10 Things You May Not Know About Motivation

  1. We are naturally motivated by default. It’s only when obstacles appear that we lose our motivation.
  2. You’re not lazy. People like to claim that they are just lazy or that other people are lazy. When related to motivation, saying that someone is lazy is just another way of saying that they are unmotivated.
  3. Confusion is an obstacle. Often, we fail to take action on our goals because we’re confused about what the next step is or we’re confused about which tools we need to use in order to take action. If you know to look out for this as an obstacle, it’s easier to remove than when you’re off looking in another direction…or not looking at all.
  4. The way you think is an obstacle…and a support. Your self-talk (or internal dialogue) greatly influences your actions. Think you can accomplish your goal? You can. Think you can’t accomplish your goal? You can’t. So pay attention to how you’re thinking.
  5. Motivation requires a goal. People sometimes say, “I’m just not motivated lately.” Motivated to do what? You must have a goal or objective in order to get motivated. Some people confuse a lack of energy or optimism for having a lack of motivation. Motivation is always goal-focused.
  6. You can’t hold yourself accountable. Okay, in rare cases you can, but most of the time, it’s exceptionally difficult for you to hold yourself accountable for anything. When you make up the rules, you can bend or break them if nobody is watching or aware of the rules.
  7. Motivation contracts are powerful. Everybody says to write down your goals. But without clearly defined consequences for not following the plan and how the consequences will be enacted, many goal plans will fail. A motivation contract covers every detail of goal achievement, including how to hold you accountable, which requires one or more people who will hold the key to your consequence and the power to execute the consequence. To read more eye-opening details about accountability, download The Unofficial Guide to Motivation (abridged edition). It’s a free, instant download with no email address required.
  8. Pain is the third-best motivator. Trying to avoid a painful consequence is typically going to motivate you more than trying to gain a specific reward. It’s a lot harder to overcome the inertia of everyday life to work hard, sometimes for days or weeks, to gain a positive reward.
  9. Accountability is the second-best motivator. Why? Because accountability usually includes painful consequences and they usually hit us on a deep emotional level. With accountability the goal is usually more well-defined and there is usually one person or a group of people tracking your progress and holding you accountable.
  10. Enthusiasm is the best motivator of all. Everyone likes to think that they are more motivated by positive consequences than by negative ones. It’s a lovely idea, but very much not true. When it comes to motivation, pain is a far more powerful motivator than pleasurable rewards. But Enthusiasm breaks this rule. There is something mind-blowing about enthusiasm. When you hook into a goal that you connect with on all levels and it really resonates with who you are, then your enthusiasm explodes. If you have enthusiasm, you don’t need contracts, accountability or any other motivation strategies or tricks. You will be self-propelled to take action simply because you want to and you’re excited to do so. This kind of motivation is pretty rare though. But it is, indeed, the absolute best motivator because it’s intrinsic and natural.

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