Pressing Reset on Your Motivation Button
Motivation Life Hacks to Help Achieve Your Goals
We all have our favorite inspirational quotes to keep us motivated. We use these quotes to start our day, pick ourselves up following a setback or to inspire others that work with us. All of these quotes have two things in common – simple to remember and they create positive emotions. Popular sources include Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Henry Ford or Walt Disney. Personal favorites include the following:
“When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember – you haven’t”
– Thomas Edison
“You never fail until you stop trying”
– Albert Einstein
Unfortunately, inspirational quotes are not enough to keep your motivation engine revving throughout the day, week or month. It is important that you have a thoughtful plan balancing rewards and punishment, just like the “carrot and stick” technique.
The New Year’s Resolution and Dwindling Motivation
Admit it, we have all had our fair share of New Year’s resolutions. Who had a goal to lose weight, stop smoking, go to the gym, use less profanity, etc. the list goes on. We all relate to the tremendous motivation that flows within us each January 1st. However, that motivation quickly disappears over the course of the next few days or weeks and eventually is gone by February 1st. What makes this tremendous amount of positive motivation disappears so quickly?
Simple – Everyday Life is Sapping Your Motivation
The highly acclaimed self-help book Rich Dad Poor Dad by Guy Kawasaki talks about the rat race of life. Unexpected phone calls, unexpected meetings, last-minute deliverables by your boss all contribute to this rat race. Despite all of your great intentions to follow through on your New Year’s resolution, the rat race of life is working against you. We need to find the reset button on your motivation…
Therefore, being motivated at the beginning simply is not enough. You need to have a motivation plan that takes you through the ups and downs of each day until you finally accomplish your goal. Below are some Life Hacks that help keep your motivation soaring until you accomplish your goal.
A List of Motivation Life Hacks for Every Day Use:
1. Have both long-term and short-term goals
It is important that you define your long-term goal first. From there, identify 2-3 short-term goals that must precede your long-term goal. More importantly, each of these goals must be realistic. That is to say unrealistic goals are terrible for maintaining motivation. For example, if someone wants to lose 10 pounds of weight, an unrealistic goal is within one month. A more realistic goal would be to lose this same body weight over the course of 2 months.
The short-term goals should build off of one another and lead towards the long-term goal. Given the above long-term goal, an example of a short-term goal would be going to the gym at least three times every week, until I lose 10 pounds of body weight. This short-term goal is realistic for it does not state every day, or almost every day. The number of days chosen is reasonable to achieve, given that we all live in the rat race.
2. Make a public commitment
Goals take on greater meaning and importance if they are publicly announced. Now, I am not suggesting that you go to your local shopping mall and scream your goal to everybody in the Food Court! On the contrary, find a confidant such as your spouse, sibling or colleague to share this goal with. This sharing activity boosts your accountability to your goal. Keep your confidant in the loop on your weekly progress and use it as an opportunity to constantly reset your motivation.
3. Use the Mason jar trick
My go to trick to keep me motivated is the Mason jar. The Mason jar trick is a form of negative reinforcement that keeps me motivated. In fact, the Mason jar trick should be used for short-term goals only; for it is these short-term goals that are the foundation to the success of reaching your long-term goals.
Here is how the Mason jar trick works.
First, identify somebody that you have a strong negative opinion towards. Examples may include politicians, celebrities or sports teams. For example, when I was living in Detroit, the mayor was very unpopular. My negative cause was his political campaign fund. On the other hand, you may select the fan club of a musician or the booster club for your rival NCAA football team. Most important is that the entity must be able to receive public contributions.
Second, place a label on your Mason jar with the name of your “negative cause.” With my example above, it was the Kwame Kilpatrick Political Campaign Fund.
Third step is to commit a dollar amount. This dollar amount will be contributed into the Mason jar each time I fail to accomplish my short-term goal. Using the short term goal example from above, if I fail to go to the gym at least three days a week, then I will place $20 into the Mason jar. I will continue to fill the Mason jar each week, if I do not visit the gym for at least three days within that week. The dollar amount needs to be great enough so that it is meaningful if you parted ways with it. Moreover, it is important to keep the Mason jar on display for others, such as your confidant, to help keep you accountable.
4. Use a Reward Tree
Motivation is greatest when each goal is attainable and has a reasonable reward associated with it. Build a reward tree that links small goals with small rewards, medium goals with bigger rewards and your long-term goal with a final reward, that is really special.
With our weight loss goal in mind, a short-term goal could be to treat yourself to a movie if you go to the gym at least three days in a week. A medium-term goal, such as losing 5 pounds would be to treat yourself to a massage. Finally, your final goal is to buy yourself a new outfit, whether that is a suit for the men or a dress for the ladies. For this purpose, link the “value” of your reward with the difficulty of your goal, to ensure best alignment.
These Life Hacks will reset your motivation button. Indeed, use them at home for personal goals, and at work for professional goals. Granted, it will take time to realize the improvement in your motivation. But, over time, you will be amazed at how much more productive you will be.
Stay motivated my friends…