How to Motivate Yourself - for keeps!

Choose your Most Important Question

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How do you motivate yourself? Is it possible to become one of those rare self-motivated people who choose their goals and follow through with their decisions? If so, how?

One of the helpful things for you to choose is the guiding principle that lies behind most all your decisions. How do you make your choices? And - once you have made a decision - are you motivated to pursue it? Have you ever explored how you arrive at the choices you make?

Let's explore the following four questions to see which is the most important to you when you make a decision. Is it:

Do I feel like doing it?

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young boy with delicious ice-cream
One beautiful hot day when I was very young, probably close to five, I felt like eating an ice-cream. But having no money, I needed to be brave. Since my parents weren't with me, I decided to ask a stranger!

The first person I asked, a young man, said no. But I was undeterred. The second, a older lady perhaps with her own grand-children, gave me a lovely smile and bought me one with pleasure. It was delicious and I was very grateful.

But when I got home, my mother was appalled, and took the rest of my ice-cream away. I was so upset! What on earth was the problem? My brilliant resourcefulness went unrewarded, I was in trouble instead!

The valuable lesson I learned was that other people sometimes have different ideas of what is right and wrong. And even if you think something will pay out fine, that's not necessarily so. It doesn’t always work to do what you feel like doing.

Do I want to do it?

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At the university hall of residence Burwalls, over the Clifton suspension bridge in Bristol, England, there was a gorgeous young woman working part time. I was smitten and so I invited her to socialize at the very first opportunity that came along.

When I tried to kiss her, she moved away. So I moved closer. And she moved away again! Every time I got close she moved away as I chased her around the room! She just wasn’t interested in me that way. Yet I was far too concerned about what I wanted to take any notice of the totally clear and unambiguous messages she was giving me. I remember feeling so utterly frustrated!

Is it me?

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My receptionist Leslie said she wanted to have a holiday overseas one day. This sounded promising, since there was some extra work to be done. Yet when I asked her if she was prepared to do the work so she could earn the money for an overseas holiday, the answer turned out to be no. Although she wanted the results, she couldn’t see herself working late - after hours. "It's not me," she explained!

Do I want the results that doing it will bring?

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strawberries can motivate you
One warm summer day I was enjoying fresh strawberries as I walked down the street. They looked so delicious I didn’t wait until I got home! Three small children saw me eating them with very evident enthusiasm so I stopped.

The boldest asked if she could have one so I gave her a strawberry which she ate with much gusto.

Seeing the success of his sister, the second also asked for one, and also enjoyed his very much.

The youngest, a little boy, was very shy, although I could see in his eyes that he wanted one. So I just waited. It seemed like ages, but eventually he plucked up the courage to open his mouth. On the fourth attempt some words came out, ‘May I have one, please’ he said. ‘Of course,’ I replied and rewarded him with a big juicy one.

Now did he feel like asking me? Absolutely not, he was so shy. Nor did he want to go through the process of asking me? Was it him? Also no. But did he want the results that doing it would bring? Yes, absolutely. And steeling himself to do what felt very uncomfortable gave him the results he wanted - a lovely juicy strawberry.

Which of these Four Questions means the most to you?

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So, without even knowing what 'it' is, which of these questions is the most important to you?
  1. Do you feel like doing it? or
  2. Do you want to do it? or
  3. Is it you? or
  4. Do you want the results that doing it will bring?
There's no right answer here, just your answer - one and only one of these four.

Yet your answer will help determine how you motivated you are to attain your goals and realize your desires... So what's your default answer? Note that you will need to vary this answer when circumstances require it. Here you’re giving the answer that’s true for you in general.

What is the Tense for These Questions - and Your Answer?

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What tense are these questions concerned with? Are they focussed on the past, the present, or the future?

The tense for the first is the present. The second question? Also the present. The third? The present yet again. And the last, the fourth question? The future!

So if your answer is one of the first three, it shows you are more concerned about the present, and not becoming uncomfortable with things. If your answer is the fourth question, this says that your focus is what happens in the future. It indicates that you are more concerned about where you will be tomorrow, rather than being comfortable right now.

Some people will revise their answer when they realize this yet, unless they are very aware, revising the answer does not change what they actually choose in practice! So this really is a very important question!

How to Become more Motivated

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One good way to look at your life is to determine how effective you are. It’s tough to create what you want if you are not concerned about the result you get! To be motivated you need to ask yourself, is this action/this answer going to get you your desired result?

Of course, this means you need to know, in advance, what your desired result is. Yet is it your own goal, or one someone else chosen for you? What do you want? Put some effort into choosing what you really want and your motivation to achieve it will increase.

You already know that all actions have consequences, and some consequences are more desirable than others. So how do you increase the chances of achieving more desirable consequences? When you consciously choose the actions that you assess will be the most effective in producing them...

Which means making choices consciously - rather than just reacting to circumstances.

Conscious Choices and Stress

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Choosing consciously rather than just reacting unconsciously to your circumstances can be tiring. But there are consequences to all the choices you - and the entire human race - are making.
You realize that there’s a price to be paid for living life consciously: it takes more energy. Yet there's also a big benefit: you become more aware of the consequences. Then your circumstances become more in line with your desires. Life becomes less arduous. You can enjoy a life designed in advance.

Clarity about these choices may tend, initially, to increase your stress. But don't worry, any stress that you experience here is to be expected. It's not bad, it motivates you to make desirable changes. Although your self-sabotage mechanism (ssm) may dislike what you now choose. In fact, the more your ssm hates it, the clearer you become just how much self-sabotage detracts from your effectiveness!

Yet the ssm for some people will still rebel. It tells them they can't do it; or they can't afford it; or they don't have the time. Or it's unnecessary; or get angry... Yet if you don't do this, that's not wrong, you're just choosing differently. Just remember that ALL decisions have consequences.

Some choices give you a life of abundance, and some have very serious consequences. Some result in a future filled with meaning, others just continue your current life. Which do you choose?

The Unspoken Question

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There’s a very important question implied here. A question that you rarely ask yourself:

Can I afford NOT to afford the time and energy to do it?

As you answer this question, bear in mind that wonderful insight:

All actions have consequences. Some consequences are more enjoyable than others. And some are less desirable!

Which consequences do you choose?

Wanna Reduce your Stress?

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Choose your next step right now:

Food for Thought

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"Problems and crises are evolutionary drivers, inspiring and motivating innovation and change."

Barbara Marx Hubbard, futurist, author and public speaker, author of:
Conscious Evolution

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