This is not a blog about fibre in your diet, you’ll be pleased to know! It’s more about motivation: the sometimes-mysterious, often hard-to-come-by force that spurs you on, makes you determined to do something. Some of you can be really creative when it comes to motivating ourselves and others, and that’s my mini-challenge for you this week. Pick a task that you might need a little nudge towards completing, or maybe something that you think you don’t want to do at all. Got one? Good. Now what would make it very much worth your while to complete that task?
Mind and body
Did you choose physical exercise? Do you keep promising yourself to get a little more active, or improve your current regime? Someone told me recently that they were motivated to exercise by the thought that they would work at such an intensity that they felt physically sick. Wouldn’t work for me, but the rush of endorphins that I know I can expect, along with a certain smugness that I’ve completed something which will “do me good” does work for me, as does the hope that I might lose a bit of weight, tone my muscles, and become stronger, both physically and mentally. So there’s 2 motivators for starters: a good feeling: either transitory or more permanent, during and afterwards, and a target to work towards. Exercise motivators often boil down to variations of these two.
The daily grind
What about work? Do you live to work, or work to live? On the days when going to work seems like a mountain to climb, what spurs you on? Is it the pay cheque at the end of the month? Nothing wrong with that, particularly if you’re saving for something special (target). Is it the people that you work with who make your day? Is it the satisfaction of knowing that you’re valued by your colleagues/managers for doing a good job? (good feeling) Are you fulfilled in what you do (even occasionally) and feel that what you do really matters? Sometimes, we’re motivated by knowing that others depend on us, and in a good working environment, you will be more productive if you are valued, challenged by what you do and rewarded in some way, not necessarily financially. Again, target and good feelings as motivators really work.
What lurks in that dark corner?
Exercise and work aside, what next? How about one or two of those other little tasks that you keep putting off? Is your old friend procrastination knocking at your door again? What would motivate you to, say, tackle a major or even minor home maintenance issue, turn out that cupboard, complete some boring paperwork, make an appointment you’ve been putting off? Work and exercise motivators also work for other tasks, so think about a reward for yourself once you’ve finished the task. It could be a tasty food treat (although be careful with that one!), maybe a walk in the sunshine or another time-out activity you enjoy. Maybe you could complete the task with someone else, or tell someone what you’re going to do, and be accountable: report back to them. Or simply think about how you’ll feel when the job is done: satisfaction is a great reward.
Step by step
Targets, feelings of satisfaction, rewards, a job well done, a benefit to you, and to others: all these factor in to your overall motivation. Select your target, figure out what drives you to complete, put the plans in place and, please, make a start. Oh, did I mention you’ll need to actually do it? Well, you do! Go for it, and let me know how you get on…