Monday, August 23, 2010

Let’s get started part 4: Finding value in results

Today we continue the series on getting started. So far we have looked at why it is important to get started as well as how fear and laziness can stand in our way. Today we are going to look at motivation or rather the lack there of. In the first installment of the series I mentioned the two jugs one filled with our motivation and one filled with our excuses not to do what needs doing. So far we have looked at how to empty out the second jug now let's add a bit more to the first.

Increasing our motivation means increasing our desire to accomplish a task. This may sound simple however lets dig a bit deeper. The most important word here is "our" the desire to do the project has to be our own. If we are working to change our lives to be more in line with what someone else wants for us rather than because the result of the change is something we want then we will not have motivation to do it and more importantly we will not find happiness when we are done. The only way to know if we are doing things for ourselves is to question. Does this idea come from me? Do I want the result? Does doing this bring me closer to the life I want to have?

Now that we have sorted that out we need to start thinking about what we can do to make ourselves more motivated; we can either increase the reward for completing the task or we can increase the value of the reward already in place.

Increasing the reward can be a great tool when we want something but the process of achieving it is hard, boring or unpleasant. When offering ourselves rewards for doing the things we know we should be doing it is important that we make sure that the reward does not work contrary to the goal. For example if we are trying to lose wait a week of eating good should not be rewarded with a fast food meal, perhaps allowing more time for hobby would be a better choice. The other thing we have to consider is how long will the reward last. In the above example a fast food meal lasts only a little while on the other hand a new video game will last a lot longer. Having a reward that does not lose its luster in the first day of having it will help build motivation. Fewer rewards with more permanence is a greater motivation then a lot of small rewards. Also when you give yourself a lot of small rewards the time it takes to experience them takes away from the time we have to work on the project.

The other option is to increase desire for the preferred outcome. We do this by reminding ourselves of two things what we get if we do the project and what we lose if we do not. While these two lists are often similar they not exactly the same; for example if you are trying to lose weight you get a longer life, less pain in your joints and sense of accomplishment. On the other hand what you stand to lose is self respect, health and social standing. We need to understand clearly what our goals are since very often the task is not the goal; When change our eating habits to lose weight the real project is not eating more salads it is losing weight.

There is no substitute for wanting a result to help us get started. If we can look at the result and understand how great having it will be we will do what needs to be done, however sometimes this is just not enough to get the ball rolling. Do not be afraid increase the reward for successes when you need to and above all make sure the thing you are trying to motivate yourself to do is something you really want done.

Editing Project: Seeing improvement


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