Are you 100% motivated 100% of the time, and/or are surrounded by people who are also motivated every second of every day, to do every single thing needing to be done?
AWESOME. First of all, welcome to the club of ALL HUMANS (even Beyonce!). Second of all, this post will hopefully help, instead of being a giant waste of your obnoxiously perpetually-motivated time. Love you mean it.
I consider myself a consistently motivated individual, and I know many of you are too (I’ve seen you in action!). However, there are times where I realllly gotta pep talk myself, especially when it comes to something that’s not enjoyable/easy for me to do.
Awhile ago, I read a fantastic book called Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg. Yes, I recommend it. Unless you wanna be dumber, slower, and worse. Then, you know - do ya thang. To each their own.
(PS the following words of wisdom can be applied to motivate yourself AND others. SCORE!) YOU get motivation and YOU get motivation and YOU get…you get it.
Per Duhigg, the first step in creating drive is offering people/yourself choices to provide a sense of autonomy and self determination. The key is to present them as decisions rather than commands.
Furthermore, if you can link something hard to a choice you care about, it makes the task easier. For example, let’s say you reallllly don’t wanna workout, but you reallllly do wanna stay healthy for your family for years to come, so you can witness major moments and be fit enough to play with your kids/grandkids/nieces/nephews/etc. Keep reminding yourself of that whenever you feel that fire dying. And if it helps, gives yourself options: group workout vs. solo workout, cardio vs. strength, etc. Some people this helps, some people this inhibits, so know yourself and adjust accordingly. For many with minimal motivation, it’s more beneficial to show up to a workout class where an instructor tells you what to do and fellow exercisers push and keep you accountable.
PARENTAL HACK! If you can make a chore into a meaningful decision, self motivation will likely emerge. Let your kids have a say in what chores they have (you may need to assert some authority here, depending on the track that conversation takes!) and explain why they have the chores in the first place. For example, explain you’re teaching them life lessons to kick booty later in life. They’ll be so much further ahead than many whose parents coddled them and then released them into the “wild” without any self-sustaining skills. Let them know how much you value and rely on their contributions to keep the house running smoothly. Acknowledge the control and autonomy they have. Let them know how much they MATTER.
Once we start asking ourselves why, those small tasks become pieces of a larger constellation of meaningful projects, goals, and values. We start to recognize how small chores can have outsized emotional rewards because they prove to ourselves we are making meaningful choices, that we are genuinely in control of our own lives.
That’s when motivation flourishes.
Motivation is, in other words, a choice we make because it is part of something bigger and more emotionally rewarding than the immediate task requiring completion.