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Motivation: 21 Words That Can Change Your Life and 3 That Will Surprise You

Motivation: 21 Words That Can Change Your Life and 3 That Will Surprise You

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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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Allyson Lewis

Allyson is a nationally acclaimed author, motivator, speaker, time management, productivity strategist, and executive coach.

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

2. Pace Yourself

Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

3. You Can’t Please Everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

6. It’s Not All About You

You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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