You may find your motivation waning. For example, perhaps you told yourself that you would reward yourself with a slice of cake when you completed a task. But now, you don’t care. You’re going to have that slice of cake, regardless. But you also know it’s important to push through this tricky patch and keep going. What can you do to stay motivated?
As we discussed in last month’s newsletter, there are two forms of motivation: extrinsic and intrinsic. Outside rewards such as a slice of cake are extrinsic forms of motivation. While these are much easier to set-up and use, their effectiveness is limited. But intrinsic motivation, which comes from within you, can be harder to find. Focusing on your “why” though, can help you achieve it.
Identifying Your Why
The reason you want to stay motivated is because you’ve already decided that the end goal is important. Identifying the reason that goal is so important to you, is your “why.” But it’s not necessarily what you think it is. Sometimes, you have to dig a little deeper. The “three layers of why” technique can help you get to the truth. This is when you ask yourself “and why is that important” three times.
For example, you might have set a goal to do a yoga class once a week. On your first “why,” you might respond with, “because it will help me relax.” Asking it again might move you to a second layer with your reason being, “it’s important I relax so I’m not so stressed at home and shouting at everyone.” The third layer can be tricky, but it could result in something like, “It’s important that I’m not stressed and shouting because I want good relationships with my children and partner.” It is unlikely that this would have been your initial response to why it’s important you attend that yoga class. But you can see how much more motivating this reason is compared to, “I need to relax.”
Visualising Your Why
Another technique you can use to get motivated by your “why” is visualisation. With this, you simply visualise how life will be when you have achieved your goal. This will work best if you’ve also revealed your third layer. You can do this in the form of a visualisation board that you put on a wall, or through regular meditation. But if you keep seeing the picture of how things will be after, you’re much more likely to be motivated to push on through the challenging times.
Understanding your “why” can also help you resist pressures from outside. There is always someone willing to tell you that you’re doing the wrong thing or are being unrealistic. That’s before we get to the societal pressures we’re under to conform in some way. However, when you’re holding tight to your real reason for doing something, it becomes much easier to stand strong and continue your path.
In our next blog post, we’ll be discussing numerous ways in which you can keep motivated. For now, let me know in the comments what your “third layer of why” is for one of your goals.
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