Una's Blog


Happiness 20. Motivation – Set up for success





by Una Hearne

There are only two reasons human beings will take action:

  1. We enjoy the activity – say eating chocolate for example.
  2. We really, really want the outcome – say exercising or cleaning the house.

Clearly there is no problem with motivation when we enjoy the activity. And I know a lot of you would put exercising in the first category above, I can hear you shouting :-). What we enjoy is, of course, different for everyone.

So how do we make sure the things we are less enthusiastic about doing get done? Making our Vision a reality might involve plenty of both kinds of motivation.

One way is to keep your Vision front and central in your mind and life. Have it so that you can see, hear, feel or touch it every day. The ‘Why’ you are doing a task, the outcome you want, can make the action compelling and therefore easier. It works because it keeps you focused on rewards.

Your focus in the moment matters – if you focus on an activity you don’t enjoy, thinking about how much you are hating it, how much time it is taking, how you really don’t feel like it now and there are a thousand more pleasant things to do… Well, obviously it will take much longer and cost more energy to do it as you fight your desire not to do it. You might spend a lot of time oscillating between frustration and guilt instead of actually doing it. There is a high likelihood that you will give up or avoid starting it in the first place if it is associated with such unpleasant thoughts and feelings.

Now imagine facing exactly the same task but focused on how you will feel when it is done, the satisfaction and relief. Or how it takes you one step closer to your Vision! Isn’t that an easier way to do it? It’s the difference between focusing on cleaning the bathroom or the idea of how lovely it will be when it’s done.

It is also a good idea to set up your environment to support you and make things as easy as possible. We all know that if there is no junk food in the house we are far less likely to consume it. Well it is the same with tasks – if your workspace is organised so that you can get straight into it, if you don’t have to search for the things you want to use, if you can arrange to minimise interruptions. These kinds of strategies make it easier to complete tasks and save a lot of energy. Bear in mind we are all different and you need to find out what works for you.

Above all don’t rely on willpower. This is a fabulous help for about three minutes. Willpower will get you past the biscuit aisle in the supermarket but it will not keep you out of the cupboard at home all evening. It can get you onto the yoga mat or to your office chair – after that you either need to enjoy what you are doing or have a compelling/inspiring reason to follow through. Set yourself up for success.




Pic credit: NoName_13 and nicolrr. Found on pixabay

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