Just Do It

Written on by Mindy Haas

At times, we all find ourselves struggling to do the things we know are the best for us. You know, the things like exercising, eating healthy, and working on assignments well before the due date. We have a strong desire for the outcome, yet, we find ourselves procrastinating or being lazy and thus failing to accomplish the goal or task.   Why is it so hard for us to find the motivation?

What is Motivation?

Essentially, it’s the driving force that helps you complete things.

    • Motivate (v): to provide with a motive: IMPEL
    • Motivation (n): a motivating force, stimulus, or influence: INCENTIVE, DRIVE

Intrinsic Vs. Extrinsic Motivation

It’s important to note the two kinds of motivation:

Intrinsic motivations are your internal drivers, such as an interest in a subject or your natural gifting in a particular area. Extrinsic motivations are due to external factors, such as grades, rewards, and relationships with teachers and parents, etc. They can be either positive (a cash incentive) or negative (a bad grade on a test).

What studies have shown is that extrinsic motivation can be harmful in the long run. For instance, a person who begins a hobby, say quilting, for the pleasure of doing it is intrinsically motivated. If the person decides to sell their finished products, they are now extrinsically motivated by the potential earnings. If demand for the quilts increases, the person may become overworked and no longer enjoy the task of quilting. It actually reduces the intrinsic motivation. Ideally, we should be intrinsically motivated to work towards goals and complete tasks.

 How to Motivate Yourself

So, if intrinsic motivation is best, how do you intrinsically motivate yourself?

    1. Know yourself. We’re coming back to one of my favorite topics – self-awareness. It’s so, so critical that we understand ourselves, what makes us tick, and what doesn’t. If you need some help, you can find many online tests that measure your motivation levels.
    2. Set Goals. Gretchen Rubin encourages readers to set a goal, then focus on the small steps to reach it.   Once we have a clear picture of what we want to achieve and how to get there, we can work on it one step at a time.
    3. Positive Self-Talk. Professor Andrew Lane and BBC Lab UK completed a study on most effective motivational methods. Positive self-talk came out on top. Create the story you want for yourself and repeat it. I struggle with consistency with regular exercise, so my positive self-talk looks like this: “I am consistent in living a healthy lifestyle.”
    4. Develop a habit. If you develop a habit, you no longer have to motivate yourself to do it, right?   Use your goal setting, small steps, and positive self-talk to develop the habit and stick with it! It takes 2-8 months to develop a strong habit.

Just Do It

Motivation comes down to how much we want something or how badly we don’t want something to happen. I used to ask my busy stay-at-home mom how she managed to get so much done in a day. She would sigh and say, “You just do it.” I never forgot it, and it still comes to comes to my mind when I’m struggling to motivate myself.

So, what are you willing to sacrifice for your goals and dreams? How much pain are you willing to feel? What gifts and talents do you possess that generate energy within you? You have it in you to do what it takes. Get quiet and listen to that voice in your head that tells you, “Just do it.”

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