Want to develop lasting motivation? Here’s how

Are you having problems maintaining the motivation to accomplish your goals? – maybe you’ve watched a good documentary on TV, listing the numerous advantages of exercising. You then immediately start exercising but two days in, you quit, citing excuses that seem reasonable like ‘I’m way too busy for this.’

Motivation is an integral part of your day to day life. The level of motivation you can muster, greatly impacts how you go about achieving your goals.

If you’re highly motivated, you’ll accomplish your goals faster and much more efficiently than someone lacking motivation. The thing is, finding motivation isn’t all that difficult. But ensuring that your motivation lasts long enough to actually do some good is where you have your work cut out for you.

There’s a great need for building lasting motivation, but we’ll get there. First, there are some things you should know about motivation.

What being motivated actually means?

Motivation is simply defined as an external or internal drive that incites a person into action. This tells you that there’s two kinds of motivation you should be aware of: external motivation and intrinsic motivation (self-motivation).

External motivation comes from other people and includes rewards and compliments for an achievement or even fear of punishment. Such motivation is only transient and can get you started but will only take you so far. Without constant reinforcement and in the face of the slightest of challenges, your determination will waver.

On the other hand, self-motivation is the drive that comes from within you and isn’t dependent on external influences. This is the kind of motivation that you should strive for, since it can lead to life-changing and long-lasting improvements in your life.

By not depending fully on external motivations and instead focusing on developing self-motivation, you can secure the drive to accomplish anything you can think of.

Developing your self-motivation

Developing lasting motivation isn’t a cut and dried process.

You must always strive to mold yourself for the better and hone your motivation constantly. The end result is having to wake up each morning, ready and willing to take on the world. Here’s how you can get there:

1. Focus on the present

First things first, you need to learn to focus on the here and now.

Self-motivation involves emphasising current achievements and happiness instead of relying on obscure future rewards. For instance, when developing your motivation at work, try focusing on the feeling of accomplishment when you are ahead of your schedule instead of relying on the probability of a bonus later. Doing this will keep you motivated even if the bonus is no longer a factor.

2. Manage your beliefs

To develop self-motivation, ensure your thoughts always point you in the right direction. You should believe in your ability to reach your goals in the first place, in order to have the motivation to try. Thoughts such as ‘exercise is too hard’ or ‘my boss hates me so there’s no point’ should be eradicated. Use positive affirmations to reinforce thoughts that foster belief in your abilities. Thoughts such as ‘if I work hard, I can definitely do this.’

3. Monitor your progress

This is a great way to keep you focused. For instance, when exercising, keep track of how many more laps you can run every fortnight. Improvement is an indication that you’re on the right track while a setback is just a reminder to put in a little more effort. It’s important to be realistic in your expectations especially when starting out or you could end up being discouraged.

While self-motivation should form the backbone of your drive, it’s not permission to ignore external motivation altogether. The support of your friends and family in whatever you do is integral to your success. Also, a mentor to inspire you and rivals to rouse your competitive spirit will all help you attain greater heights.