Motivation Muscle

Motivation is a Learned Skill

Motivation is more like a skill, akin to reading or writing, that can be learned and honed. -Charles Duhigg. Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity

Whether we are trying to motivate ourselves to make a change or are trying to encourage others in some area, the great news is that motivation is like a muscle that can be strengthened with practice.  So each time we flex that muscle is important and matters to its strength in the long-run.

How can we practice motivation?

When we start a new task, or confront an unpleasant chore, we should take a moment to ask ourselves “why.”      –Charles Duhigg. Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity

  1. Find our “why”.  Asking “why” we want to do something new helps us to connect actions to larger goals, values, and dreams.  Writing down a few reasons WHY you want to quit sugar, respond more lovingly to your teenager, write that book, or make that business plan will help to cement that goal in your mind and will provide a reason for your action.
  2. Turn our chore into a choice.  If I know I need to make a dreaded phone call today, I might want to put it off.  I don’t love talking on the phone in general and when I anticipate any kind of tension during a phone call, I tend to procrastinate.  To turn it into a choice, I might decide what time I will make the call and then schedule it.  Now I’ve made the decision and when the time comes, I’m much more likely to actually do it.
  3. Get inspired.  Seek out good counsel from others who have done what you are seeking to do.  It is completely possible to make dramatic changes in our lives, but we sometimes tell ourselves the lie that it is not possible for US.  Perhaps someone you know has started a successful business, turned around their health, or created a family culture that you admire.  Ask them if they would consider mentoring you in this area.  People are often eager to share their passions with others.  If you don’t know anyone who has made a similar change, there are surely books or even conferences that you could seek out to encourage you.

Turn your dream into a small choice today and decide on that first small step.  Then take action on it.  You will be one step closer to your dream.  And you just may be strengthening your motivation muscle that you can use later to dream even bigger.

Do you believe that motivation is a learned skill or do some people just inherently have more motivation than others?  Leave a comment and let me know what you think!