Getting motivated isn’t always easy, especially when you don’t particularly like what it is you need to do. There are many ways to get motivated but they usually only work in the short term. If you need long term motivation you need to make it a habit.
People are creatures of habit, about 70% of what we do daily is habitual. Take your morning routine for example, how long do you think it would take you to get ready in a morning if you had to think about every step you needed to take to get up, groomed, dressed and fed in a morning?
The first thing you’d need to do is think which leg to put on the floor first, once you’re sat up on the side of the bed what next? Do you go into the bathroom or get dressed? Go put the kettle on or start making breakfast. Tea, coffee or hot chocolate, toast, full English, fruit or cereal, floral or musky perfume, blue tie or red, white shirt or purple, dress or shirt and top, I think you’re starting to get the point.
With the amount of decisions you need to make every minute of every day you would not be able to function without habits. You should try and make whatever you need motivation for a habit, something you don’t even think about.
Finish work – go to the gym. Fruit or veg with every meal, get up 15 minutes earlier and incorporate some cleaning into your early morning routine, come home, have dinner and spend 10 minutes on you finances. Whatever it is for you, make it a habit, same time every day if possible or tag it onto something like a meal you never miss, once the habit is installed it will become harder and harder to break.
Get an accountability partner to help you install a habit
It takes approximately 26 days to make something a habit, you need a lot of will power to do something every day for 26 days without fail. This is where the accountability partner comes in. An accountability partner is someone who will hold you accountable if you fail. This can be a life coach, your spouse, best friend or anyone else you can find.
The one golden rule is that you set up the rules in advance. You wouldn’t change the rules of tennis half way through to suit your needs if it’s not going well for you. There are four things you need to set up, what you intend to achieve, how often you’ll communicate, how you want them to communicate with you and what forfeit you’ll need to pay if you don’t follow through.
Be very specific about what it is you want to accomplish as an end goal and at each milestone. Make sure it’s so tight that you have no room to wiggle your way out of it.
It’s important for the both of you to agree how often you’ll communicate and to stick to it. If either of you can’t find an agreement that suits your needs find someone else.
Do you want them to give you a hard time, create a lot of pain for you to motivate you or do you want them to encourage you whilst at the same time pointing out that you’ve not achieved what you wanted and this is unacceptable?
The forth one is optional, you may or may not want to assign a forfeit, sometime just disappointing your partner is enough motivation and other times it isn’t. When you have these four things boxed off you’re ready to go.
Set yourself up for success
Motivating yourself doesn’t always have to be complicated. This is one of the simplest motivational techniques I know and when it’s used properly it can be very effective. It uses what is called quality quantifiers.
Take the thing you want to motivate yourself to do and give it a quality score of 1 to 10. 1 being horrible really don’t want to do it and 10 being would do it all the time if I could.
Now is there anything you could take away or add to the experience to increase the quality score? If you’re trying to get the housework done could you listen to some personal development audios whilst doing it, either on the stereo or using earphones?
I changed this one thing and the quality score shot through the roof, I went from leaving it all until the last minute to getting it all done up front because I was enjoying the experience of listening to personal development stuff whilst doing the monotonous chores.
At first this sounded too simple to me but really it’s one of those things that is staring you in the face and you don’t see it. It’s so obvious this will work you’re kicking yourself because you didn’t think about it earlier.
This is because you’re so busy thinking about how much you don’t want to do something you’re not even entertaining the notion that you could actually enjoy it which you can if you quantify the experience and add or take something away from it improve it.
In conclusions there are two keys to successful long term motivation. Setting yourself up for success, and creating habits. One of the best ways succeed in the short term and create a long term habit is to get yourself an accountability partner. Keep them on side for as long as it takes to create the habit.
You should also deconstruct the task at hand to see if there’s anything you can discard or add to it which will make it more pleasurable to do and therefore easier to gain motivation to accomplish it.