I came across this blog post by Jared Matthew Kessler in which he talked about ways that he stays motivated and I was motivated to write a response. Jared talks about creating more reasons why to do something than reasons why not to do something. And I agree with that – but think you need to take it one step further.
If you want to not only create motivation in yourself, but also be able to maintain it over time, the type of reasons to do something are also critically important. When you are looking at your reasons for doing something – you want your reasons to be forward motivated, not away-from motivated.
The issue of weight loss is a common case in point. Lets say you want to lose weight. This is away-from motivated – you want to move away from your body as it is right now. You want to get rid of something – the weight. The problem with this and any away-from motivation – is that as soon as you are far enough away from the pain that caused the motivation – you will stop being motivated. So as soon as you’ve lost the weight, you are no longer motivated to exercise and eat healthy and control your portion size, and so on. And the tendency is to slip back in to your old habit of behavior. Hello weight gain and yo-yo dieting.
If your motivation is forward-focused, you want to create a healthy body and tons of energy. Then you will continue to be motivated to indulge in those healthy behaviors – because you are still wanting those results. And so, you create ongoing motivation, not cyclical motivation.
This concept is applicable to any behavior you want to create with consistency. For example – making money. If you’re focused on not being broke – you will create just over broke and stop working. If you’re focused on creating wealth and freedom – you will be motivated to continue to create money even when you’ve got enough to get by on.
So focus on what you want to create, not what you want to eliminate and you will create powerful habits of behavior and thought with a lot more ease and joy.