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How Self-Motivation Can Be Easier When You Find Your True Calling

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How Self-Motivation Can Be Easier When You Find Your True Calling

Whenever a new year starts, we often make our own new year’s resolution. But how long can you keep it? One week? One month? Six months? Entire year?

Well… You know it by heart.

You want to be healthy but you can’t resist to junk food. You want to get in shape but you are too lazy to sweat. You want to save some money but you continue to spend money on meaningless things. You want to get promoted but you don’t even want to go to work.

Are we just too weak to stay motivated?

Maybe yes. Maybe not.

You are just fulfilling the obligations or expectations imposed by others

When we talk about self-motivation, we talk about ‘self’. It is not about someone else. It is ALL ABOUT YOU. If you are just trying to fulfill the obligations or expectations imposed by others, you will never be able to stick to it. If your parents want you to earn more money and you try to follow, it’s not likely you will have the motivation to do it till the end as you barely know why you should do this.

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You are not sure what you want to do

A vague and unspecific new year’s resolution always die in silence. Not having a clear goal is often the reason why we lack motivation. If you say you want to earn more money, you can’t just say it. Things don’t happen like magic. Without a clear direction, you will feel like running on an endless track. You will easily give up in the middle as you never see the sign which guides you to the finishing line.

You are not ready for a change

‘Let’s leave it for tomorrow.’ That’s the most typical line from a person who lacks motivation. Perhaps sometimes we are too optimistic, thinking that things are not that bad and everything can wait until tomorrow. You might want to lose weight for years but you might only start exercising when you find yourself dying of diabetes. People always only feel the strong need to change when they’re at the edge of a cliff.

And you can’t just let it be

Some even lack the motivation to learn to motivate themselves. But, please, don’t give up.

Self-motivation is an important skill that all of us need to master. At work, being able to motivate yourself and others makes things work better. When you encounter a massive and overwhelming task, you should be able to motivate yourself instead of procrastinating, which makes you harder to overcome inertia.

In your personal life, self-motivation is important as well. Think of the countless time when you lack motivation to go to gym or to save more. How do you feel about these? Perhaps a feeling of failure and frustration. You often feel bad. But if you can motivate yourself and achieve something, you will feel the pride and delight.

Find out what motivates you

Here, the most direct way to motivate yourself is to first find out what motivates you. It sounds straightforward but sometimes it might take a second thought to figure out your motivation.

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There are two kinds of motivation:[1]

Intrinsic: To perform an action or task based on the expected or perceived satisfaction of performing the action or task. Intrinsic motivators include having fun, being interested and personal challenge.

Extrinsic: To perform an action or task in order to attain some sort of reward, including money, power and good marks or grades.

If you find your motive is extrinsic, try to immerse it into your goal. Let’s say your goal is to get in shape, try to think of what kinds of reward you can get during the journey or after you achieve your goal. For example, you might be able to turn it into your career to make money.

Scott Geller’s 4C model

Scott Geller, an Alumni Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychology at Virginia Tech, introduces the 4C’s of self-motivation to help people motivate themselves. They are: competence, consequences, choice, and community.

Competence

Ask yourself two questions first:

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  • Do you believe you can do it?
  • Will it work?

If the answer to both question is YES, then you would feel competent and are more likely to be self-motivated.

It feels like common sense but it’s based on research about self-efficacy. If you don’t believe you can do it and you don’t believe it will work, there’s no point in doing. You can still try but in the next minute you would probably say, ‘See? I’ve told you it doesn’t work’. Then you give up. It doesn’t matter whether you can really do it. What matters is you have to believe it. That’s what keeps you going.

Consequences

Here comes another question, ask yourself:

  • Is it worth it?

From the day you were born, everything you did was because you wanted something from doing it. Babies cry as they want food while children work hard on study as they want good grades.

When you believe you are doing worthwhile work, you are more determined to do it. If you want to get in shape, you calculate the pros and cons. You might feel tired after doing workout but what you can gain might be a good shape and a good health. You compare the pros and cons to see if it’s worthwhile. Once you believe that it’s worthwhile, you would focus more on the pros instead of the cons.

Choice

When you have a sense of autonomy, you are more inspired to do the task at hand.

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Think of the time when you were kids. Everyday you wake up in the morning and rush to school. How do you think about ‘going to school’? ‘I have got to go to class’? Or ‘I get to go to class’? For the former one, it’s a requirement; for the latter one, it’s a opportunity. Although most of us have successfully graduated from school, probably not many not us find motivation in school because we think we have no other options.

So, if you want to do something, do it for yourself. It is nearly impossible for you to feel motivated if that’s only a requirement for you. If you want to be healthy, don’t think it is only because your doctor tells you to do so. Instead, try to relate whatever that motivates you and say that it’s my choice to be healthy.

Community

Social support is critical. People who perceive a sense of connection with other people feel motivated and happier.

The power of a man is limited. And everyone has weaknesses. When things get tough, it’s always good to have someone to remind us and to encourage us. If you get tired and lack motivation, you need someone to remind you the reason why you start at first. Sometimes you also need someone to help you believe in yourself. And most of all, we need to learn from each other.

To know more about the psychology of self-motivation, take a look at the TED talk by Scott Geller here:

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Read This Book To Motivate Yourself!

    Motivate Yourself: Get the Life You Want, Find Purpose and Achieve Fulfilment is a book written by Andro Donovan. It offers practical strategies to improve your productivity, such as how to quieten that negative inner voice that inhibits your personal growth and how to motivate those around you with productivity at the center of everything you do. The exercises introduced help you to move past your self-doubt and propel yourself into living your dream.

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    Sheba Leung

    Translator. Sport lover. Traveler.

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    Last Updated on January 19, 2022

    What Is Fear-Based Motivation And Does It Work?

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    What Is Fear-Based Motivation And Does It Work?

    If you’ve ever thought or said something like this, then you are using fear-based motivation:

    • “If I don’t get that promotion, I’m going to be seen as a failure so I better stay up all night to work on this proposal.”
    • “If I speak up for school reform, the internet trolls are going to get me, so I better be quiet even though I care a lot about this issue.”
    • “If I don’t exercise enough, I’m going to look like crap, so I better go to the gym six days a week, even if my body is killing me.”

    Fear-based motivation is exactly what it sounds like—getting yourself and others to do things out of fear of what will happen if you don’t do it and do it well.

    What you might not know is that while fear-based motivation might work in the short term, it can have long-term detrimental effects on your performance, relationships, and well-being.

    Is Fear-Based Motivation Helpful?

    If using fear as motivation comes naturally for you, you aren’t alone. Our brains use fear to keep us out of trouble. Normally, you want to move away from what feels harmful towards what feels safe.

    This brain function is important when there is a genuine threat to your well-being, like if there is a rattlesnake on the hiking trail. Your brain will use fear to motivate you to move away from the snake as quickly as possible. But when you use fear-based motivation to accomplish your life and career goals, the constant state of fear puts unnecessary stress on your mind and body and can end up working against you.

    The Darkside of Fear-Based Motivation

    Take, for example, when your trainer at your gym motivates you during your workout by yelling things like, “Bikini season is coming! You don’t want your cellulite to be the star of the show!” or “Burn off that piece of birthday cake you ate last night!”

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    Sure, you might be motivated to do ten more burpees, but what is going on in the back of your mind? You probably have an image of a group of people standing around you at the beach laughing at you in your bikini, or you feel guilty about eating that piece of cake and criticize yourself for not being able to control yourself.

    Reliance on Negative Thinking

    For most of us, this type of thinking causes stress and can bring down our energy levels and mood. The reliance on negative thinking is the problem with fear-based motivation. It forces us to put our attention on what is wrong or what could go wrong instead of anticipating and celebrating what is right. This, in turn, narrows our focus and prevents us from seeing the bigger picture.

    When your brain senses a threat, whether it’s a rattlesnake hiding in the grass or the possibility of being laughed at in your bikini, your brain will move you into a protective stance. Your vision narrows and you prepare to fight, flee or freeze.

    You can probably imagine what this looks like in the case of a rattlesnake, but how does this impact your bikini experience?

    The High Cost of Fear-Based Motivation

    Imagine that you plan a beach vacation with your friends three months from now. The first thing you picture is sitting on the beach with your tummy rolls and cellulite. You immediately sign up for three months of boot camp classes at the gym and banish all sugar and booze from your diet. You are determined not to make a fool of yourself on the beach!

    Will the fear of not looking like a supermodel under the beach umbrella motivate you to get in shape and eat better? Possibly. But at what cost?

    For three months, every time you picture yourself looking “less than perfect” in your bikini, you feel fear of being ashamed. Shame makes you want to hide, and that makes it harder to find the motivation to go to the gym instead of sitting on the couch eating ice cream.

    You become so focused on how you are going to look on the beach that you lose out on all the fun and joy of life. You pass up on going shopping with your friends for new outfits because you aren’t at your goal weight yet. You stop doing the things you love to do to spend more time at the gym. You avoid family gatherings where you will be confronted with tempting food. You over-train to the point of hurting yourself.

    The Healthier Alternative to Fear-Based Motivation

    Now, there is nothing wrong with wanting to feel good in your bikini! If that’s important to you, keep your goal in mind but change the way you motivate yourself. Instead of using the fear of feeling ashamed to motivate you, try using love-based motivation.

    Love-based motivation uses love instead of fear to lead and inspire you. It comes from a different part of your brain than fear-based motivation. Love-based motivation comes from the part of your brain that is responsible for joy, creativity, and passion.

    5 Questions of Love-Based Motivation

    There are many ways to deploy love-based motivation. The trick is to use one or all of the following to motivate you towards your goal: empathy, curiosity, innovation, vision, and heart-centered action.

    Here are five questions you can use to motivate yourself using love-based motivation.

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    1. What Would You Say to a Friend?

    Chances are that you talk to your friends in a much kinder way and with more empathy than you talk to yourself. You wouldn’t tell a friend, “you better starve yourself and hit the gym three times a day to look good in that bikini!” Instead, you would probably say something like, “I’m so excited to go on this vacation with you! I can’t wait to spend time catching up while sipping margaritas on the beach.”

    Talk to yourself the way you would talk to your friend.

    2. What Are You Curious About Learning That Might Help You Get to Your Goal?

    More often than not, achieving our goals is more about the journey it took us to get there than the goal itself. Curiosity makes journeys more fun. Perhaps you are curious about doing a triathlon but you don’t know how to run. If you spend three months learning to run, you would get into better shape and learn something new.

    3. How Can You Get to Your Goal in a Way That Feels Good?

    Using the “Yes, And” game is a great way to come up with innovative ideas for working towards your goals. If your first instinct is to go to the gym six days a week but you aren’t jazzed about it, find something that you like about that idea and make it better.

    For example, if what you like about going to the gym is that you work up a sweat, what if instead of the gym, you join a dance class where you can learn some new moves to show off on your vacation?

    4. What Is Important to You About Your Goal?

    When you dig into your goal, chances are that you’ll find a deeper meaning. If your goal is to “look good in a bikini,” ask yourself why that’s important to you.

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    For example, “I want to look good in my bikini because I want to have fun on vacation.” Then, ask yourself how much having fun on your vacation depends on how you look in your swimsuit.

    5. What Heart-Centered Action Can You Take That Will Help You Reach Your Goal?

    Whether your goal remains bikini-focused or changes to ways of having a good time on your vacation, choose an action that you can take that feels like it is coming from a place of love instead of fear.

    For example, suggest to your friends that you take scuba diving classes as a group before vacation. It will get you moving and bring your friends together.

    Long-Term Happiness and Satisfaction

    Fear-based motivation may help you achieve your goals in the short term, but it won’t lead to long-term happiness and satisfaction. Fear isn’t designed to be used for long periods, and you will eventually tire of the fear and give up on your goals. Love, however, is designed for longevity.

    Finding your motivation in a place of love will fuel you to reach your goals, whether your goals are about feeling good in a bikini, getting a promotion at work, or speaking up for what you believe in.

    More Tips on Boosting Motivation

    Featured photo credit: Jeremy Perkins via unsplash.com

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