Getting Motivated

We all feel a little lethargic or unmotivated sometimes.
With the best will in the world we can sit down to sort out our online banking and spend an hour on Facebook first, so how do we pull ourselves together?
And what about those BIG goals?
Do you want a new job?
Do you want to write that book?
Whatever you need to get done you need to know the best ways of doing it. If we don't organise ourselves properly then we end up either going round and round in circles and never really getting anywhere. Or we just give up early on.
Either way, we don't get what we want.
But what exactly is 'Motivation'?
Motivation is often described as the process that initiates and maintains our goal-oriented behaviours.
But, you'll often hear people say that they lack motivation. So as we can see that as well as a process, motivation is also a feeling, an emotional state. To be motivated means to have confidence that you're going to see a project through to it's completion.
But what if we're lacking in confidence? What if the process overwhelms us?
Then we need to look at what we want to achieve in a little more detail.

Firstly you need to know that there are 2 types of motivation.
Intrinsic Motivation and Extrinsic Motivation.
Intrinsic Motivation is when the process itself is what motivates you. For example, if you want to lose weight because you want to look good on the beach and you enjoy exercising then you are intrinsically motivated to lose weight.
But if you want to lose weight because your partner or doctor says that you should do or because you'll get a round of applause at Weight Watchers, then you are extrinsically motivated to lose weight.

What we need to make sure is that whatever you want to achieve there is plenty of Intrinsic Motivation, that you're doing it because you want to. With only Extrinsic Motivation you're less likely to achieve your goal, more likely to find the process difficult and, in the case of losing weight, far more likely to pile all the weight back on again afterwards.

Studying is a good example. If you're studying for a qualification then look at where your motivation lies, intrinsically or extrinsically?
Someone studying Medicine at University may be only studying it because of possibility of a high salary in their future career.
Because of this they may not study so hard and may not pay attention in lectures. Even after qualifying they may feel under-confident to practise medicine. It's not until they sit back and think about it that they realise that all they ever wanted to do in life is decorate rooms, and eventually become a highly educated painter and decorator, better late than never though.

It's been shown that the more control we have in our lives, the happier and healthier we are.
If you haven't already read my pages on How To Be Happy then read them now, as it will set you up for success.
An interesting experiment into linking happiness and health with feeling in control was undertaken Ellen Langer of Harvard University. All of the residents in a local Nursing Home were given a test to see how happy and healthy there were and were then given a small plant. Half of them were told to look after it themselves and the other half were told that a member of staff would look after it for them.
After 6 months all were tested again and, frighteningly, those that had that little piece of control taken away from them were not only significantly unhappier and unhealthier, but also twice as many in that group had died.
Further research has been undertaken with similar results. Even with regards to dieting, relationships and education it is shown that the less control you feel that you have over your life the more you increase your chances of failing at what you set out to achieve.
If you can create the right mindset about achieving your goal, whether that's to stop smoking, lose weight or change career then your half way there already.

How do we get motivated? NEXT