Are you Finding it Hard to Motivate Yourself? Learn Why and Put a Stop to it
It’s nearly the end of September, half way through the year and most of you would probably have set yourselves some fantastic goals for next year. So let me ask you, how are you going with your goals?
Most of us are optimistic and positive when the New Year comes around, telling ourselves this is the year to lose that stubborn weight, or change careers, or go back to study, but why can’t most of us seem to stick to our goals.
Lets find out!
Did You Know? According to Forbes only 8% of us stick to our New Year’s resolutions. We all want direction and drive, we all want to be successful but why does only a portion of us get there?
The way we get motivated physiologically is a pretty easy concept.
When we see something we want, and can imagine ourselves having it or enjoying it, a chemical called dopamine “the feel good chemical” is released. The thing we want (our goal) is the stimuli, we get a little rush of dopamine, and it motivates us because we anticipate a reward – the end goal.
The problem is that once the brain becomes familiar with the stimulus (goal), it begins to lose its buzz, because it loses the reward association with it due to familiarity. This then causes the stimuli to lose its potential and the activation of dopamine release is reduced. Here is a typical example.
Stimuli: Women in fashionable gym clothing sporting their fit tanned bodies.
Goal: To exercise like crazy 5 times a week at the gym.
One Month Later: Self doubt creeps in; the excitement around reaching your goal is no longer having the same affect, dopamine decreases, subsequently motivation decreases or stops.
Your brain wants a smaller, sooner reward that comes now. This is far more compelling than a larger reward that you will get later on, like that fit toned body you are after!
Our internal language affects the course of our actions and behaviours
Does this sound like you?
“It isn’t fair that some women don’t have to exercise as much and still look amazing”
“I am always going to be this way; it runs in the family, I don’t have good genes”
“It is easier to go and eat that packet of biscuits then go to the gym”
This is called self sabotage. You are subconsciously and consciously self sabotaging yourself before you even try to reach your goal. How are you ever going to get anywhere with a mindset like that?
Identify those negative attitudes and kick them in the butt!
Financial problems, hunger, relationship issues, safety issues, or anything else that occupies our psyche will get in the way of our goals.
Yes life happens! We get stressed, and you cannot stay motivated and activate those reward centres when you are emotionally stressed and drained.
It is important to manage your stress levels, and give yourself some time out away from that worry that is occupying your mind 24/7.
Let’s get motivated! Follow these 5 steps to get you kicking those goals
1. Create a weekly feeling of achievement
To ensure you get that dopamine buzz more regularly, plan a weekly goal which is much more achievable than a larger goal which will take months or years. This way, you are still feeling as though you are achieving something, despite the end goal being further away.
Action this: Set yourself a weekly goal such as going to the gym X amount of times. Make up a calendar of the number of the days you plan on going to the gym, and what you plan on doing. Place a tick next to the day you have successfully achieved what you set out to do. This alone will give you a sense of achievement and satisfaction.
2. Reward Yourself
“We keep doing the thing that gets us a reward, and we stop doing the things that don’t get us a reward.”
The more we engage in a behaviour the quicker it becomes a habit. Stop rewarding that ineffective behaviour, and start rewarding your good behaviour that gets you closer to your goal.
Example: you stay in bed because it is comfortable (this is a reward)
Instead action this: get up go to the gym for the week, and reward yourself with a new pair of yoga pants or tank top.
3. Identify self sabotaging beliefs that hold you back
Challenge them and change them (see this article to learn more). If these are really getting you down, see a Kinesiologist, wellness coach or psychologist to help you work through them.
4. Don’t inundate yourself with too many goals
Have one or two goals, plan how you are going to get there, and follow through with them! When we have too many goals, it can become too overwhelming, our self doubt and anxiety sets in, and we don’t get anywhere. Getting to your goals means using that self control of yours, and if you go too hard too quickly, then chances are your self control will run out pretty quickly and you will revert back to your bad old habits.
5. Manage Your Stress Levels
Make sure you give yourself some time to switch off those worries, so you don’t deplete yourself emotionally. Recharge those batteries by meditating, going for a relaxing walk down at the beach, a bubble bath, or read a book.
What do you do to get motivated? Try these tips out and let me know how you go!