How To Kickstart Your Motivation and Get Your Life on Track

- Motivation

by Tofe Evans

I get called crazy more times than my name.

The thing is: I don’t think I’m crazy.

To me, what’s crazy is wasting your time by not focusing on your dreams and by complaining about how sh*tty your life is. Consider all that wasted time that you spent investing in things that didn’t help your situation, like binge-watching a series on Netflix.

We all have the same 24 hours in a day, but what makes someone incredibly successful in that time? Deploying and investing their energy into the right things, that’s what.

But how do you determine what is right?

The Difference Between Passion and Curiosity

Everyone always says, “Follow your passion.” I’m going to call BS on that statement.

If you’ve found something a career that you’re deeply passionate about, that you would be happy to do for the rest of your life, then great! But if you’re where most people are, unsure of what their grand passion is, searching for a role that satisfies them, then being obsessed with “following your passion” is just demoralizing and ineffective.

The saying should be tweaked to say, “Follow your curiosity.”

What do you like to do? What would you like to do, not for the rest of your life, but for the next few months? There’s no need to bog yourself down trying to choose the passion you will commit to for the rest of your life—pick something you’re interested in, something you’re curious about, and see where the pursuit takes you.

I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.

Albert Einstein

At the end of the day, what it all comes down to is curiosity. If you’re still interested and curious in what you’re doing even after the pitfalls, the tough days, and bad experiences, then you’re in the right field.

Using myself as an example, when I was in a very low place, I developed a curiosity around running. How far could I push myself? What would it be like to be in great shape?

Running was an escapism for me, but it kept me distracted from my inner demons in such a good way I was able to use them to my advantage. My determination drove me to complete multiple extreme endurance challenges.

As I keep pushing myself and pursuing adventures in endurance, the curiosity is still there for me. Here’s a little caveat for you: I was never a runner to begin with. Especially at school, I hated the sport. But I came to a point in my life when I was so desperate to get out of my rabbit hole of anxiety and depression that running didn’t seem as bad as I perceived it in my teens.

Once I finished my first marathon, I automatically wanted to know how far I could push my body.
This was a great goal, scary enough to make me grow. But once I realized I enjoyed running and was able to push through the adversarial moments and mental mind games throughout training and events, I developed a passion.

Have a listen to the Management 3.0 Podcast with Tofe Evans on Adapting to Pitfalls and Overcoming Adversity

The Four M’s of Motivation

I’m constantly thinking about how I can do better, raising my own bar, and learning from the best. Yet, the passion would not be there if I wasn’t still very curious to see what could be achieved.

What actually motivates a person to take on a new goal? No, it’s not a quote slapped onto a backdrop you saw on an Instagram photo. There’s a science behind why we have drive. It comes down to the Four M’s of Motivation.

  • MATERIALS. Objects or money that matter. Examples: Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor.
  • MASTERY. Becoming renowned at a skill. Examples: Michael Jordan and Michael Phelps.
  • MATING (FRIENDSHIP). Building concrete relationships and growing their social circles. Examples: James Corden and Casanova.
  • MOMENTUM. How movements are created that cultivate inspiration and thought-leadership. Examples: Elon Musk and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

We’re all different but have tendencies for all four. However, you’ll have a primary ”M” motive, then a secondary, and then the other two won’t be as dominant. For me, I’m not very materialistic and I’m not aiming to be the best or quickest endurance athlete.

Personally, I’m momentum-based followed by mating, since I’ve always been a person who loves people and is fascinated with human behavior and social dynamics. Defining your “M” motives will help you set goals, but how do you stay on track?

How To Stay on Track With Deadline Hacking

To really reduce the friction with decision making, we must act on each task without procrastinating and putting it off to the side. Sometimes the task we’re working on is a predecessor activity, which means we can’t move forward until it’s done.

If it’s a task we’ve been anticipating and trying to avoid, then it simply means we have to go at it from a different angle. That is, via chunking and applying short deadlines with rewards.

The issue with procrastination (getting distracted and shying away from the task with something else) is we push the workload higher until we feel it’s unachievable and couldn’t be bothered anymore. Then all curiosity is gone, all because you were too focused on that YouTube channel showing cute cat videos.

Trust me, I’ve been down that rabbit hole before.

If you were given a task at work and have been told to complete it by the end of the week, then you’ll take your time with it. However, if the boss has noted that it must be done in the next three hours (especially if there’s some reward), you’ll get your ass into gear and finish that task before the three-hour deadline.

The trick for completing a task is to apply a relatively short deadline because it’ll reduce over-thinking and you’ll be nimble with getting the job done. You’ll enter a state of thought-provoking focus on the major things that need to be completed.

It can be a little stressful, but according to the cognitive bias stress-influence, a little stress is healthy, while too much will make you become dysfunctional. So, set tight deadlines that are realistic yet maintain your high standards for quality.

To make sure you adhere to these deadlines, reward yourself even if it means checking your phone for a minute or two or grabbing a quick coffee. You can set a timer on your phone that segments your task into thirty-minute intervals: try twenty-five minutes of working on the task followed by five minutes of leisure. There’s something about a countdown timer that has us completing that task on time.

Remember Your Why

Yes, this stuff can be hard, but remember your “why,” which is the reason you set the goal.

Maybe you chose the task so you could feel more in control of your life. Maybe you wanted to prove you’re worth more than the average worker. As much as the end result is an achievement, you should enjoy the process and make good progress along the way.

Here, optimism is key. Even with all the losses, I’m appreciative because I’ll always know they’re just minor setbacks. This validates that it didn’t work so I know for next time that it wasn’t as effective. Feedback from an experiment that didn’t go as planned gives you more knowledge, as opposed to a failure that seems to take control of you.

Fear is a four-letter word that scares people into not trying anything. They don’t even bother doing something due to their own fear. That’s a realization why their lives are shit and boring. Are you one of those people? If so, sorry to say this, but you are the bitch of your own brain.

Now let’s do something about it.

What are the things you do to keep yourself motivated? Let us know in the comments below!

Photo: Pexels

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