Several years ago, I decided I would get in shape by taking up running. I was excited to get into shape, but I wasn’t feeling real enthused to do the running itself. I had no problem associating with the positive outcome I believed running would provide me with. My challenge stemmed from the fact that I was out of shape. I knew that to achieve my victory, I would have to go through pain to get there.
My situation is common and a big reason why so many of us fail to achieve our dreams in life. While we usually associate pleasure with the results we are seeking, we also associate pain to the steps we need to take to obtain those results. This lack of motivation for the action itself can block us from experiencing the outcomes we want in our lives.
To motivate yourself into action, ask yourself the following four questions.
(WIIFM) What’s in it for me to do this?
List out as many benefits as you can. Stacking the benefits for achieving your goal will help you find a reason to be more motivated and get into action now.
When I did this with getting in shape, I came up with the following list.
- More energy
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower cholesterol
- Lose body fat percentage
- Higher self-esteem
- Live longer
What does it cost me in the long-term to not do this?
Just as there are benefits to accomplishing your goal, there are also detriments to not achieving it. Look at your list of benefits and then get real with yourself. What price are you ultimately paying for not taking action towards your goal?
Here is what my list looked like.
- Not enough energy to achieve my goals
- Poor health keeping me from playing with my family as I grow older
- Poor health causing me to be a burden on the ones I love
- Higher risk of having heart disease
- Less time alive to spend with my wife
- Having to take medication for high blood pressure and cholesterol
- Not being a positive role model
For this list to motivate you, it needs to create discomfort and even emotional pain within you as you think of its real possibilities. Know that these results could be very real if you don’t take the appropriate action to stop them now.
Is there a way I can include one of my strengths to get this done?
Sometimes finding an answer for this one is a little harder to do. If you are struggling, reflect back on times in your life when you succeeded despite your motivation level.
- What character strengths did you employ then?
- How can you use them now to achieve your current goal?
I reminded myself how I used my character strength of persistence to get in shape in the past. If I was able to do it then, I could surely do it now. I told myself not to expect huge results right away, but if I persisted, I would gain the results I desired in due time.
How can I increase the enjoyment level of what I need to do?
To increase my personal motivation to get on the treadmill, I asked myself the following question. What could I do to increase my desire to go work out? The initial ideas I thought of were to set a distance goal of running 3 miles in 25 minutes and to focus on the long-term health benefits. Those goals worked in the short-term to motivate me to pursue the results I was craving, but they didn’t motivate me to get on the treadmill consistently day after day.
After brainstorming, I decided I needed to increase the level of enjoyment I experienced while I was running. At the time, I was really enjoying watching The Property Brothers on HGTV, so I decided that I could run and watch the show at the same time. Presto! I had found my magic button. After a few days of this, I began looking forward to running on the treadmill so I could enjoy the show.
Getting started is often the hardest part of achieving our goals. Use these four questions to ignite a fire under your goals and notice how quickly you begin living the life of your dreams.
Question: How do you motivate yourself when you are feeling less than excited to get started? You can leave a comment by clicking here.