Clients are always identifying motivation as a central problem in changing their behavior and instituting new habits. But what is motivation? How do you develop additional motivation? A simple place to begin is with the notion of getting started.
Think of motivation as what’s needed to push against resistance and create momentum. What are your options to generate motion?
- Lower your resistance
- Increase your motivation
- Know your desired outcome
- Find your personal purpose
- Feel loyalty to the team, patients, clients
- Both lower resistance and increase motivation
- Or, just take a first small action step that requires less motivation and presents less resistance, and creates activity.
With our clients we encourage simple answers that lead to the easiest solutions possible. Just taking a simple action step is often that solution. When I don’t feel like getting on my bicycle for a training session I don’t struggle to find motivation – I just put on my workout clothes. That step pushes past a chunk of the resistance – I’m already dressed – and kindles a bit more motivation – do I want to get undressed after getting this far?
If I’m still struggling, I start again and just pump up my bike tires. Now there is less standing in my way of getting on and riding, and more pull to make use of the clothes and tire pressure – just getting on and getting started is easier.
Figuring out where to start on a list of tasks is similar. Just do the simplest one. It creates momentum and as we learned in science class, a body in motion tends to stay in motion. Be careful not to get caught in too much figuring out how to conserve energy, be most efficient, or organize the work before getting started.
Outline the project – in motion. Set a date and time to get started – step one accomplished. Write a brief summary of the paper – you no longer have a blank screen. List in bullet points some attributes of the employee you need to evaluate – step two will seem easier.
You’ve heard or read us talking about this before? We find that even when people intellectually know what they need to do, they often have no system to cut through the resistance and remind themselves. So this is another reminder – just do the equivalent of standing up and taking a small step. Remind yourself that you don’t need to feel motivated; you just need to take a small step and create a bit of momentum. If that isn’t quite enough, take another small step. Soon you will either have a bit of forward momentum or you will be finished with the task or project – either works.
Steps toward motivation are simple to understand, but they are hard to implement. Having support and an experienced problem solver in your corner can make the difference between just wishing and actually accomplishing. Szifra Birke and Jay Livingston understand people and will partner with you to help you get started and keep momentum going so you get things done. Contact us.