Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on January 14, 2021

What Motivates You in Life? 5 Steps to Find Out

What Motivates You in Life? 5 Steps to Find Out

You’ve probably heard the old adage “know thyself.” Understanding yourself is a key step in leading a happy, successful life. One way to understand yourself better is to find out what motivates you in life.

Motivation is best defined as what causes you to take action. There may be a change you want to make in your life, but to make it, you have to know what will cause to you take action.This will depend on a variety of factors. It is important to recognize the different causes of motivation so you can utilize the most effective ones in your own life.

Movement Is Not Always Progress

Since most people are busy taking action, determining your motivation is rarely discussed. You simply know you have a goal you are striving to achieve and you are willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish that goal.

While this approach can work, it is not the most effective. When you don’t know what motivates you in life, you are essentially using your willpower alone to accomplish your goals. [1]

However, willpower is an exhaustible resource, and that is why less than 20% of people accomplish their resolutions each year [2] If you want to be in the 20% who successfully change their lives, you need to utilize more than willpower. You need a plan that is structured in a way to capitalize on your strengths.

What Motivates You in Life Is Key

Someone who is focused on advancing their career is concerned more about the title than they are about the salary. Therefore, offering more money but the same title is not going to motivate this type of individual. If you were to offer the same person a newer title with the same pay, they would be motivated to take the position because advancement matters to them.

Advertising

Don’t underestimate the power of knowing what motivates you in life. There is a reason that most prosecutors must provide a motive for a jury to consider a defendant’s guilt. It is because your actions need to be linked with your beliefs.

If someone believes their life is in danger, then there is an expectation of the actions that person will take. There must be a consistency between the action the person took and the motive for why they took the action.

Put simply, you want your actions to match the results you are trying to achieve. For you to discover what motivates you in life, you need to consider the following:

1. You Would Do It for Free

If you are fortunate, you will get paid plenty of money to do what motivates you for a living. However, that is not always the case. There are plenty of people who did not make a living doing what they love. Vincent Van Gogh is known today as one of the greatest artists in history.

Did you know that he only sold one painting in his entire life? Van Gogh created over 900 paintings throughout his life, but he was only able to sell one.[3]

It was not until several years after his death that people started to appreciate his art work. Since Van Gogh loved to paint, he was not concerned about whether people purchased his paintings.

Advertising

Van Gogh’s motivation was not tied to whether people respected his work, nor was it contingent on his ability to earn a living. Van Gogh painted because he loved to paint.

2. It Is Always on Your Mind

What do you think about when you go to sleep and wake up? Sometimes you are moving so fast in life that you don’t listen to the message from your inner self. When you wake up, have a notebook next to you so you can capture your first thoughts each day. These are clues into what motivates you in life.

Keep your notebook on you and add any ideas you have throughout the day. As you fill the pages in your notebook, you should be able to recognize some commonalities in your thoughts. The things you think about all the time are things you care about.

In addition to your inner thoughts, what motivates you in life will include activities you are always talking about. When you are around your friends and family, what topics do you always bring up? Have you found yourself in a grocery store talking to the cashier or bag-person about this same topic? If so, it is likely you have found something you are passionate about and motivated to pursue.

3. You Get Lost in Learning

Are there activities you cannot get enough of and lose track of time engaging in? These are signs that you may have found something that motivates you in life. Studies show that if you are reading material that motivates you, you will read more and remember more than you would with materials that did not motivate you.[4]

The key to motivation is that you are pushed to take action. Whenever you feel compelled to take action, you’ll want to pay attention to why you take action.

Advertising

4. You Can List It in the Most Fulfilling Times of Your Life

Self reflection is a great way to recognize what motivates you in life. Think about the times in your life when you felt most proud of yourself. It could be when you hit the game-winning home run or when you landed your dream job. Whatever these moments are, write down each of them on a sheet of paper. Review your list and see if you recognize any commonalities.

Were you with family, performing in front of others, or helping those less fortunate? Whatever you were doing, these are clues to what motivates you in life.

Once you recognize the commonalities of what motivates you, take action to confirm. If you enjoy expressing your creativity, find a way to express your creativity. You may realize you have a very specific aspect of creativity you are motivated by.

There are going to be others who are motivated by helping those in need. If you believe you enjoy helping others, volunteer and see how you feel. You may realize you don’t like to help just anyone, but rather a particular cause that you are passionate about.

The point of this activity is not to judge your motivations, but to explore them.

5. You Would Do It If No One Was Watching

There are things you do in life because society tells you they are good ideas. Society tells you which school you should go to, which major and career you should choose, and even which city you should live in. There are certain choices that are considered prestigious and will be well-received by most people. Then, there is a less-celebrated path that is rarely traveled.

Advertising

Only you can answer the question, “Why am I on this path?” Are you on the path that will get you a pat on the back from your parents or your friends? Or are you on a path that few people understand and appreciate?

There is a saying that what you do when no one is looking defines you. If you take action to receive recognition from other people in your life, then you already have your reward. However, if you are provoked to take action according to your inner purpose, then you are doing what motivates you in life.

Final Thoughts

What motivates you in life is going to change over time. When you were young, life may have been simpler. Perhaps you were going to build a multi-billion dollar company because you were motivated by success and significance. However, when you were a bit older, you were motivated by freedom and the idea of traveling around the world. Then you had kids, and they became the driving force for everything you did in life.

As you experience different life events, you will realize your motivations will adjust accordingly. That is why it is a good idea to review what motivates you in life periodically. This will give you the opportunity to adjust your goals as your motivations change.

Featured photo credit: Jasmine B via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Undre Griggs

Coaching To Help Professionals And Organizations Change Their Beliefs So They Can Get Results.

What Motivates You in Life? 5 Steps to Find Out feeling restless 7 Reasons Why You’re Feeling Restless and Unmotivated How to Raise Your Self Worth and Trust Yourself More The Real Reason Why You Hate Working (And How to Turn It Around) How to Find Your Inner Strength and Let It Shine

Trending in Staying Motivated

1 Why You’re Not Interested in Anything And Have No Motivation 2 How to Find Motivation When Tough Times Won’t Seem to Pass 3 12 Things That Will Always Motivate You to Do a Good Job 4 5 Things to Do If You Don’t Want to Get Back to Work 5 How to Increase Motivation When You’re in a Slump

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on January 15, 2021

Why You’re Not Interested in Anything And Have No Motivation

Why You’re Not Interested in Anything And Have No Motivation

Let’s clarify something before we move forward: This article is in no way meant to cure, treat, or diagnose depression. Actually, this article isn’t even about depression. Depression is the result of a combination of unique events and genetic, psychological, and environmental predispositions.[1] When you’re depressed, you lose all hope for the future, always have no energy, consistently feel sad without knowing why, and are not interested in anything. If you feel like you might be suffering from this illness, you need to seek psychiatric help as soon as possible.

Nevertheless, what we’re talking about here focuses on something similar to yet entirely different from depression: lack of motivation or interest.

The purpose of this article is to help you figure out some practical solutions for getting back that zest for life and motivate yourself to find and do things that interest you.

If you’re not interested in anything and have little to no motivation, this article will help you.

Let’s dive in to the reasons why you feel unmotivated and uninterested.

1. You’re Stuck in a Rut

You wake up, work, eat, and go to sleep… Wake up, work, eat, and go to sleep… Wake up, work, eat, and go to sleep.

Advertising

Multiply those activities enough times, throw in some mindless web-surfing and YouTube-bingeing, and congratulations — you’ve got yourself in the middle of a bonafide rut.

Being stuck in a rut is like getting stranded in the middle of nowhere with nothing but saltine crackers and water. It feels as if you have no choice but to eat the same bland, flavorless food every day. You do it because you have to, not because you want to.

Lucky for you; you can get yourself out of that rut and reignite your interests by trying a couple of solutions.

Solutions:

  • Get out of your comfort zone by injecting new and challenging activities into your life.
  • Do more things you’re scared of.

Check out this article for more ideas on how to get out of a rut: Stuck in a Rut? 5 Ways to Get Out and Move Forward.

2. You’re Not Playing to Your Strengths

One of the reasons why you are probably not interested in anything right now is that your daily activities aren’t tailored around your strengths. In other words, you’re not doing things you’re great at.

Advertising

To find your strengths, try my GPS Formula by asking yourself:[2]

  1. What am I GREAT at?
  2. What am I PASSIONATE about?
  3. How can I combine the two mentioned above in SERVICE to others?

The convergence of your answers is the key to finding your strengths.

Solutions:

  • Conduct the GPS Formula exercise described above.
  • Experiment with new ideas and potential hobbies.
  • Consider starting a side-hustle like an online business based around something you’re great at.

3. Your Subconscious Beliefs Hold You Back

Sometimes, we hold back and prevent ourselves from embracing exciting changes because we’re afraid of failure. Maybe you’d like to try picking up a new skill or sport, but you make up reasons for why you’re not interested in learning more. You tell yourself you’re not interested… But is that really true?

Do you lack interest or courage?

Often, a lack of the latter keeps us from exploring more of the former.

Advertising

Solutions: 

  • Challenge yourself to try more activities to see if they might peak your interest, even though you think you might fail.
  • Think of them as trial runs or tests, if you will, to help you determine whether they’re worth pursuing.

4. You’re Not Aiming High Enough

Regardless of what we seek to accomplish in life, it’s how much we desire to achieve our goals that end up becoming crucial to fulfilling them. Unfortunately, too many people try to set limits on their desire and tell themselves and others that they don’t need incredible success.

However, this kind of thinking is dangerous. When we limit the scope of our desire, we put a cap on what we’re willing to do to reach our goals and succeed in life. When that happens, we limit the scope of our motivation and interest on any given activity and a general sense of fulfillment.

A lack of exciting and desirable goals easily lowers your motivation and makes you feel like you’re not interested in anything.

The solution to this problem is what’s known as The 10X Rule,[3] which states that: You must set targets that are 10 times what you think you want and then do 10 times what you think it will take to accomplish those targets.

While some folks will tell you that setting impossible goals kills motivation and that it’s better to “underpromise and overdeliver,” this line of thinking is foolish. 10X-targets (commonly called stretch goals) will only spur you on harder to do more and try more than you ever have done before.[4] Besides, even if we fall short of achieving our 10X-level aims and ambitions, it is still better to fall short of achieving a massive target than merely achieving a tiny one. If you aim high enough, you’ll demand more from yourself and become better in pursuit of a massive goal.

Advertising

Nonetheless, setting a high target is only the first step. The next step is to take ten times the amount of action you think is necessary to reach that target.

Solutions:

  • When we have small, uninspiring goals, we tend to feel lethargic and unmotivated to achieve them. On the flip side, when we have vast and ambitious goals, we feel empowered and invigorated to take action towards achieving them.[5] Bottom line? Set massive goals and take massive action.
  • Push yourself to your outermost limits. The more action you take, the more motivated and interested you become to work towards your goals further.

Time to Spark!

Try the methods described above, and you’ll be well on your way to reigniting the interest and motivation you need to lead a fulfilling life.

More on Overcoming Lack of Motivation and Interest

Featured photo credit: Joshua Rawson-Harris via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next