Motivation is life changing.  Your life is changing every day.  It is either changing for the better or it is slowly changing for the worse.  Motivation is derived from the verb “motivate,” which means “move.”  Motivation is the burning desire that compels you to take action.  It is a so deeply intertwined with what you believe to be true and right in life that it moves you from a simple desire to a moment of decision.  Have you ever watched a working dog?  There only motivation is  you.

What is your motivation?

In 2006 I wrote, “Change happens in an instant.  It happens the moment you decide to change.”
You are going to be different tomorrow.  Stop feeling stuck.  When you decide to be different you will find motivation seeping into to thoughts and into your actions.  Motivation causes you to take action, it becomes an inner drive  fueling you forward.

We all believe something.  When was the last time you asked yourself, “What do I believe?”  What role does faith play in my life?  Why was I placed on this earth?  What is my purpose in life?”

Remembering that motivation is a verb meaning to “move” or take “action”.  Family, friends, co-workers and the people all around us are key motivators for how we act.  Surround yourself with great people and you will surround yourself with great motivation.

Goals.

It should be no surprise that goals motivate us and inspire us.  The most powerful goals are self-directed goals.  Self-directed internal goals.  They include understanding your priorities and purpose in life, knowing what you believe to be most important and using those goals as a daily guide for how you will choose to live your life.

New.

Choosing to learn something new every day will give you a reason to grown and change.  This could be something as simple as driving to work via a different route or signing up for guitar lessons.

Challenge.

Challenges are frequently seen as some sort of contest like the final four during March Madness.  Challenges draw out the best in us.  A simple challenge might be to decide to go to bed fifteen minutes earlier for thirty days to see if it improved your daily productivity.

Truth.

Truth does not waver.  Something either is true or it is not.  Truth provides a firm foundation to stand on.  Truth strengthens, encourages, and will guide you correctly.

Determination.

You’ve met them.  Those rare individuals who are determined to continue regardless of how difficult the circumstances.  Determination literally means you are willing to put a “stake” in the ground.  It is not a casual choice.  There are very few things humans will determine to mark as permanent placeholders for their beliefs.

Laughter.

Laughter heals the soul.  Why is it that children laugh hundreds of times a day and adults laugh only _____ times.   Laughter occurs when something unexpected happens that causes your brain to emit a signal to your lungs to expel short burst of air causing you to make audible noises that are a signal of joy all across the world.

Perseverance.

Perseverance reminds me of a road or a bridge – a specific course or path we all walk down.  When you feel hopeless and lost, that is when perseverance counts the most.  Perseverance is consciously choosing to stay on your path even in the midst of incredible difficulties.

Freedom.

Having a sense of control or autonomy over your time and your actions is a powerful motivator.  Freedom liberates you to dream and imagine and create.  Freedom of stress is one of the most sought after psychological goals.

Tenacity.

Tenacity is a word originating with the meaning of adhesiveness.  There are frequent times you will find you need to “stick together”.  Tenacity never gives up.  It never lets go. Willpower lives in the core of your being.  Willpower moves you, motivates you and causes you to take action for good or for bad. This inner drive is the control center for many of the decisions you will choose to make moment to moment.

Faithful.

Faithfulness is a rare quality in today’s world.  It is choosing to remain reliable, trusted and constant.  It carries a sense of attachment and devotion to people, causes, organizations and beliefs.  Faithfulness is a foundational motivator.

Endurance.

This word literally means to have the ability to endure suffering over long periods of time.  Grit is stone broken down, but it is still stone.  It speaks to the indomitable toughness it can take to push through life’s most difficult trials.  Endurance when accepted can build character, patience, wisdom, empathy and compassion.

Novel.

Novelty is also one of the most unexpected motivators.  When you experience something for the very first time or you see something you have never seen before you may find yourself swept away with emotion.  The birth of a child.  An unexpected gift.  A surprise ending to a difficult moment in life.

Tragedy.

Life is full of heartache and indescribable pain.  War, illness, death, divorce, financial problems, and injustice.  Tragedy regardless of the pain is full of opportunities to learn and grow and find renewal and hope.  Tragedy shows you are never alone.

Learning.

Any gap in understanding will motivate you to want to fill that knowledge gap.  If you want to know more about leadership – read books by great leaders.  To learn how to train a dog – hire a dog trainer and take lessons.  The incremental acquirement of new knowledge becomes a self-motivating driver.

Anticipation.

The act of looking forward to something important happening in your life.   When you are just given a glimpse of a future success or opportunity the anticipation releases an incredibly powerful chemical called dopamine into your system.  Everything you have ever wanted in your life you were first motivated to strive for attaining it because you anticipated the feeling of importance it would mean to you.  Dopamine is the brain chemical of anticipation.

Courage.

Lt. Col. (retired) Dave Grossman shared a single quote of where the bravery of being an Army Ranger came from for him.  He said, “Courage is just being willing to take one more step.” Sometimes the only motivation you need is to take just one more step.

Hope.

When used as a noun hope only a feeling, but when used as a verb hope becomes the focal point of your motivation.  Sometimes in life all you have is hope.  And, in those moments hope will be more than enough.

Time.

Time is not merely a framework for how the minutes, hours and days pass by – each day is like having a blank canvas sitting in an art room filled with unlimited options.  Improving your motivation through improving your time management will require you to reduce the number of choices you have to let into your life.  You will find simplicity and peace in narrowing your focus and increasing your energy and attention only on accomplishing the tasks that bring motivation and meaning in your life.

Love.

The foundation of life is love..  There is no way to create a life of meaning without love.  There is no motivation, no reason to move or change or engage in life without love.  The foundation of motivation is love.

And, Three That Might Surprise You

Brain.

The prefrontal cortex is the thinking part of the brain. This is where life happens! In this space just behind your forehead, ideas are created, thoughts are pondered, imagination grows (or dies), judgments are made. This part of the brain is highly specialized in humans; this is where you define meaning, plan for the future, and imagine. Your values, priorities, purpose, goals, drive, learning, love, and hope all live here.  Motivation is a decision.

Attention.

You experience the depths of motivation when your attention focused so intently on completing a task or a project or a hobby that challenges you to such a point that time stands still.  When you are in that moment – swept away from stress and worry – concentrating with full attention – you don’t need motivation – you are experiencing motivitation.  At that moment you are motivated.  You are in the process of taking action.  And, in those amazing moments you realize the life-changing power of motivation.  You understand the difference between existing and thriving.  And, in that moment – life oozes out of you.  And, motivation is contagious.

Time Management.

Your personal time management skills affect the levels of motivation you experience in life.  Dr. JoAnn Dahlkoetter is a sports psychology expert and coach to Olympic athletes, as well as being a world-class athlete in her own right. She says, “It starts with a dream; motivation comes from within.  It has to be an inner desire, an inner fire, a willingness to achieve something you are passionate about.”
Far too many people only focus on the hard parts of life that motivation can guide us through.  By improving your time management you can create daily blocks of time to focus your time and attention on the part’s of life that motivate you.

Action Steps:

Time Management Tips to Live with More Motivation

Assess your current schedule

Determine which activities motivate you and which activities drain you of energy

Take time to think about what you really want out of life (preferably away from work or home)

Clarify what you want in life by writing down personal or professional goals

Create a plan of action – prioritize or sequence the individual action steps you need to take to accomplish your new goals

Use a pen and paper to schedule when you will take these actions.

Then take action.

Remember “motivation” comes from the word “motive” which means to “move” – or to take “action.”

“The secret to motivation is purposeful action.”
~ Allyson Lewis

Featured photo credit: André Spieker via bit.ly

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