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In need of a bit of motivation? This might help.



Motivation – the thing that gets us going and keeps us going.


Self motivation is a great skill to build and it contributes to self actualisation, one of the components of emotional intelligence. You need to be able to generate your own motivation if you’re going to do what’s necessary to get your goals.


Being able to generate motivation at will is also very helpful when procrastination and overwhelm show up.


So here are a few things that I use to generate motivation. Perhaps they’ll work for you too. You might also want to think about using some of them to help motivate others.

  • Motivation direction - try them both!

  • Your personal 'call to action'

  • Tap into your values for motivation



Motivation direction – try them both!


Imagine you're a donkey for a moment and someone wants you to move.


Are you mainly motivated to move by

  • the promise of getting a carrot - "Toward" motivated ? or

  • avoiding being hit with a stick - "Away from" motivated?


And if the answer's not obvious or you want to check, here's a little exercise to help.


Think for a moment about something that you’re already really motivated to do.

  • Write down all the reasons you are motivated to do it, until you can’t think of any more

  • Now have a look at the language that you’ve used

  • Do you focus more on the

  • Good things that will happen once you get it? or the

  • Bad things that you will avoid if you don't get it?

  • Your motivation direction preference is

  • "Towards" if your focus is on getting the good things, and

  • “Away from” if your focus is on avoiding the things you don't want.

It’s good to know what your preference is, as if you use too much of the wrong language you’ll destroy your motivation, but the right language will have you digging in and forging ahead, to get your goal.


A quick example of this in action…


My motivation direction is towards and my husband is away-from motivated.


When we first started playing golf together as a team of two, the difference in motivation directions and the impact of that became very clear to me!


When things were getting a bit tight in a match or I had a difficult shot, my husband started to use his “away from” motivation language to try and help me. “Come on Mary, you don’t want to gift them the match. You don’t want to walk off the course feeling like you didn’t give it your best shot” and so on.


All that did was irritate and demotivate me. And my “Come on, we can do this” language had the same effect on him.


As you can imagine, we had some discussion about this and we’ve now figured out the language we need to use for each other. What to say and not say, so we motivate rather than annoy each other!


So find out which way you are motivated and phrase your internal pep talk appropriately.


I also suggest you come up with some toward and some away from phrases so you can use whichever works on the day. Sometimes, how we are feeling will change what works best.


And remember, if you’re using the wrong language you may end up de-motivating which is worse than saying nothing!



What's your personal "call to action"?