We often start with grand ideas of who we’d like to become, how much weight we’d like to lose, how much happier we’d like to be, but that soon disappears into a puddle of anti-motivation.
Mostly because we use the stick rather than the carrot on ourselves. We want to be a better person because we don’t like who we are so we push away from what we don’t like. We want to lose weight because we think we’re too fat so we push away from what we don’t like. We want to be happier because we feel so miserable and we can’t stand feeling like that anymore so we push away from it.
We use too much push (stick) and not enough pull (carrot).
So what happens is we’re so focused on the stick that even small progresses towards the carrot are not recognised or are not good enough.
“I’m so unhappy/dissatisfied/bored with my life. I just want to be happy.” I do some stuff I know I ‘should’ do but I’m not very motivated for it because I’m still focused on how crap I feel. I do have days where I feel a bit better but it’s not HAPPY!!!! so it’s not good enough – I’m still failing. I quickly lose interest and motivation.
“I’m so unhappy/dissatisfied/bored with my life.” I spend some time thinking about what happy means to me, what would make me feel interested and satisfied. I develop a clear picture in my mind of how it will feel when I get there, and at significant points along the way. I realistically assess my strengths and abilities to follow that path, assess who might help and who might get in the way, and I develop a plan to manage those obstacles (including the days when I don’t feel motivated and just feel down). I use my vision to pull me forward. I’ve identified where it might go wrong so I’m already prepared for setbacks and don’t feel like a failure. I’ve set little goals along the way so that small improvements can be recognised and used as a sign of progress rather than ignored or seen as a failure.
Basically, not only have I given myself a big fat carrot, but I’ve chopped into bits I can enjoy along the way.
How do you motivate yourself?
Can you change your stick to a carrot?