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Motivation is a tricky feeling.  It can come on quickly, be super strong, and then go away just as fast.  Motivation can cause us to do things we never thought we would do, and things we never thought possible.  However, when motivation runs out, we can quit without ever looking back.  How many times have you said, “I’m just not motivated to do that anymore?”  

How to Use Motivation

When you know how to use motivation properly, you can harness the incredible energy that comes with it.  You can also keep that energy going long after the initial motivation runs out.  This is how we accomplish goals.  Motivation will get us started on our goals.  Leaning to develop a habit around the motivation will keep us on track when motivation starts to run out.  So, how do we properly use motivation?

Step 1

First, understand and accept that motivation is tied to a purpose.  There is a reason we are motivated to do something.  I may not like doing my dishes.  But, if I know someone is coming over, and I don’t want them to see my dirty dishes in the sink, I suddenly have a reason (purpose) to do the dishes.  With that in mind, the more we can tie that motivation to an emotional purpose, the better.  Those who get motivated to start a workout program because some magazine article told them they need to workout will often quit as soon as the initial motivation wears off.  On the other hand, someone who starts a workout program because they don’t want to die early and risk not seeing their kids grow up has a far more emotional reason to keep going.  Start with a strong and emotional purpose. 

Step 2

Next, take small steps.  Going zero to sixty with any activity can become burdensome and overwhelming.  If you start small, set tiny goals, and focus on accomplishing those goals first, your sense of accomplishment will keep you moving forward.  As humans, we love a sense of accomplishment.  When we accomplish something, our body releases dopamine and we feel great.  So, make it easy on yourself.  You don’t need to go from no vegetables in your diet to plates full of veggies for three meals a day.  Start with one meal.  Start with a snack.  As you accomplish small goals, they will grow naturally.  

Use your motivation to get you started.  Tie that motivation to an emotional purpose.  You have to “WANT” to make the change in your life.  It won’t be enough to feel like you “SHOULD” make the change in your life.  Then, start small and build a track record of accomplishments.  That sense of accomplishment will take the place of the wavering motivation.  This is how to set yourself up to make a change and keep the change going in your life until it becomes a new healthy habit.