Two Things I Have Learned About Motivation

In the last several weeks, I have been working on a PLR product about motivation.  So I’ve been reading, thinking, and writing about motivation a lot.  I’ve also been reflecting on my own experiences with being and staying motivated — or not.  And my philosophy on motivation boils down to two things.  First, if you want to be true to your goals, be sure that your goals are your own.  And second, if you aren’t motivated to work towards goals that are legitimately your own, your key to discovering why is mindfulness.

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Make Your Goals Your Own

You will always find it difficult to commit to someone else’s goals.  I’m all for mentorships, advice from elders, family input, support groups, and community influence.  Listen to their advice but don’t let them make your decisions for you.

Your career, your choice of spouse, whether you have kids and if you do how many, how you spend your time — these are all your decisions.  Get all the advice you need when you make them but be sure that the end result is yours. And then, when you make your life decisions and set your goals, go after them on your own terms and in your timing.

Everything you do in life is a choice and you are responsible for the choices you make.  Don’t make them accidentally or randomly.  Don’t go to medical school because your grandmother wants a doctor in the family.  Don’t marry someone because your whole family is expecting you to.  Don’t spend every Sunday afternoon overeating, drinking, and watching football if those activities interfere with your goals.  And don’t forget that when you fail to make a choice, you are also making a choice.

Examine yourself.  Understand your deepest desires and your most powerful passions.  Think about what you would most regret missing out on if you never got around to doing it.  Use that understanding to make your own goals.  Then own them.

Mindfulness As A Way To Motivation

If your goals are your own, and they reflect your deepest desires, yet you still have trouble with motivation, you need to learn why.  And a powerful tool for discovering why you persist at not going after what you deeply desire is a mindfulness practice.  Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present to your physical and emotional sensations in the present moment.  Developing mindfulness starts with meditation and goes on to incorporate a mindful approach to daily life.

In mindfulness meditation, you observe without judgment.  You observe your thoughts and emotions, your physical sensations, and your surroundings.  Thoughts and feelings will come to mind but you don’t engage them.  Instead, you observe them.  Do you get tense when your mother calls?  Do you get angry in traffic?  Observe those emotions without engaging them and without judgment.  Gain insight into yourself from them.

Mindfulness is a real gift in your search for self-knowledge.  And if you are feeling a lack of motivation, taking a mindful approach may reveal to you the cause.  Perhaps you are afraid of criticism, failure, or even success.  Maybe you have encountered a problem that you don’t know how to solve and you lack the problem-solving skills to resolve it.  Or it could be that your plan in accomplishing your goal is faulty and needs to be revised.  Whatever it is that causes you to spin your wheels instead of making progress, a mindful approach will help you to identify it. Once you have identified the problem, mindfulness will also help you resolve it.

So those are the two things I have for you today.  If you are suffering from a lack of motivation, first analyze whether the goals that you have set for yourself are truly yours.  If your goals reflect your dearest wishes — or at least steps on the way to achieving them — but you still have trouble motivating yourself to work toward them, take a mindful approach to discovering why.

What are your thoughts about motivation, goal-setting, and mindfulness?  I’d love to hear them.  Please share them with us in the comments below.

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