Since the beginning of January, we’ve been exploring goal writing. After learning the SMARTER goal framework and applying it to the behaviors you want to change in your life, you are now able to write a solid goal with a good chance of success. While the SMARTER goal framework is a great way to organize and write an actionable goal (deadline), it doesn’t necessarily focus on an important factor in behavior change-Motivation. Simply, motivation is a person’s willingness to do something. This in and of itself can be the determining factor of goal obtainment success.
There are two kinds of motivation. Intrinsic motivation is being motivated by something because we like it or want to do it. This kind of motivation comes easily and is usually driven by our personal interests, drives, and desires. Extrinsic motivation on the other hand, is being motivated by an external reward/incentive or avoidance of punishment. In essence, we are motivated “outside” of ourselves and rely on external rewards to get us to do things we may not otherwise choose to do more naturally. The reality is, both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation are involved in every goal. The trick however, is to try to use intrinsic motivation as much as possible for goal achievement.
It is essential to choose a goal that means something to you. You have to care about the goal if you are going to put out the work to obtain it. Behavior change is hard and inevitably, some discomfort is associated with it because this is a normal part of growing/shifting/changing. As humans, we don’t love feeling distress, and our instincts may tell us to avoid or run. However, when we are motivated, we can tolerate the discomfort and make changes happen!
Here are some ways to keep motivation high:
1. Take care of yourself. Make sure that you are sleeping and eating well and getting in some daily exercise. This helps to keep your energy tanks and spirits high.
2. Make a list of things that motivate you. They can be intrinsic and extrinsic. This helps to sharpen the intrinsic meaning of a goal, while also identifying extrinsic rewards that can be helpful. You may want to reflect on a time where you were successful with goal achievement before. What worked? What didn’t work?
3. Honesty. Do you honestly want to obtain the goal? If not, then really consider why. Don’t let some internal conflict (I really want to make this goal happen, but I’m not sure that I want to give up [blank]) deter you. Remember, some internal conflict is normal! However, if you are setting a goal that you are not connected with, achieving that goal will not only be difficult, but unlikely.
4. Speak to yourself kindly and accept that you are human. Sometimes, the nasty things we tell ourselves can stop goal achievement dead in it’s tracks. Mistakes are part of the process. Accept this, reframe it as you trying and caring, and then keep going.
5. Make sure that you have both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation at play in every goal. You may have to increase the extrinsic motivation (upping the incentive) initially if there isn’t a lot of intrinsic motivation at play.
Ok, now it’s your turn. Get out a piece of paper and reflect on what motivates you! If you’re in a sharing mood, feel free to share below. You got this!