Motivation is a Fickle Friend
Motivation is hard to come by. It can strike in an instant, like a lightning bolt, and it can leave you stranded in the middle of a huge undertaking just as fast. It’s frustrating! I have been trying to figure out how to find motivation that sticks around, and I’ve tried just about everything. Thankfully, there is something that can do the job – and that, my friend, is a why statement.
Whether you want to be healthier, save more money, be more social, be more creative, or improve in just about any way, then you know it is easier said than done. After the initial burst of motivation, it’s hard to remain consistent with any new habit. There are tons of methods to help you continue to push forward – habit trackers, exercise logs, rewards… you name it. But those are just the engine to help you get where you are going. You need to pair these tools with the proper fuel – that fuel being motivation. So how can a why statement provide the fuel you need?
So Why Are You Here?
Presumably, you clicked on this post because you feel pulled to some goal. You want to be better. But why?
Think about your answer here. Do you want to do better because your boss tells you to? Do you want to get healthy because that’s what society expects from you? Or do you want to get better because deep down inside, you know that this will be good for your soul?
There are two types of motivation: implicit and explicit. Explicit motivation is when you feel pushed toward a goal to achieve some kind of reward or to avoid negative consequences. For example, a child wants to get a good grade so she receives a reward (like a gold star) or wants to avoid failing so she doesn’t get punished (like getting grounded).
Implicit motivation is when you feel pulled to accomplish a goal for your own personal satisfaction. That’s more like when you learn a new skill (like brush lettering) just for the sheer pleasure. No one is telling you to work hard for these goals, and you gain nothing for your labor except new knowledge and skills.
Both are effective forms of motivation that get people working toward goals. But if you want to learn how to find motivation that lasts a long time, you need to look towards implicit motivation. That’s the one that burns the longest, because you carry the flame within you.
Now Try Again
Why are you here? Why do you want to get better? You should feel the answer in your gut, not in your head. You can’t logic yourself into a passion. Do you feel internally drawn to your goal? Or are you coming up with 47 reasons why you should be working toward your goal?
Really quick, I want you to think of someone you know who is super talented at something. It could be art, sports, magic tricks, or whatever. This person could be a celebrity or a family member. Without meeting that person, I can guarantee that they feel a deep, spiritual pull toward their craft. And due to that internal pull, they worked at their craft every day until they were awesome at it. They felt motivation despite the mistakes, the mishaps, the setbacks. That’s what implicit motivation does to you – it makes you obsess about your goal.
Find Your Passion
Everyone has a passion for something. Humans are wildly curious creatures, and as children we experiment through play. We try everything as kids, and eventually discover things that spark interest. Sometimes, the pressures of being an adult beats that curiosity right out of a person and leave them demoralized and disillusioned. If that feels like you, then I want you to hop over to this post and complete the thought exercise described there. Let loose and play with the crazy ideas of what you would do if you had the chance of a life do-over.
Okay, so let’s say you have a general idea now of a few things you care deeply about. Congratulations, you are one step closer to harnessing your motivation! Now, it’s time to articulate your passion into a single, powerful why statement.
How Does It Connect?
Let’s say you desperately want to organize your life. “What does that have to do with my passion for crocheting?” you ask.
Well, for starters, you can spend more time working on your crochet projects if you organize your schedule and eliminate procrastination. You can keep your yarn collection neat if your craft room is organized.
But what about other things, like the goal of saving money? Naturally, the more money you save on other things is more money you can put toward the things you love.
Basically, if you really think about it, your deeply held passions and desires are tied to all your goals, whether they seem related or not. Find that connection and write it down.
The Why Statement
Write the reason why you want to improve yourself on a piece of paper. Try to make it as succinct as possible, and dig down to the root of your reason. The statement should feel powerful when you read it.
You can spend a few days whittling it down until you get the perfect sentence. When you’re finished, it should read like the answer to the question, “Why do I want this so bad?”
It can be based around another person, such as a child or a spouse. It can be based completely on yourself (no, that’s not selfish!). If you want, it can even be based upon revenge! My statement was based on the idea that success is the best revenge for the longest time, and boy it was powerful. Nothing gets you motivated like imagining the faces of all your past doubters and naysayers when you succeed. As long as it feels intense and honest to your true inner desires, there is no wrong answer here.
This is such a simple but powerful exercise to get you to really boil your motivation down to a single statement. This technique can be the exact thing you need to cut away the unnecessary in your life and begin to focus on what truly matters to you.
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Display Your Why Statement
After you have picked your brain and come up with a kick ass why statement, then it’s time to go a step further and display it. You need to put your why statement up somewhere you can see it every day. You can put it on your bathroom mirror, on the inside of your front door, or as the background image on your phone.
My why statement is right over my desk so I can see it when I’m working. I like to know that if I’m struggling to meet a deadline or power through a bought of low motivation, I can look up and remember the why for it all. I created it with my Dr. Ph. Martin’s Hydrus watercolors and Pentel Aquash Water Brush Pens. You see, if you put some time into it and make it pretty, you’ll enjoy looking at it and you’ll really absorb the message. If you want to create your why statement with watercolors, then head here and learn how!
Motivation Moving Forward
Now, a why statement might be the answer to how to find motivation for the long haul. Unfortunately, it isn’t going to magically solve all your motivation problems. You will still have tough days, and there’s nothing a piece of paper can do about that. But If you dug deep and pulled out a powerful, inspiring why statement that really speaks to your soul, then you will have a strong alley in your corner.
We all have intense implicit motivation in us, but a why statement turns an abstract thought and puts it into concrete words. When you’re feeling down and like you can’t go on, you can lean on your why statement for just a little extra strength. Sometimes, that’s all you need to keep going.