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Why It’s Never Too Late to Change Your Life and Live Differently

Why It’s Never Too Late to Change Your Life and Live Differently

Everyday we live our life in constant motion, and with that motion, there will always be a flow or some kind of change that follows. Some changes we welcome open heartedly, while others we might find ourselves pushing aside to avoid them.

Now, it’s time to ask ourselves the honest question – how often do we limit ourselves from opportunities, experiences, and even give up certain dreams because we’re digging up the most used excuses in the book? How often do we cross things off of our bucket list not because we’ve completed it, but because we’re too fixated on how we’re not able to or capable of doing them?

One time is already too many times.

There is no other force stronger than willpower, and it’s the willpower to either look beyond the obstacles that lay ahead of you, get through it, or walk away not because you are unable to complete it but because plans change.

Plans are meant to change, and so is life. And it’s never too late to change your life.

Here’re the steps to getting rid of the mindset roadblocks and how to achieve the life you’ve always wanted.

3 Mindset Roadblocks to get rid of

1. “I’m Too Old to Start.”

As the saying goes, “age is just a number” and it’s actually just a measurement of time lived.

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We often associate our age as a timeline for our goals.

I want to move to the city by 25. I want to have a successful business by 30. I want to own a house by 35. I want to have traveled to 20 countries by 40…

It’s when our goals aren’t met that the instant feeling of failure comes trickling in. The essence of time is not to be used as a set goal, but instead a guideline.

Life happens all the time and at a different pace than everyone around you. There’s a huge difference between getting distracted with life’s curve balls and letting those moments define you versus becoming aware of them, and finding an alternative route.

At the end, time shouldn’t be the essence of what to accomplish by when, but instead a guideline to show us if we’re on track and if that bucket list is still in alignment to you.

2. “I Don’t Have Enough Money.”

How often do we say, “I don’t have enough money” versus “I have more than enough money?” The phrase “I don’t have enough money” is so common and easily integrated in our daily conversations that we don’t notice the negative effect it has in return. It’s time to change that money script,[1] also known as money blocks.

The relationship and conversations we have with money is actually more impactful on our being than we think, and having a positive mindset about it is key to living the life you truly desire.

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We often let money dictate the way we live our lives, and over time, the yearning and hunger to change our lives becomes more prominent – if not urgent.

An abundance mindset means to focus on what you have now instead of what you don’t have. By focusing your energy on being grateful for the opportunities money can already provide you – including the smartphone or computer which you are currently reading this article – it already changes the conversation you have with it.

Everything in life requires energy. It takes the same amount of energy to talk negatively or positively about your circumstances, so why not take the latter.

3. “I’ll Start Tomorrow.”

Starting tomorrow is always the greatest set back, and by pushing your personal goals to the side, you are subconsciously letting your brain know that it’s not of importance. Your goals always matter and hold value.

First, look and see if it’s a particular habit that is preventing you from going forward with your goals or reflect where you are spending most of your time:

  • Are you saying yes to everything and taking on other people’s projects more than your own?
  • Are you burnt out?
  • Are you feeling overwhelmed that you don’t know where to start?

The first step is always self-awareness.

How to Live Differently

1. Define the What and Why

Think about what’s important to you and why this is the make up of your core:

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  • Are you looking for a change in career? If so, then dig deeper into why you want this career change and what are negotiable and non-negotiables in your new career.
  • Are you looking for more free time to take on creative pursuits? Think about why this has significant value to you, and what you’re willing to give up in your current situation in order to make room for this freedom.
  • Are you looking to start completely new and move to an unfamiliar place? Think about what you like about that particular place and how it taps into your emotions.

In order to live differently, you must be comfortable enough with yourself because it all stems down to the confidence within you.

Your confidence and self awareness is the drive that will push you to make the uncomfortable decisions and navigate uncommon grounds when life tests you. Digging deep and getting to the core of it all can reassure that these new paths are in alignment to your values.

2. Show up as That Version of Yourself

If you want to live differently and feel more successful in your life, you must first begin to show up as that version of yourself.

You have to play the role[2] and you can do this by picturing someone you highly admire. It can be their leadership qualities, how they deal with certain situations, or how they present theirselves and show up daily.

Showing up in this different lifestyle also energetically brings this vision into your reality.

3. Little Makes More of an Impact

When you want to change your life, it’s doesn’t have to be this grandeur moment. Often times, small steps and changes make more of an impact and return.

For instance, if one of your goals is to be healthier and shed some pounds this year, the common route would be to get a gym membership, establish a diet plan, and commit to exercising x times a week. While these are great ways to start, understand that good habits also take some time and patience to form.

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In the meantime, healthier living isn’t only limited to dieting and exercising. It’s taking smaller bite size steps such as cutting sugar from your coffee that can stretch far in the long run.

For example, you usually have your coffee black with one sugar packet. You drink two coffees in one day – one before work and another during work. One sugar packet is equivalent to about four grams of sugar, times the two cups you have daily. In one month alone, you are easily consuming 240 grams of sugar.

Little changes like cutting out sugar in your coffee intake can easily make a greater impact in the future.

Final Thoughts

Remember that it’s never too late to change your life and factors such as age, time, or even experience shouldn’t hinder your yearning to pursue your dreams, projects, and live differently.

As our life continues forward, always remember that you are in constant motion and also in constant control. You are always more ready than you think you are. It comes down to the one life we live and it’s always worth making it a great one.

More Resources About Making Changes in Life

Featured photo credit: Joseph Barrientos via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Akina Chargualaf

Akina Chargualaf is an entrepreneur, writer, and the content creator of travel and personal development blog Finding Fifth.

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Last Updated on September 30, 2020

Why Intrinsic Motivation Is So Powerful (And How to Find It)

Why Intrinsic Motivation Is So Powerful (And How to Find It)

Motivation is one of the main reasons we do things — take an action, go to work (and sometimes overwork ourselves), create goals, exercise our willpower. There are two main, universally agreed upon types of motivation — intrinsic motivation (also known as internal motivation) and extrinsic motivation (external motivation).

The intrinsic kind is, by inference, when you do something because it’s internally fulfilling, interesting or enjoyable — without an expectation of a reward or recognition from others. Extrinsic motivation is driven by exactly the opposite — externalities, such as the promise of more money, a good grade, positive feedback, or a promotion.

And of course, we all know about the big debate about money. It’s surely an external driver, but is it possible that it can sometimes make us enjoy what we do more? A meta-analysis that reviewed 120 years of research found a weak link between job satisfaction and money[1].

And what’s more — there is some evidence to suggest that more money can actually have an adverse effect on your intrinsic motivation.

Regardless of its type, motivation is still important to get you moving, to improve, excel, and put that extra effort when you feel like you don’t have a single drop of energy left to keep going.

So, let’s see some of the best things you can do to keep the fire going, even when you’d rather just indulge in pleasant idleness.

Why Intrinsic Motivation Tops Extrinsic Motivation

“To be motivated means to be moved to do something.”[2]

Generally speaking, we all need motivation.

An avalanche of research, though, shows that when it comes to finding the lasting drive to “do something,” internal incentives are much more powerful than extrinsic rewards.

Why? It’s simple.

There is a great difference when you engage in something because “I want to,” as opposed to “I must.” Just think about the most obvious example there is: work.

If you go to work every day, dragging your feet and dreading the day ahead of you, how much enjoyment will you get from your job? What about productivity and results? Quality of work?

Yep, that’s right, you definitely won’t be topping the Employee of the Month list anytime soon.

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The thing with external motivation is that it doesn’t last. It’s susceptible to something psychologists call Hedonic Adaptation[3]. It’s a fancy way of saying that external rewards are not a sustainable source of happiness and satisfaction.

When you put in 100-hour weeks in order to get promoted, and you finally are, how long does your “high” last? The walking-on-a-cloud feelings wear off quickly, research tells us, making you want more. Therefore, you are stuck on a never-ending “hedonic treadmill,” i.e. you can progressively only become motivated by bigger and shinier things, just to find out that they don’t bring you the satisfaction you hoped for, when you finally get them.

Or, as the journalist and author Oliver Burkeman wonderfully puts it[4]:

“Write every day” won’t work unless you want to write. And no exercise regime will last long if you don’t at least slightly enjoy what you’re doing.

If you want to find out more about the different types of motivation, take a look at this article: 9 Types of Motivation That Make It Possible to Reach Your Dreams

Benefits of Intrinsic Motivation

If you are still unconvinced that doing things solely for kudos and brownie points is not going to keep you going forever, nor make you like what you do, here is some additional proof:

Studies tell us that intrinsic motivation is a generally stronger predictor of job performance over the long run than extrinsic motivation[5].

One reason is that when we are internally driven to do something, we do it simply for the enjoyment of the activity. So, we keep going, day in and out, because we feel inspired, driven, happy, and satisfied with ourselves.

Another reason has to do with the fact that increasing intrinsic motivation is intertwined with things such as higher purpose, contributing to a cause, or doing things for the sake of something bigger than ourselves or our own benefit. A famous study done by the organizational psychologist Adam Grant is case in point[6].

By showing university fundraisers how the money donated by alumni can help financially struggling students to graduate from college, their productivity increased by 400% a week! The callers also showed an average increase of 142% in time spent on the phone and 171% increase in money raised.

Internal motivation has been found to be very helpful when it comes to academia, too. Research confirms that the use of external motivators, such as praise, undermine students’ internal motivation, and, in the long-run, it results in “slower acquisition of skills and more errors in the learning process.”[7]

In contrast, when children are internally driven, they are more involved in the task at hand, enjoy it more, and intentionally seek out challenges.

Therefore, all the research seems to allude to one major revelation: intrinsic motivation is a must-have if you want to save yourself the drudgery we all sometimes feel when contemplating the things we should do or must do.

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6 Ways to Enhance Your Intrinsic Motivation

So, how does one get more of the good stuff — that is, how do you become internally motivated?

There are many things you can do to become more driven. Here are the ones that top the list.

1. Self-Efficacy

The theory of self-efficacy was developed by the American-Canadian psychologist Albert Bandura in 1982[8]. Efficacy is our own belief in whether we can achieve the goals we set for ourselves. In other words, it’s whether we think we “got what it takes” to be successful at what we do[9].

Find intrinsic motivation with self-efficacy.

    It’s not hard to see the link of self-efficacy to higher self-esteem, better performance, and, of course, enhanced motivation. People with high self-efficacy are more likely to put extra effort in what they do, to self-set more challenging goals, and be more driven to improve their skills[10].

    Therefore, the belief that we can accomplish something serves as a self-fulfilling prophecy — it motivates us to try harder to prove to ourselves that we can do it.

    You can learn more about self-efficacy in this article: What Is Self Efficacy and How to Improve Yours

    2. Link Your Actions to a Greater Purpose

    Finding your “why” in life is incredibly important. This means that you need to be clear with yourself on why you do what you do and what drives you. What is intrinsically rewarding for you? 

    And no matter how mundane a task may be, it can always be linked to something bigger and better. Psychologists call this “reframing your narrative.”

    Remember the famous story of John F. Kennedy visiting NASA in 1961? As it goes, he met a janitor there and asked him what he did at NASA. The answer was:

    “I’m helping to put a man on the Moon.”

    Inspirational, isn’t it?

    Re-phrasing how your actions can help others and leave a mark in the universe can be a powerful driver and a meaning-creator.

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    3. Volunteer

    Volunteering is a great way to give back to the world. It can also help boost your internal motivation by making you feel important in supporting the less fortunate, learning new skills, feeling good about yourself, or linking to some of your inner values, such as kindness and humanitarianism[11].

    When you remove any external reward expectations and do something for the pure joy and fulfilment of improving others’ lives, then you are truly intrinsically motivated.

    4. Don’t Wait Until You “Feel Like It” to Do Something

    A great piece in the Harvard Business Review points out that when we say things as “I can’t make myself go to the gym” or “I can’t get up early,” what we actually mean is that we don’t feel like it[12]. There is nothing that psychically prevents us from doing those things, apart from our laziness.

    But here’s the thing: You don’t have to “feel like it” in order to take action.

    Sometimes, it so happens that you may not want to do something in the beginning, but once you start, you get into the flow and find your intrinsic motivation.

    For instance, you don’t feel like going to the gym after a long day at work. Rather than debating in your head for hours “for and against” it, just go. Tell yourself that you will think about it later. Once in the gym, surrounded by similar souls, you suddenly won’t fee that tired or uninspired.

    Another way to overcome procrastination is to create routines and follow them. Once the habit sets in, suddenly getting up at 6 am for work or writing for an hour every day won’t be so dreadful.

    5. Self-Determination, or the CAR Model (As I Call It)

    The Self-Determination theory was created by two professors of psychology from the University of Rochester in the mid-80s—Richard Ryan and Edward Deci[13]. The theory is one of the most popular ones in the field of motivation[14]. It focuses on the different drivers behind our behavior—i.e. the intrinsic and extrinsic motivators.

    There are three main needs, the theory further states, that can help us meet our need for growth. These are also the things which Profs. Deci and Ryan believed to be the main ways to enhance our intrinsic motivation—Competence, Autonomy, and Relatedness (CAR).

    If our jobs allow us to learn and grow, and if we have enough autonomy to do things our way and be creative, then we will be more driven to give our best, and our performance will soar. In addition, as humans are social beings, we also need to feel connected to others and respected.

    All of these sources of intrinsic motivation, separately and in combination, can become powerful instigators to keep us thriving, even when we feel uninspired and unmotivated .

    6. Tap Into a Deeper Reason

    Some interesting research done in 2016 sought answers to how high-performing employees remain driven when their company can’t or won’t engage in ways to motivate them—intrinsically or extrinsically[15].

    The study tracked workers in a Mexican factory, where they did exactly the same tasks every day, with virtually zero chances for learning new skills, developing professionally, or being promoted. Everyone was paid the same, regardless of performance. So there was no extrinsic motivation at all, other than keeping one’s job.

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    A third kind of motivation was then discovered, which scientists called “family motivation.” Workers who agreed more with statements such as “I care about supporting my family” or “It is important for me to do good for my family” were more energized and performed better, although they didn’t have any additional external or internal incentive to do so.

    The great thing about this kind of driver is that it’s independent of the company one works for or the situation. It taps into something even deeper—if you don’t want to do something for your own sake, then do it for the people you care for.

    And this is a powerful motive, as many can probably attest to this.

    Final Thoughts

    Frederick Herzberg, the American psychologist who developed what’s perhaps still today the most famous theory of motivation, in his renowned article from 1968 (which sold a modest 1.2 million reprints and it the most requested article from Harvard Business Review One More Time, How Do You Motivate Employees? wrote:[16]

    “If I kick my dog, he will move. And when I want him to move again, what must I do? I must kick him again. Similarly, I can charge a person’s battery, and then recharge it, and recharge it again. But it is only when one has a generator of one’s own that we can talk about motivation. One then needs no outside stimulation. One wants to do it.”

    Herzberg further explains that the so-called “hygiene factors” (salary, job security, benefits, vacation time, work conditions) don’t lead to fulfillment, nor motivation. What does, though, are the “motivators”—challenging work, opportunities for growth, achievement, greater responsibility, recognition, the work itself.

    Herzberg realized it long ago…intrinsic motivation tips the scales when it comes to finding long-term happiness and satisfaction in everything we do, and to improving our overall well-being.

    In the end, the next time when you need to give yourself a bit of a kick to get something done, remember to link it to a goal bigger than yourself, and preferably one that has non-material benefit.

    And no, don’t say that you tried but it’s just impossible to find internal motivation. Remember the janitor at NASA?

    Because once you find your internal generator, you will be truly unstoppable.

    More Tips to Boost Motivation

    Featured photo credit: Juan Ramos via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Harvard Business Review: Does Money Really Affect Motivation? A Review of the Research
    [2] Contemporary Educational Psychology: Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations: Classic Definitions and New Directions
    [3] Scientific American: The Science of Lasting Happiness
    [4] The Guardian: Is the secret of productivity really just doing what you enjoy?
    [5] European Journal of Business and Management: Impact of Employee Motivation on Employee Performance
    [6] Adam Grant : Impact and the Art of Motivation Maintenance: The Effects of Contact With Beneficiaries on Persistence Behavior
    [7] Grand Valley State University: The Effect of Rewards and Motivation on Student Achievement
    [8] Encyclopedia Britannica: Albert Bandura
    [9] Pinterest: Self-Efficacy Theory
    [10] Educational Psychologist: Goal Setting and Self-Efficacy During Self-Regulated Learning
    [11] University of Minnesota: The Motivations to Volunteer: Theoretical and Practical Considerations
    [12] Harvard Business Review: How to Make Yourself Work When You Just Don’t Want To
    [13] Richard Ryan and Edward Deci: Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations: Classic Definitions and New Directions
    [14] Richard Ryan and Edward Deci: Self-Determination Theory and the Facilitation of Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development, and Well-Being
    [15] Nick Tasler: How some people stay motivated and energized at work—even when they don’t love their jobs
    [16] Harvard Business Review: One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees?

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