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  • Resilient Practice

How to get Motivated

Updated: Jun 20, 2021

Motivation is a fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire under you, chances are it will burn very briefly.”

Stephen R Covey

Motivation is an important skill and is one of the hardest things to develop. We know what we need to do, what we should do but if can be so hard to get started. This then leads to negative thoughts about ourselves “not being good enough,” affirming negative core beliefs which in turn promotes apathy. We can get into a negative cognitive behavioural cycle that compounds the problem.

Let us explore motivation in more detail. Essentially there are two main types of motivation; Extrinsic and Intrinsic

Extrinsic motivation is driven by external sources for example: to gain a reward, to avoid a punishment or to achieve a goal.

Intrinsic motivation is in play when we do something because we are interested in it. This is not always goal oriented.

Intrinsic motivation has been shown to be more powerful that extrinsic in multiple settings.

A great way to motivate one’s self is to marry up the two. To do this we need to set goals that fire our intrinsic motivation. When we do so, we will find we are hugely more motivated and our goals are easily achieved.

When your goals are set for you however, the power of intrinsic motivation is lost and it can be very hard to feel motivated. Indeed there are often things we positively do not want to do. When these tasks still need to be done then it is important to be able to motivate the Self.

We have talked in the past about setting intentions. This is vital for motivation. Without a clear intention then we manifest chaos and can quickly feel overwhelmed. You may have experienced this when your list of things to do is so long or the house is so untidy that you do not know where to start.

It is useful here to look at what stops us moving forward and finding remedies for that. The main blockers to forward progress are procrastination and rumination. We spend more time worrying about what might happen and analysing what has gone before that we ever do in the doing.

We need to bring ourselves into the present moment, what has happened and what might happen are irrelevant. The only thing that matters is what you are doing right now and whether that is moving you toward your goal.

Setting a clear intention and prioritising your task list, gives you a sense of control. Staying in the present moment helps as this is the only place where we have real power.

The present moment is the place where we can plant the seeds for the future. You can do this in your 'White Room'

In the present moment you can take the time to psychologically prepare for the tasks ahead, visualising success in your venture.

Before a race or competition they focus on their breathing and empty their mind of thoughts about the upcoming event. They visualise the race and experience themselves completing the course with perfect technique. They see themselves on the podium with the gold medal.

This kind of visualisation is a brilliant way to get you motivated. You literally see your desired outcome and the steps you need to take to get to it.

To learn more about visualisation see ‘How to Rise – A Complete Resilience Manual’ from Sheldon Press. It takes you on a journey of self-discovery sharing over 60 tools and techniques, including meditations with purpose, visualisation exercises and practical tools to help improve your mental wellbeing and reduce anxiety. 'How to Rise' helps you to take control of your life

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