The Scientific Guide on How to Get & Stay Motivated.
Scientists define motivation as your general willingness to do something. It is the set of psychological forces that compel you to take action.
What is Motivation?
So what is motivation, exactly? The author Steven Pressfield in his book “ The War of Art” is saying “At some point, the pain of not doing it becomes greater than the pain of doing it.”
In other words, at some point, it is easier to change than to stay the same. It is easier to take action and feel insecure at the gym than to sit still and experience self-loathing on the couch. It is easier to feel awkward while making the sales call than to feel disappointed about your dwindling bank account.
Every choice has a price, but when we are motivated, it is easier to bear the inconvenience of action than the pain of remaining the same.
Somehow we cross a mental threshold—usually after weeks of procrastination and in the face of an impending deadline—and it becomes more painful to not do the work than to actually do it.
Now for the important question: What can we do to make it more likely that we cross this mental threshold and feel motivated on a consistent basis?
1. Common misconceptions about Motivation.
One of the most surprising things about motivation is that it often comes after starting a new behavior, not before.
Motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Getting started, even in very small ways, is a form of active inspiration that naturally produces momentum.
Nearly all of the friction in a task is at the beginning. After you start, progress occurs more naturally. In other words, it is often easier to finish a task than it was to start it in the first place.
Thus, one of the keys to getting motivated is to make it easy to start.
2. How to get Motivated and take action.
Many people struggle to find the motivation they need to achieve the goals they want because they are wasting too much time and energy on other parts of the process. If you want to make it easy to find motivation and get started, then it helps to automate the early stages of your behavior.
A) Schedule your Motivation
If your workout doesn’t have a time when it usually occurs, then each day you’ll wake up thinking “I hope I feel motivated to exercise today.”
If your business doesn’t have a system for marketing, then you’ll show up at work crossing your fingers that you’ll find a way to get the word out (in addition to everything else you have to do).
Setting a schedule for yourself seems simple, but it puts your decision-making on autopilot by giving your goals a time and a place to live.
Stop waiting for Motivation or Inspiration to strike you and set a schedule for your habits.!
B) How to Get Motivated (Even When You Don't Feel Like It)
Build a ritual. The power of a ritual, provides a mindless way to initiate your behavior. It makes starting your habits easier and that means following through on a consistent basis is easier.
The key to any good ritual is that it removes the need to make a decision: What should I do first? When should I do this? How should I do this? Most people never get moving because they can’t decide how to get started. You want starting a behavior to be easy and automatic so you have the strength to finish it when it becomes difficult and challenging.
3. How to Stay Motivated for the Long-Run
We have covered some strategies for making it easier to get motivated and start a task. What about maintaining motivation over the long-run? How can you stay motivated for good?
Human beings love challenges, but only if they are within the optimal zone of difficulty. Tasks that are significantly below your current abilities are boring. Tasks that are significantly beyond your current abilities are discouraging. But tasks that are right on the border of success and failure are incredibly motivating to our human brains. We want nothing more than to master a skill just beyond our current horizon.
Humans experience peak motivation when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their current abilities. Not too hard. Not too easy. Just right!
If you find yourself feeling unmotivated to work on a task, it is often because it has drifted into an area of boredom or been shoved into an area of great difficulty. You need to find a way to pull your tasks back to the border of your abilities where you feel challenged, but capable.
In conclusion: This Is Life!
Life is a constant balance between giving into the ease of distraction or overcoming the pain of discipline. It is not an exaggeration to say that our lives and our identities are defined in this delicate balance. What is life, if not the sum of a hundred thousand daily battles and tiny decisions to either gut it out or give it up?
This moment when you don’t feel like doing the work? This is not a moment to be thrown away. This is not a dress rehearsal. This moment is your life as much as any other moment. Spend it in a way that will make you proud.
Extracted from https://jamesclear.com/articles