When somebody mentions motivation, what do you think of? Do you think about the person who wakes up every morning at 5 AM to go to the gym before getting ready for the day? Perhaps your mind wanders to the person at work who never seems to have an “off” switch, and is constantly on the move?
Although those are examples of motivation, we want to discuss a different part of motivation: your internal motivation.
For part three of our series on Emotional Intelligence, we are digging into internal motivation and ways that you can increase your drive and passion in life.
So let’s start off with the basic question: what exactly is internal motivation? Emotional intelligence expert Daniel Goleman states that there are four components of motivation:
- Achievement drive, or the personal drive to achieve, improve, and meet certain standards
- Commitment to your own personal goals
- Initiative, or the “readiness to act on opportunities”
- Optimism, or the tendency to look ahead and persevere with the belief that you can reach your goals
Like all parts of our ongoing series, internal motivation is a skill that you are able to practice to increase in your own life, which will prove to be useful in your endeavors moving forward.
Words to Motivate
Nothing great ever happens overnight, and like all good things, there must be a consistent effort put forward towards your desired outcome. For this reason, we are going to start with a basic practice of utilizing positive affirmations.
You may remember our article on positive affirmations and their benefit in our lives. However, if you have not had a chance to read it yet, you can check it out here.
Set aside an hour of your time, and get comfortable with a notebook and pen. Take to the internet to google motivational quotes and positive affirmations, and write down any of them that resonate with you. If you read a quote or affirmation that makes you feel something deep down, write it in your notebook.
Once you have a list of 10 or more positive affirmations or quotes, copy these phrases again and post them throughout your house. By just having a visual reminder of these words and the way that they make you feel, you can start to feel motivated. Some areas that we suggest for your affirmations or quotes are: your bathroom mirror, by your alarm clock, on your door so you can see it on your way out of the house, or even on your computer monitor at work.
Read them frequently, and repeat the words to yourself to keep them fresh in your mind. As you continue this practice, you will naturally begin to increase your motivation.
Blast-off and the Two-Minute Rule
Have you ever had a to-do list that feels about a mile long? Where you have so many tasks and chores on your list that even thinking about them simply overwhelms you? You are not alone. A lot of us struggle with building up the motivation to begin even one task, let alone complete the list. So let’s tackle the list together by utilizing a simplistic approach.
Imagine yourself as a rocket, one that is getting ready to blast off into outer space. As you are getting close to the time to leave Earth, a large countdown starts over the loudspeakers, counting down from 10 to 0, and then you are off and on your way towards the stars.
As silly as this may seem, we can visualize this countdown to jumpstart our motivation. Think of one task on your list and begin to countdown from 10. Once you reach zero, blast-off by forcing yourself to get up and begin to start that task.
With the two-minute rule, we are only going to work on that task for two minutes. Once you complete your two minutes, you are free to continue doing the task if you are feeling focused, otherwise you are able to return to something else if you would like. As odd as it may seem, if you are able to work on a task for even just two minutes, you will more than likely start to feel motivated to finish that task, which can energize you towards starting the next one.
By counting down and propelling ourselves into a task, and dedicating at least two minutes to it, we can see an increase in our motivation. Sooner or later, you will not even need the countdown!
Finding The Positive
A slightly more involved practice for becoming more motivated is to find the positive in your tasks. This sounds simpler than it is, but with regular application, this will become second nature and will boost your self-motivation and drive.
Everyone’s daily activities are unique, but we will provide a few examples of regular tasks that can be spun into a positive, which can increase your motivation towards doing them.
- I need to run some errands, but that will lead me all over town, and I am not excited about traffic.
- I will have some alone time in my vehicle where I can play my music as loud as I want and sing along.
- I spent all day at work, and now I have to come home and make dinner. I’m exhausted.
- This is an opportunity for me to find a new recipe to make, which could be a new staple in my family’s home. I can turn on my favorite TV show in the background to keep me company while I make a delicious meal for all of us.
- Rent is due today and I am not excited to pay it. I feel like I am always broke after I pay it.
- Once I have the bills paid, I will be set for another month. This means that I will have a roof over my head and a place to live so I can continue pursuing my goals.
- I cannot believe my car broke down and I had to spend $300 to have it fixed!
- I am thankful that it did not cost more than $300 to fix my car, and I am glad that it still runs so I can continue using it safely.
As you work on finding the positive in your everyday tasks, you will begin to see the positive in your chores, instead of the negative. This will help to increase your motivation because instead of having tasks that feel like they are weighing you down, you can find the good in them so nothing can stop you.
Taking the steps to become more self-motivated are not easy, so when you successfully complete something or give yourself a boost of motivation, you should reward yourself for your hard work. Whether that means treating yourself to that fancy bag of coffee, having a stay-at-home movie night complete with popcorn and sweets, or even just setting aside some time to get out into nature, allow yourself to feel rewarded for the effort you are putting into improving yourself.
As you become more motivated you will realize that you are able to do literally anything that you set your mind to, and with that realization comes a whole new world of possibilities.