Cultivating the Will to Change: The Key to Motivation
Motivation, drive, desire, passion, whatever you want to call it, people have been trying to figure out how to get it and how to harness it for centuries. What makes LeBron so much better than everyone else? What made Payton Manning stay and practice harder and longer to perfect his arm? What made Sidney Crosby shoot pucks into his mother’s clothes dryer all night, while all of his friends were watching TV and playing video games? What makes people work harder to achieve their dreams, while others continue to dwell in mediocrity?
We all know it’s easy to do nothing. By its very definition nothing requires that you, well, do nothing. When you sort of want something and you put forth minimal effort, what you get are minimal results. So how does one get massive results?
Motivation is a tricky thing. You have to really, really want something enough to force yourself to take enough action to get it. As with most things, change isn’t easy and it takes time, so you have to continue to find enough motivation to push yourself through the grind, until you’ve reached your goal. This is where most people get stuck. They’ll do something for a while and then for whatever reasons, pick one there are lots, they stop doing what they were doing and revert back to doing what they have always done.
Contentment the Opposite of Motivation
When you’re okay with the way things are in your life, you’re not going to take any action. You have no incentive to change, or do anything. So it’s safe to say that contentment is the opposite of motivation.
One giant flashing motivator for change is necessity. If the doctor tells you, you have to quit smoking, or you’ll die, you have a huge incentive to quit. Stop drinking or you’ll die – you’re going to stop drinking, unless of course, you want to drink more than you want to live.
The biggest motivator for me came after my life blew up in my face. I lost my mother, my home, my job, my car, my narcissist was having an affair and I had to make the choice to either sink or swim. What pushed me to work so hard then was my anger. I’ve talked about how anger is a catalyst for change in other blogs and it definitely was for me at that point in my life. I was bound and determined that my ex-Narcissist wasn’t going to have a better life than me. I was going to get my revenge by living better, by looking better, by being successful and being happier than I could have ever been with him. I used my emotions to push me. They were so strong at the time and they propelled me farther than I ever thought I could go.
Necessity and revenge are good motivators for change, but there are lots and lots of other reasons and everyone has their own. For some it comes to the point where staying where you are becomes more painful than changing. So the need to escape their reality becomes their catalyst.
Highly acclaimed motivational speaker Anthony Robbins tells us that, “Change is never a matter of ability. Everyone has the ability to change. It’s always a matter of motivation. If you have enough reasons you will change.”
I’m pretty content in my life right now. The anger that had initially spurred me on my journey has long since abated. I’m fully independent, fully in control of my emotions and the people in my life add value to it, but I still want to achieve things. So what’s a girl or guy to do?
Everyday Rituals for Success
I remember watching Justin Bieber on Oprah. I’m not a Bieber fan, but I liked something Oprah said to him. I’m paraphrasing here, but she said something along the lines of, “It’s a lot of hard work isn’t it? I mean people see the performance. They see the success and all the accolades that come along with it, but they don’t see what you have to commit to it every day to make it happen.”
Success really isn’t that difficult if you have the right map. If you know success is marked on the map as X and you have to go through A-R to get to X and you follow every step – you will eventually get to X.
So you have to have a plan. You know you are here and where you want to be is over there and what’s in the space between is action. Then you have to start filling in the distance. Making a plan is necessary, otherwise you are just stumbling around in the dark and hoping that you’ll reach your X. When you plan, research and write it out those become your directions for success.
I have a day planner. I’m not supremely organized by nature, but it’s become something that I can’t live without now. It’s my personal assistant. It tells me my day to day agenda. I tell you, by God, I track everything now. I track my finances, my weight, my investments, my activities, everything goes on that sucker. It helps to keep me focused on what I want and where I want to be in X amount of weeks, months even years.
When you don’t plan and you just have a general idea of where you want to go you might travel near your destination, you might even get in the vicinity, but if it’s not something that you are constantly focusing on and reminding yourself of every day – life is going to get in the way and by life I mean distractions, things that steer us on a different course. The problem with that is it’s not what we want. When you know what you want and how to get it, then we have to make our life as distraction free as possible, so we can spend our energy on moving closer to our goal.
There’s a quote that’s been bouncing around my Facebook feed for the last few days. It says, “The problem is you think you have time.” That one always sends a chill down my spine. Isn’t time the reason that we put things off? Don’t we not do something because we think the time will be better at some later date to get it done? I’ll start my diet tomorrow. I’ll wake up early and exercise on Wednesday I’m too tired today.
We have to keep reminding ourselves everyday of where we want to be. We have to continually and consistently do the little things. And do them especially when you don’t feel like doing them.
Anthony Robbins says the best time to exercise is when you’re too tired, because that action alone communicates your commitment to change. When you wake up early and exercise the chances of you reaching for that chocolate bar, in the afternoon, are vastly diminished, because you’ve already put in an enormous amount of work at the beginning of your day.
Surround yourself with things that keep you focused on your goal and keep it fresh in your mind. I find pictures can get a little stale and we will eventually stop paying attention to them after a while. One of my dreams is to have a nice home on a particular lake. I go to Google maps and I can be right there in the very spot I want to build my dream house, I can move left and right, go down the street, look out at the view and it’s like I’m already there. I look at this thing several times a day, because it takes me there. It makes it real and it matches me to the vibration of actually being there.
I had some pretty large bills of late and through a few months of careful planning I’m happy to say they will be paid in full by next Friday. I mapped out in my day planner all of my income and expenses. I cut here, moved this around, scrimped and saved and voila mission accomplished. If I didn’t make the plan to get rid of the debt I’d still be in debt and I would have bought that expensive foundation by Koh Gen Do that everyone’s been talking about. I might have gone to Cuba with my family, but I was on a mission, I mapped out a plan, I stuck to it and achieved success.
While the little steps are really important, the mental aspect is just as important. You have to commit to giving yourself 15-30 minutes every day to spend in gratitude meditation/visualization. I know it’s so cliché and antiquated at this point, but spending the time thinking about it, being there with it, puts you in the right state of mind and the right vibration. I always drive to work 30 minutes early and I sit in my car in the parking lot and I meditate there feeling happy and thankful for everything. I’ll then start to focus on what I want, where I want to be, what I want to be doing. It sets the tone for my day. It keeps me focused on the prize, because the key to cultivating that burning desire is in the little steps and it’s in your attitude, as well as in what you focus on.
I like to break things down into little goals to make it easier. I will make a commitment for 30 days only and what happens is the closer you get to your goal the more momentum starts to build and the more inner strength you are able to muster to see it through. Being motivated means being disciplined and when you are in charge of your actions, then you are fully in control of your life.
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