, secure world?—a predisposition to focus on the short-term does more harm than good.
Those people who achieve their goals are the people who can put aside the now—those that understand short-term pain equals exponential long-term gain.
With that in mind, here are some quick hacks to help you surmount your Stone Age brain and stay motivated for the long-haul…
Social standing, social acceptance, and social pressure are motivators your brain can get behind, so buddy up with someone for an immediate motivation boost.
Find a friend to run with twice a week, or join a fitness class and become accountable to your instructor and classmates.
Text your sibling every time you finish your morning yoga routine.
Being accountable to someone else is a powerful, immediate motivator. Your brain wants social acceptance and social status, so use that desperate want as a lever to keep yourself on-track to your goals.
Focus on Quick Wins
The best way to stay motivated is to give your brain what it’s looking for: short-term benefit.
Break your long-term goal into quick, easily-digestible victories that you can achieve in a week or less.
Try running 500m every morning for 5 days. Try to do 20 perfect crunches before bed each night for a full week.
When you achieve your goal—celebrate! Tell your friends. Write it down. Make sure you supply your brain with the praise and benefit its craving.
Don’t just be accountable to a partner—be accountable to yourself.
Create a record…a journal, star chart, anything. Track your successes and your slow-downs. Reflect and learn from the occasions you fail to make progress.
Having a visible, external record of your progress is a powerful motivator. It makes progress toward your goal something that you can see, feel, and touch.
Keep track, and you’ll stay on track
Remember—you have the capacity to reach your goals. You just need to make the Stone Age part of your brain work for you instead of against you.
Once you do that, your motivation will SOAR!