“Appreciating the simple things in life and creating an environment conducive for you to thrive in plays a big part in tackling your goals and dreams. To feel that where you are right now, right here, is exactly where you need to be.”
What if I told you motivation was the least reliable element to curate the reality you want to see unfold?
How many of you have goals and projects that have just remained as ink on paper, and you blame lack of motivation as the thief of getting certain things done?
What if refocusing your intention on 4 steps could help reinforce neurochemicals in your brain to inspire more action?
It’s time to take your dreams, put them into action, and enjoy the journey along the way!
In my opinion,and from experience, the problem with motivation is that it is the least trustworthy element to drive change and take action. You’re not always going to feel motivated in doing something. Not everyday is going to be an amazing day, but you can keep moving forward and embrace the things we cannot change.
Life is filled with ups and downs. It is also filled with opportunities to seize, obstacles to overcome and failures to learn and grow from. Every moment is a passing snapshot, amongst billions, in your journey. Every new day you have the chance to take the small steps necessary to change and improve from the day before. Without such diversity in life, we would be a stagnant species. Without the growing pains, you would not appreciate the joys. Without the discomfort, you would not be forced to take action to get out of the situation we are not pleased with. Embracing the changes and finding how to thrive from adversity is what keeps you going and pushes you to attain constant growth.
Without action, motivation is nothing; yet action without motivation can be everything.
You may remember your highschool Chemistry class where you learned that in order for certain chemical reactions to take place, you need the correct environment, the right reactants, a lab partner or teacher for assistance, and sometimes a catalyst to give that initial boost to start and speed up the reaction. At the end of the experiment, you would finish with a final product. However, the steps leading up to that end result were the most time consuming and most important part of the experiment.
Your desire to start something new, to change an old habit, or to complete a goal is much like a chemical reaction. No motivation needed. The key is to follow and execute the appropriate procedure, use the right ingredients, and then let the reaction begin.
Each experiment, much like each recipe, is driven by getting a final product. Yet each small step fuels the following step to complete the reaction. Having clarity, a plan, and knowing what your attainable goal is simply allows you to focus on the small accomplishments that get you there. Our brain thrives on the neurochemicals released when we feel that sense of pleasure from taking action. When each step is executed with intent, even the small obstacles that are placed in the way are only part of the journey. As with every experiment, sometimes things go wrong, and sometimes you don’t end up with the desired product, and instead you end up with an even better result than you had anticipated! Penicillin was an accidental discovery, and positively influenced the world of medicine historically.
So how can you stop waiting to be motivated, and begin living with actionable intent?
Focus on these 4 steps daily to help kick start your own chemical reactions in life, and overcome the lack of motivation you may be experiencing.
1. Your “Why” and how to get there:
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” ― Martin Luther
To have clarity in your goal is essential. The more you can visualise it, the more you can formulate each step necessary to write out your “chemical reaction”. Get clear on the reason “why” you aim for that final product and how that reason why is what will fuel picking you up from the lows.
For example, perhaps your goal is to get your PhD in medical research. Starting from the end, write out the steps that bring you to where you must begin. When you break down each part of the process into small “mini-reactions”, you have an opportunity to experience completing a small step. Even the smallest move closer to your goal, your brain releases Dopamine, the feel good chemical in your brain. This feeling then inspires you to want to take more action.
Now come back to that goal, and ask yourself the true reason why you want to get that PhD. Most likely it is because you want to make an impact in bringing awareness, or a cure, for an ailment within the health field. As you begin the journey to get there, perhaps some steps are sidetracked. This is when you connect to your “why”. Why? The root that drives your end product is actually a passion to help others. When you anticipate getting closer to where you want to be, dopamine release also comes to work in your favor. So you may get veered in another direction. Such as writing a book or creating a campaign involving a health concern that makes a bigger impact than your original goal of a PhD. If that PhD passion is still burning within, reassess and recreate a new formula. Every time a small reaction takes place towards the final product, that in itself will give you a feeling of inspiration to keep moving forward.
Clarity and your “why” may be difficult for many of us. So take the time to get into nature, meditate, or receive guidance from a coach or counsellor. Setting up smaller milestones to get to the big end result helps us biochemically release all the feel good neurochemicals to give us the confidence to keep going, and set motivation aside.
2. Find your Catalyst:
We all need a bit of a boost sometimes, and motivation isn’t always there to give it to us. In chemistry, it is called the “activation energy”. This is tied to your environment where the reaction takes place and it plays a key role with getting you started to take that first step. Once the reaction gets started, much like a ball down a hill, momentum picks up and you are off the starting blocks!
This catalyst can come in the form of adding something new to your routine, joining a team, or hiring a trainer that will perhaps sternly give you that loud “go” to start your exercise regimen. If you want to run in the morning, having all your clothes laid out and your runners at your door give you no choice but to be laced up before you exit. Once you’re out the door, and the activation energy is ignited, you’re given a boost to complete your run. Each time you take action to do something you weren’t motivated to do, that dopamine, as mentioned above, releases and gives you the catalyst effect to speed up your motion to continue moving forward. To initiate getting to work or study, schedule your task in your calender with exact times. WHen your reminder comes up and you are not motivated to start, take 6 deep breaths, affirm “I’ve got this!” and sit down in your conducive environment. You can also add using an awakening scent, such as peppermint or lemongrass,to boost your focus. Music can also be a powerful influence and catalyst. A playlist that sets the frequency of your brainwaves to concentration and solving problems. Music can also be a powerful tool for pushing you further and giving you that boost in your workouts.
When you know someone is depending on you, or waiting to hear of your progress, it is human nature to be more inclined to follow through and complete what is required. Having someone make you accountable for your actions can be a huge benefit when that motivation is nowhere to be found. Accountability also creates the support system that promotes the secretion of Serotonin in the brain. This neurochemical is activated with regular social connections and it boosts your mood to make you feel happy. When you feel happy, you are most likely to follow through on your actions and take better and healthier decisions. So take on a coach or counsellor, get a workout buddy, or have a partner that supports you and reminds you of your why and how to stay on track.
4. Create the right environment:
“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Einstein
It’s all about setting yourself up for success. When you make things simpler for yourself to follow and take action, it will be easier to start those tasks and have consistency. If you need focus in order to do work, turn off your phone notifications and take away distractions. If you want to eat healthier, clear out temptations from your kitchen, and go to places that align with your healthy choices. Buy yourself some cool containers and create prepackaged lunches the night before. Want to drink more water? Carry a water bottle with you and set up reminders in your phone to keep you intake in check. Want to start a new habit of reading? Put the book in a place that you will constantly see and is easy to access. Want to start exercising? Ensure you choose something that fits your schedule and location to facilitate what you want to achieve. Another tool is to create visual post-it notes to remind you of the next step or new habit that you want to instil. When you prepare your environment around you to support your end product goals, you minimize the stress of battling through obstacles and challenges that could deter you from staying on track.
So now that you don’t need to rely on feeling motivated, stand up, take a few deep breaths, and get started on your experiment remembering to appreciate and enjoy each mini reaction step that takes place!
If you can relate to this, and feel that having further support and new tools to continue on your journey of creating a better life for yourself, make an appointment with Astrid Merkt at the Balance Health Clinic. You deserve to get the guidance and accountability you need to optimise your personal growth.