Why motivation doesn’t mean success: 4 tools more powerful
Maybe this has happened to you…
You’re scrolling through your social media feed one night after the kids have gone to bed and you see a post from an old friend. She just completed a half marathon and the training was grueling, but according to her post, “life-changing”. She feels better, looks better…and even more, has an accomplishment to be proud of.
This lights a fire in your belly. You want that too. Sitting there, staring at your phone, in that moment, you decide that you, too, will run a half marathon. You start to google races, training plans, maybe even new running shoes. You feel the energy of the excitement of this idea. You’ll get started right away. Tomorrow morning, before anyone is awake, you’ll head out for your first training run. The alarm gets set for 5:15am, and clothes are all set out.
Then, the next morning comes… the bed is so comfortable, it’s raining out, you didn’t sleep well, so you need rest… and you skip. Where did all the motivation go that you felt last night?? Now it feels like you could care less about running a half marathon. Besides, it’s so much less effort to just not run one.
This is the story of motivation. It wanes. It ebbs and flows. Some days it is a burning inferno, other days it is a smoldering ember. Yet, all too often, we rely on our motivation to be everything, or at the very least, the only thing.
Part of starting a new program, goal or workout is deciding what your commitment will be and follow through. Here a 4 things better than motivation:
- Accountability: Share your goal. I can’t tell you how many clients I have worked with who have been quiet about their goals and/or accomplishments. The excuse: if no one knows, and I fail, then no one is the wiser. The fear of failing, especially publicly, is real- I get it. Imagine, though, the power of that accountability. Having others cheer you on is the flip side of that coin. If no one knows what you are accomplishing, it’s tough for them to be behind you. Gather your team. Let them in. Share your goals.
- Buddy up: Hand in hand with accountability comes the buddy system. If you find someone who wants to pursue the same goals, why not combine efforts. When you have a buddy, your motivations won’t always align at the same, which is great. When you aren’t feeling it, they can lift you up… and vice versa. Combining efforts means you have a better chance of success. Plus, accountability… you wouldn’t want to let her down, right?
- Habit stack: Habit stacking is a method of creating new habits by connecting them with already established patterns. So, for example, if your goal is to start a daily meditation habit, you could stack it with something else you do daily. Perhaps as your coffee brews in the morning, you sit in meditation for 5 minutes. Or before you go to bed, between turning off the lights and laying down, you sit for 5 minutes. Find the things that will happen in your schedule regardless and link your new habit to them- this will not only help remind you to complete your new habit, but will also create a space in your day for it.
- Discipline: I know this sounds a little rigid, and perhaps uncomfortable, but discipline will trump motivation every time. We have to learn to do things even when we don’t want to. If you think about it, you practice discipline every day. I mean, I don’t wake up every morning and think “I am so pumped to do laundry”, and yet, I do (most of the time…) Practicing discipline – doing what needs to be done, regardless of our desire to do it – is a critical element of success, in every area of life. Why do you think Nike chose the tagline “Just do it”? Make your goals non-negotiable.
Don’t get me wrong. Stay motivated. Stay hungry. It is important and vital. But understand it’s fleeting tendencies. Build a structure around your goals that is so solid, so unphased by the changing of emotions, that you have no other choice but to win.
You’ve got this.