Motivation is something a lot of us struggle with. How often have you sat around, trying to motivate yourself to do something, only to find yourself procrastinating instead – trying to distract yourself by engaging in other meaningless, mundane tasks?
So what is motivation?
Well, it’s the driving force by which we achieve our goals. It is the general willingness to achieve a goal, coupled with the energy to work towards it. Motivation is closely connected to desire and ambition. A person might have the desire and ambition to achieve something, but they may lack the drive, push or willingness to take action in that direction. Essentially, they lack motivation.
Motivation is one of the most important components to succeeding in any arena, including in sports. Motivation on and off the field translates into energy, drive and action. The more motivation you have, the more you are likely to work towards your goals, get great results and succeed both in the long and short term.
How do I build motivation?
When motivation is lacking, how do we find and enhance motivation? There are a number of strategies you can use, some of which are detailed below. Remember though, that determining the cause of your lack of motivation is important. This will help you identify which strategy or combination of strategies will work the best.
- SET GOALS. Goal setting is so important. Identify what the main goal is. Sometimes it can help to identify the smaller goals or steps needed to reach the main goal. Goal setting has the added benefit of making a task that seems “too big” achievable. The steps are clear and manageable now and this reduces how overwhelming the goal feels.
- AVOID PROCRASTINATING. Procrastinating is one of the traps many of us fall into in everyday life. The task at hand seems too hard, so we waste our energy on other, less important, mindless tasks to avoid doing it. When you have identified your goal and the steps you need to take to reach this goal, do them! Finish what you started. Put your mind to it and when you notice yourself starting to get distracted, bring yourself back to the task at hand and finish it! Mindfulness techniques can be useful here to help retain mental focus.
- IDENTIFY OUR VALUES. It is so important to remember why you are doing something in the first place. Identifying what benefits this task will bring to you as a person, to your life and career is vital. How can we be motivated to do something if we don’t even know the reasons why we are doing it? Ask yourself these questions: Why am I doing this? What benefit will it have for me? What will it bring to my life? How will it make my life meaningful? Even write the answers to these questions down so you can access them during times when motivation is lacking.
- VISUALISE. Visualise yourself taking action and achieving what your goals. In your minds eye, imagine working through each step. This mental preparation is important as often it is the mind that blocks actions. Negative, unhelpful thoughts about how hard the task is going to be can be very overwhelming and crush motivation quickly. Visualising the steps you will need to take helps prepare the mind for the actions to come. It helps to sync the mind with the body.
- INCENTIVES. Rewards help build motivation. As much as achieving the goal itself is a reward in itself, this is a very abstract reward. If motivation is really lacking, using a more concrete incentive can help. You worked hard, so reward yourself!