Turn up the heat on your motivation
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As I was cooking a family curry last weekend and chopping a particularly hot chilli, I was reflecting on what motivates me to put in place new, healthier habits. Home cooking with fresh ingredients is one of the habits I do try and focus on.
In the world of chillies there is such a thing as the Scoville Scale which rates how “hot” the little suckers are. Perhaps I thought there is a similar scale for our motivation levels.
In the last blog I talked about what you can and can’t control. In my experience there are a lot of people who are looking for a sense of control in their life but who go about achieving this by trying to control the people around them. This can manifest itself as telling, nit-picking, criticising, judging or manipulating. None of these behaviours are particularly helpful as they are likely to trigger a threat response in people to whom they are directed. Relationships become damaged and recipients become demotivated, disengaged and lacking in trust.
So, what if this energy was redirected into your own motivation and used to achieve things and to imbed new habits. Allowing for some artistic licence, here is the Zentano Scale of Motivation.
This is probably where most people begin, by focusing on things they don’t want in their life. Stress, tiredness, being overweight, feeling anxious etc.
We ask ourselves questions such as “What if I weren’t stressed?” or What if I could be more confident?”. Tapping into this style of motivation means tapping into our fears and perceived threats. For some it can work well, but for many it isn’t enough, and the motivation fades away.
Bird Eye Motivation
Turn up the heat a notch and focus on the future and what you are working towards. Ask yourself “Why am I doing this”. Try and visualise what the future you will look and feel like.
If it helps, “nudge” yourself each day with visual reminders of the vision inside your head. Write things down and keep them handy to refer to.
Scotch Bonnet Motivation
Motivation of this type can be very powerful as it focuses on extrinsic factors such as rewards and recognition from others. Let’s face it who doesn’t like other people to notice and tell us when we have achieved something or done something particularly well. This becomes even more powerful if they articulate the impact our actions have had.
The main downside of this motivational factor however is that we have no personal control over if and when we get reward and recognition from others. One thing you can try is to set yourself a goal and when you have achieved it, you give yourself a reward (a treat maybe).
This is where we really turn up the heat on our motivation and tap into intrinsic factors. It can be challenging initially as it involves introspection, looking inwards. Ask yourself questions such as “What gets me out of bed in the morning feeling energised?” or “What is it that gives me high levels of personal satisfaction?”
Understanding your WHY factors, e.g. why certain people inspire you, why your hobbies and personal interests matter so much to you, why you do what you do for a living etc. can be hugely beneficial. This is the stuff that matters when we need to be focused, and resilient. It is characterised by statements such as “I know why and that’s all that matters” or “I am clear on what’s in this for me”
Intrinsic motivation is empowering and powerful.
For the best results it is worth working along the scale and being clear on all factors.
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