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Are You Motivating Yourself In The Right Way?

Mirror, mirror on the wall,

Who's the coolest person of all?

It's not him and it's not her,

I'm better and nicer than they ever were.

Mirror, mirror, I can now see

That the coolest person of all is me!

Do you have a mantra like this, too– something that you tell yourself everyday to feel more positive or confident?

While there is no harm in having a mantra that helps you feel better, telling yourself the wrong thing may make things even worse for you!

Are you telling yourself the right things every day? Read on to find out!

Basically, self-motivation is just the force that makes you do things.

It is your internal motivation, that causes you to work towards achieving your goals, or becoming the person you want to be. Motivation is an event, but discipline is a lifestyle. Motivation starts the project, but discipline finishes it. Motivation sets the goal, but discipline works it to accomplishment.

Motivation only exists as a noun. But discipline has a verb form. In other words, discipline is something you do, and choose to do; motivation is a thing that can come and go, which you cannot choose to do or control. Moreover: you'll never be “motivated” to be more disciplined.

Let's take an example to make things easier. Say your doctor tells you that you need to exercise for at least an hour every day. Your family and friends begin to force you to join the gym, and go every day. In this case, you're not self-motivated. But if you decided that exercise makes you feel good, and went to the gym every day, that would be self-motivation. So, self-motivation is the push that you give yourself.

Now, the questions are: how do I motivate myself? Is self-motivation something I can learn? And the answer is yes.

Some of the simplest ways of motivating yourself is just doing it. If there is something you want to achieve, your internal reasoning that forces you on a path towards achieving this goal is motivation. How much effort you put in, in order to achieve that goal, is discipline.

Positive affirmations also help in times of low motivation. Repeating statements like "Not doing ___ is not an option!” or Every day I am doing something to improve my life” can also motivate you. It can help you get new ideas and recognize opportunities, as well as change your mindset in a positive way.

Other things that may help you are: setting realistic and doable goals (like working out for 10 mins) that excite you, and scheduling rewards when you achieve these goals. What motivates me a lot is visualising myself achieving my goals, and imagining the happiness I will feel when I do. Something else that helps me is telling other people what my goals are, or making deals with my friends– Having an accountability partner helps at times.

In a TED talk by neuroscientist Tali Sharot, she said that providing positive incentives and rewards for achieving goals is more effective than warnings or punishments. People like hearing and seeing positive information, and like to believe it more.

For example, you have a son who does not like to study, despite every effort. You try and try to get him motivated, but he does not listen. Eventually, you decide to reward him with snacks for every two hours of studying. This would work better, and motivate him more, than if you decided to punish him for not studying. You can also tell him how much better his future is going to be if he continues to study like this, rather than telling him that not studying is going to ruin his life.

Remember that waiting for the perfect time to do something is never going to help. You're never going to feel like doing something if you don't start. If you keep discouraging yourself by thinking of the worst things that can happen, then you're the one stopping yourself. If you feel like you are stuck in a rut, or feel low, you need to take the first step towards changing this, instead of waiting for it to change itself. Not everyone can feel motivation. Discipline is more important than motivation.

And those are just some ways you can motivate yourself! Do not forget: self-motivation does not mean putting others down while building yourself up. It does not mean constantly comparing yourself to others, although that may help sometimes. The right way to motivate yourself is to look for your interest and excitement, not look for others' faults. Be disciplined and the results will follow. Don't wait for the motivation to strike. In many cases, motivation comes post doing the difficult activity that you were procrastinating.

Motivation is unreliable, but discipline is definitely reliable. Motivation can only get you started, but discipline can get you the results.

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