In this week’s article I want to talk about motivation, specifically finding the motivation to take the first step.
It’s so easy for some to speak a goal into existence and it be a habit simultaneously. Why?
Why do some start the process of reaching a goal only to quit shortly after starting?
It’s easy to identify what your goal is but taking the first step towards it is a different story.
I’m willing to bet you’ve had a similar conversations inside your head or with friends and family.
Let’s see if we can get to the bottom of it. Shall we?
First let’s define the different types of motivation:
How are you motivated? Intrinsically? Extrinsically?
I am a combination of the two, but, what I find interesting about this chart are the two “non-action” types of motivation. Introjected motivation and Identified motivation seem to suggest that we have a grasp of what we want to do and what we want to happen, but, just can’t seem to take those thoughts and move on them to make them a reality.
So, where is the disconnect? If we know what we want to do and have at least an idea of how to get there what keeps us from starting?
- Fear of failing?
- Too much pride to ask for help?
- Nervous about getting started?
- Embarrassed about what people may think of you?
- Worried you won’t have support from your spouse?
The list can go on forever.
And look, I get it. I have been there. It took me 3 years to have the confidence to start training people, and much longer than that before I started writing these blog posts and making my weekly videos. Am I the best personal trainer? Blogger? Vlogger? Heavens no!
But, I can confidently say that I have directly or indirectly helped thousands of people because of taking MY first step and THAT is something I can take with me to the grave. Something I am proud of.
You can experience the same feeling. I know it.
Whatever your disconnect may be what I know is this — if you fail to start you will always think about what could have been.
So what if you fail? Start over.
You know the old cliché “get knocked down 9 times get up 10”. It applies here. Because when you get up each time you’re going to be just a little taller than what you were before.
I want to detail a process I use with my clients to help them dig deep and find out what their real goals are. It goes beyond surface level stuff such as “I want to lose 10 lbs.” You may very well want to lose 10 lbs. but my guess is that there is a deeper reason behind that goal. You may want to lose 10 lbs. so you feel awesome at your upcoming high school reunion. You may want to lose the 10 lbs. to take some pressure off of your joints so you can play with your kids/grandkids.
Look at the difference in the examples above. If you have the surface goal and the goal where you dig a little deeper written down side by side, which is going to light that fire in you to want to get started more? One Hundred Percent of the time it is the “goal behind the goal”, the reason that is so much deeper than the surface level.
I learned about something called the Behavior Upgrade Model while working on my Exos XFS certification. It helps bring together your (actual) goals and how that process progresses as you move through the different phases of the continuum.
Step 1-Cultivating Intent:
You describe the desired outcome of your goal, the reason for wanting to reach that goal and the return on investment reaching said goal will have on your life. This all adds up to intent. Without intent, the first step is nearly impossible. I often describe this as finding your WHY (see mine here), which lets you dig past the surface goals and find the root goal. The root goal is something you can emotionally invest in on a higher level compared to a surface goal.
Step 2-Establishing a Baseline:
Take your intent and multiply it by internal factors (knowledge, skills, feelings, preferences, current and past behaviors) and external factors (time, money, access, environment, tools, people) and that gives you your baseline. Knowing the current state of internal and external factors provides critical awareness.
Step 3-Starting the Journey:
Now that we have our baseline we need to assess our process goals (smaller stepping stone type goals that all build toward the end goal) and assess our risk. You must ask yourself what risks do you see when you visualize the journey that lies ahead and plan accordingly. You’re now ready to start your journey.
Step 4-Making it Sustainable:
To make the journey sustainable you must stay determined. Do so by celebrating small (and big) victories and constantly remind yourself WHY you started the journey in the first place. Find a reason bigger than yourself for being on the journey. This could be as simple as setting a visual example of how a goal can be taken from idea to fruition, it could (and probably will) inspire someone you know or come in contact with whether you know it or not. You can experiment with rewards here whether they be extrinsic or intrinsic in nature.
Step 5-Maintaining Progress:
Once you reach this stage, guess what? You reached your original goal (and probably much more). You now need to assess and define a new goal, a new journey is in order. There is no room for stagnation here, 1% better Every. Single. Day.
As I’ve said before and I’ll say it here again (and let the picture below show you, too) there is no straight line to the top.
There are highs, there are lows, but notice how each low is not as low as the previous. That means improvement. It means results. It means you are getting better each and every day even at your low points.
We can install failsafe’s to help ensure our success along the way. For some this can be as easy as being able to check off 3 gym visits per week during a month. For others, maybe a material reward is warranted — if I go to the gym (x) times every week for a month then you can buy that outfit you’ve been wanting.
Others may benefit from “reverse bets”, something I learned from Mike Vacanti of On the Regimen. Reverse bets are the exact opposite of getting a reward when you accomplish a goal, instead you must give something up if you don’t stay on the timeline of your goal. For instance, you want to workout 3x/week every month for three months, that’s roughly 36 workouts. Every workout you miss you must pay your spouse/son/daughter/accountability partner $20. Well, that can add up quickly now can’t it!
Identify your preferred method of motivation. Get to the root of your goals, it takes time but is so worth it. Create an action plan. Crush said action plan. Repeat.
Take the time to invest in yourself to clarify where you are and where you want to be, write it down and get others involved in the accountability process if needed. Preparation sets you up for success and success is what I want for you.