Advertising
Advertising

Published on July 22, 2020

What Is Motivation And How It Can Change Your Life

What Is Motivation And How It Can Change Your Life

You’ve been thinking about learning to drive since you were a teenager. You believe having a car would give you freedom, choice, and adventure—as well as enhancing your career prospects.

But despite these beliefs and the encouragement of your friends and family, you’ve never gotten around to learning to drive.

What has stopped you?

Well, you might blame it on a lack of time or a lack of money. But in reality, it’s probably due to a lack of motivation. And this lack of motivation could well be holding you back in all areas of your life.

Now, imagine if you had zest and boundless motivation. You would not only learn to drive and get yourself a car, but you’d be excited to take on other big goals too. And with lots to aim for—you’d be passionate and alive.

The Motive Behind Motivation

Firstly, have you ever stopped to ask yourself, “what is motivation?”

Well, while I could give you a long, detailed answer, I prefer to share with you this simple definition:

Motivation is the driving force behind your actions.

Take eating, for instance. When you wake up in the morning, you’re probably motivated to grab a bite to eat. And even if you usually skip breakfast, I’m sure that by lunchtime you’re super-motivated to eat some food!

In this case, hunger motivates you to find and eat something. So, are you hungry in other areas of your life?

If you want to be successful, then you’ll need to be.

Wealthy people are hungry for money, fit people are hungry for health, and wise people are hungry for knowledge.

It’s their hunger that pushes them to succeed. Without this, they would probably just be daydreamers who never achieved anything major in life.

Advertising

The good news is that it’s never too late to learn how to become motivated and to inject that power into all areas of your life.

Let’s look now at exactly how to do that.

Making Motivation Work for You

There are five elements of becoming motivated that you’ll need to learn and adopt if you’re serious about changing your life. Each element will help boost your motivation, but all five together will super-charge it!

I’ll talk about these five elements and give you examples so you can see each element in action.

1. Finding Inspiration

The number one cause of feeling unmotivated is having nothing to be inspired by. If nothing excites you, then nothing will motivate you.

Is there a way to find inspiration? You bet there is!

The trick is to go back in your life to the times when fun, adventure, and enthusiasm ruled the day. This could be last year, five years ago, or even back to when you were a child.

One thing is certain: there were days when your life was exciting and purposeful.

It may have been your first kiss, your first holiday with friends, or the thrill of getting your first job. Think back to how you felt at that time—probably on top of the world. That’s the emotion that you need to rekindle in your life.

Another reason to look back in your life is that you may have given up following dreams that other people (possibly your parents) told you were a waste of time. These might be things like becoming a professional musician, actor, or sports star.

We all had ambitious dreams like these when we were young. But more often than not, these dreams were crushed by adults who told us to be ‘realistic’ about our lives.

If you want to be excited about life again, then allow yourself to dream once more.

This could lead you, for example, to join a drama class to train as an actor. Even if this remains as a hobby, you’ll start to taste enthusiasm in your life again. And you’ll be able to take this inspiration and use it in different areas of your life.

Advertising

2. Goal Setting

American football coach Vince Lombardi once said:

“Success demands singleness of purpose.”

In other words, you must know what you want before you have any chance of getting it.

When you start to set goals for yourself, you’ll quickly find that you have purpose and motivation. It’s the difference between sailing to a specific destination or just letting your boat drift upon the ocean.

The secret to goal setting is to start off small. Choose some easy to achieve goals like giving up caffeine for one day a week or waking up every day 30 minutes earlier than you normally do.

Once you’ve achieved your small goals, you’ll notice that you’ll have grown in self-confidence and belief. That’s when you’ll be ready to set some bigger goals. These might be things such as finding a new job, clearing your debts, or even traveling the world!

Bigger goals may seem hard to achieve. But you’ll make them more palatable by breaking them down into bite-sized chunks.

For example, if your goal is to find a new job, then you could break this down into the following steps:

  • Decide what job you really want to do.
  • Tailor your resume to match this job.
  • Practice your interview skills.
  • Register with recruitment agencies.
  • Take on any advice they recommend (such as boosting your qualifications).
  • Go along to interviews.
  • Celebrate when you’re offered the role you want!

Goal setting is fundamental to being motivated. It costs nothing to do, yet it will reward you abundantly.

3. Persistence

The third element that you must have to be motivated is persistence. This trait will keep you going when the going inevitably gets tough.

Just think of a runner in a marathon. If they reach halfway but feel half-dead (most runners say this happens to them), then without the element of persistence, they’ll probably call it quits.

The winners are the people who keep running until the finish life—however arduous that may be for them.

It’s the same story when it comes to your hobbies, relationships, or career. If you quit when things aren’t going so well, you’ll never find the happiness and satisfaction that come from staying the course.

Advertising

Life is always a mixture of ups and downs. This is why you must be persistent if you want to achieve big things in your life.

4. Getting Support

If you try to do everything yourself, you’ll set yourself up for failure.

The reality is that to achieve any big goal you will need the help and support of other people. It’s just not possible (or desirable) to do everything yourself.

To give you an example of this, let me tell you a short story from the early days of Lifehack.

Back in 2005, the website was just starting to take off, and I was getting lots of new subscribers. Some companies were even asking to advertise on the site.

This was at the time when I was writing the content, marketing the content, answering subscriber queries, maintaining the website, etc. Lifehack really was a one-man band at the start.

But as its popularity soared, I found myself becoming too busy to handle everything that needed doing. That’s when I decided to hire some people to help me!

Initially, I hired someone to look after the finances, someone to look after the marketing, and someone to help me out with creating new content.

It was amazing the difference this made. Instead of being stressed out and working all the hours under the sun (and moon!), I was able to find time to plan the way forward for Lifehack and to create a strategy for success.

And it worked. Lifehack is now one of the most visited self-improvement sites in the world.

So how about you? Do you try to do everything yourself?

If yes, then you MUST break out of this habit if you want to achieve big things.

I’d also recommend you consider getting support from a mentor. Read our article How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed for how to get started with this.

Advertising

5. Rewarding Yourself

The final essential element for boosting your motivation is to reward yourself as you achieve your goals — whether these are big or small.

For instance, imagine that you set a goal to redecorate your home. This would probably include purchasing and fitting items, such as new carpets and curtains. But it would likely also include repainting most of the rooms in your home.

Now, it would be unrealistic to expect to redecorate your whole place in a day. Instead, you’d probably want to do a little at a time. Maybe something like this:

  • Choosing new carpets
  • Choosing new curtains and blinds
  • Choosing paint for each room
  • Purchasing the items
  • Arranging a carpet fitter
  • Painting the walls and ceilings (you might choose to do this yourself)
  • Fitting the curtains
  • Inviting your friends and family around to see your new-look home!

Each of these steps may take you a few hours or a few days. But to keep you motivated, my recommendation is to reward yourself when you complete each step.

A small reward for the steps listed above could be going out to get a coffee and cake at your local café. A big reward for having completed your redecoration goal could be to go out for a meal with your friends or partner.

By rewarding yourself as you go along—and at the end—you’ll keep yourself focused on completing your goal, and you’ll be excited to set the next one!

Start the Motor!

Have you noticed that the pronunciation of motivation sounds like MOTORvation?

While I’m not encouraging you to use the incorrect spelling, I would like you to think of motivation as a motor—one that you can switch on to help drive you forward in all areas of your life.

When motivated, you’ll be unstoppable. You’ll no longer procrastinate and look for excuses for not doing stuff. Instead, you’ll be a super-powered success story!

So turn the key and get started!

Featured photo credit: Tegan Mierle via unsplash.com

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

35 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2020 Updated) 7 Tips for Overcoming Challenges in Life Like a Pro What Should Be Your End Goal In Life Above All Else? Fail Forward: How Setbacks Can Fuel Future Success 25 Best Audiobooks to Make the Most of Your Commute

Trending in Motivation

1 How to Train Your Brain to Be Optimistic 2 Living in the Past? 7 Ways To Let Go And Live A Happy Life 3 6 Reasons Why Your Comfort Zone Is Holding You Back In Life 4 No Motivation? 7 Great Ways To Overcome Loss Of Motivation 5 7 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be a Happier Person

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

Advertising

Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

Advertising

How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

Advertising

Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

Read Next