October 10, 2023
On a recent call with a new client, they expressed that they were struggling to find the motivation to follow through on new habits that they were trying to build. In a circumstance like this, it’s important to understand that motivation is something you have to create yourself, you can’t wait for it to happen on its own.
Knowing how to create motivation involves understanding what motivation actually is, how to develop it to serve you best, and how to sustain it long-term so that it contributes to your success professionally and personally.
What is motivation?
In more general terms, motivation is your overall willingness to do the task at hand. But, in most cases, it’s a lot more complex than just your willingness to do something. Motivation comes from making a choice and understanding the outcome that comes with it. For example, if you are preparing a presentation and the event date is quickly approaching, you may find the motivation to complete the task at hand because the outcome of not completing the task will make you far more uncomfortable than sitting down and doing the work.
One thing that surprises people about motivation is that it often comes after starting a new behaviour rather than before. Doing things like listening to motivational speeches or reading self-help books before starting a new habit can only take you so far. It’s usually best to just dive in and take control. By starting the new habit you’re more likely to find inspiration and reasons to keep at it that will motivate you for a longer period of time.
Instead of focusing on motivation once you’ve started a new behaviour or activity, focus on being consistent. Most of the “pushing through” resistance is at the beginning and after you start and stay consistent for a while, you’ll see that progress happens a lot more naturally. It’s important to remember that motivation is the result of taking consistent action. Getting started, even if it’s in a small way, can produce powerful momentum, and showing up consistently is what leads to the behaviour becoming a habit – eliminating the need for motivation altogether.
How do I get motivated?
In order to initially get motivated, focus on building attainable habits. As a coach, you’re typically balancing multiple clients in addition to the demands of running a business. It can be overwhelming to try and figure out how to incorporate new habits or activities on top of everything else.
So, try keeping it simple. Attainable means starting small and making sure it’s something you can do consistently. For example, if you want to take time out of your day to improve your physical health, you’re unlikely to stick to an hour-long daily workout routine at the gym when you’re just getting started. But, starting small and introducing a 15-minute walk as part of your lunch break or morning routine is a much more attainable and sustainable daily habit.
How do I stay motivated?
Now that you’ve created that initial motivation to build your new habit, it’s all about staying motivated long-term. This means making sure you don’t get overwhelmed while sticking to the daily goals you have set out for yourself.
The Goldilocks Rule highlights that people experience their peak motivation when working on tasks that are pushing their abilities but aren’t too difficult. Not too easy, not too hard, but just right. A lot of the time, people find themselves unmotivated to work on something because it’s too easy and they’re bored or because it’s far too difficult and they’re getting frustrated. When working on a new habit, you should be challenged but still feel like you’re capable of doing it – that’s the sweet spot.
Habits develop over time so it’s ideal to start small or easy and build up to something bigger. Let go of the need to go big or go home! It’s best to avoid overwhelming yourself with unattainable goals or by introducing too many new habits at once. It’s okay to recognize that a habit is not helping you the way you had initially hoped. Try to stick to working on one at a time and check in with yourself regularly to assess what’s working and what’s not and adjust as needed. Remember that scheduling your task or habit for the same time every day is one of the key ways to help it stick. If you’d like to learn more about how to get new habits to stick, check out Starting and Sticking to Business Development Activities here.
Motivation is tricky and waiting around for it will get us nowhere. It’s important to take control and get into action, rather than just waiting for motivation to strike. If you find that you need extra help in sticking to new habits, or that holding yourself accountable is just not working for you, it might be a good idea to look into an accountability partner or coach. Having someone else holding you accountable to the new habits or activities can provide valuable external motivation to stick with new activities consistently so that they have time to become habits.
If you’re interested in getting some support in getting things done or sticking to your new habits and goals, reach out to us to discuss our guided accountability and project management package – Get Big Sh!t Done. Book a complimentary consultation today.