“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar
This past Friday, in the Intro to Business course I’m teaching, we discussed motivation. There are a number of theories regarding how people are motivated…you have the classic Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Equity Theory, etc. Some like money. Others like paid time off. Maybe flexible hours is your preference. But what about daily motivation? How can we personally respond when we don’t feel motivated?
Recently, I realized that I feel motivated when there is a deadline that I have to meet (think homework assignments in school). Last Wednesday I was specifically feeling a lack of motivation at work. In my role at INMED, I have tasks that sometimes become monotonous and routine. Sound familiar? I thrive when I have to turn something in to someone. It forces me to take action. I get apathetic when I don’t feel challenged.
At that moment of realization last Wednesday, I had a choice: I could either do something about my motivation or I could continue in apathy. Thankfully, I chose to take action by making a calendar of assignments for myself. For the month of March, I have created assignments each day that I need to complete. This may sound crazy for those of you who aren’t task driven but it works for me. My goal is to create a monthly calendar like this at the beginning of each month. I then shared my plan with my wife and a couple coworkers. Hopefully it helps provide me motivation in those moments that I can’t find any on my own.
So what are some helpful steps to pull ourselves out of apathy and into action?
First, I believe we need to be able to identify when we lack motivation. How many times do I not feel like working out? Almost every day. It’s a lack of motivation, not a lack of ability. Recognition of this is key.
Second, we have to increase our desire for change. If I’m not motivated to work out, what do I need to do? I probably need to step on the scale and remind myself that I DO need to change.
Third, make a REALISTIC goal. It does me no good if I have no destination to get to or if it seems too far away. Ever try walking across the desert with no end in sight? Me neither – it sounds miserable.
Finally, we need to bring others into it. Telling others that I want to work out is a good first step. Asking them to do it with me is even better.
What do you find motivates you? If you are disciplined, how do you do it? Share your secrets with the rest of us!