Motivation

Motivation

What it is and how to harness it's power. 

If you read the article on discipline you will know that we describe discipline to be the thing that you need when your motivation runs out. 
Motivation is the thing that we all want and that we all have in some areas but sometimes you're motivated to do the things that you shouldn't be doing rather than the things you should.
All motivation really is, is the internal desire to do something because you want to do it. You can fake motivation but ultimately it will not work out successfully. Motivation leads to affirmative action where as fake motivation does not.
When you are feeling motivated to do something it allows you to do it easier with energy and positivity. An example most of us can relate to is getting out of bed each morning; if you're motivated to get out of bed because you have a reason to do so and spomething yoy are motivated for then it can feel easy to do so. On the contrast - if you are not motivated for anything to get you up in the mornining it can be quite a struggle.

Why we need to be motivated.

Motivation is crucial to be successful in a physical skill as the process of training to learn something physical at a high level is guaranteed to get tough, It's not going to be a walk in the park and it certainly is not always going to be fun. You must have legitimate motivation towards what you're doing and the ability to recall the motivation, the reasons you were motivated at the times when you are not necessarily feeling it so much.

Discipline and motivation

It's almost unheard of to be so disciplined in something that you are able to do it without any motivation. 
Motivation can be caused by many things; whether they are financial gain, respect, passion, community and so on. You could be motivated to do something for all or several of these reasons.
But we need to make a distinction between having these underlying reasons to be motivated and and the actual feeling of being motivated which you are not going to have 100% of the time.
What discipline is, is being able to recall and understand internally the underlying motivation that you have felt for whatever it is you're doing even when you are not feeling motivated in that moment.
For example:
If I want to lose weight I could be motivated to do so for many reasons such as health benefits, self-confidence, endurance and so on.
To lose weight I would go on a diet and do daily exercise. I'm motivated to lose weight for the reasons above but that does not necessarily mean I am motivated daily. To do the exercise and stick to my diet each day it's going to be my discipline that I rely on and that allows me to to do this.
To put it another way discipline is putting your running shoes on and stepping out with the front door this is something that you could control 100% of the time. Motivation is the reason that you're going on that run and the feeling to be motivated is to find it effortless, easy and enjoyable to be going on the run. When you're not naturally finding it effortless or easy, you need to rely on your discipline to keep going.

Can you train motivation?

So the next question is is can you actually effect motivation or does it just come and go as it pleases? Clearly we would all benefit from being in a fully motivated state all of the time, but this is not something many of us ofter experience for extended amounts of time.
A way to have a better grasp on your motivation is firstly split it up into the two distinctions that we made earlier and then work on each of those individually.
These two distinctions are the feeling of being motivated in the present moment and the underlying reasons that motivated you to do what you're doing.
Starting with the underlying feelings of motivation. A really useful exercise is to get a pen and paper then write out what it is you are practicing at the top of the page. From here, list the reasons why you started doing it why you continue to do it.
List the positive benefits that you have gained from doing it and reflect on on weather this thing should still take the prioritisation that it is. 
It is possible to face some uncomfortable truths doing this exercise - e.g. if you started football as a teenager it could have been your entire world at the time but perhaps now you're just playing on the weekends as an adult and it's not feeling how it used to feel. In this situation you may realise that you're just doing it for the sake of doing it. It was something you used to do but the motivation that you once had no longer applies, this is obviously not a a great thing to realise but you need to ask yourself these questions as it's better to realise it sooner rather than later.
If that isn't you and you have listed the reasons why you started, the positive benefits and the reasons that you continue then you have a concrete written account of what makes up your underlying motivation and ultimately what allows you you to be disciplined.
When the going gets tough, you're feeling like packing it all in for the day and going home then this is when you should remember these things that you have written. 
Next, let's talk about the feeling the emotion of motivation what it is to feel motivated in the present moment .
Doing the exercise that we did above and reflecting in depth on why you're doing something can clarify things to yourself that you did not even know and and can can lead you to feel more motivated more regularly.
Aside from this, it's important to understand that in order for you to 'feel motivated' you must be definition not feel 'unmotivated'.
If we start from a point of reducing all of the factors that could cause us to feel unmotivated then you will have a far better chance to feel motivated! 
e.g. If you sleep for just one hour a night before an ultra marathon and you wake up exhausted and with cramp in your feet it's unlikely pure going to feel motivated to run that day.
Keeping your health optimal, making sure you are well hydrated, well slept and all the obvious things that make you generally feel better will also ensure that you are not distracted by a lack of them or by doing them inadequately.
The same also applies for mental health; any distractions in your personal life whether it's finance, relationships, etc will take away from this feeling of motivation.
Progression, accomplishment, success and achieving one's goals also play a massive hand in feeling motivated and continuing to feel so.
You need to have control over your mindset and your thought processes. To start doing this the first step is just being able to identify and understand them.

 

View The Chimp Paradox on Amazon.

In this book the sports psychologist professor Steve Peters introduces his method of mind management and identifying different thoughts, feelings and desires and explains his scientifically proven methods to begin learning how to control them and make your mind work for you.

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