The quest for motivation is a never ending one.
Unfortunately, motivation comes and goes, it is a fleeting feeling. When we see something, hear something, or read something we can become inspired. We may feel like we can conquer the world; but what do we do when, in a couple of hours, that motivated feeling leaves us?
The simple answer? We must look inside. We must begin to internalize our goals and desires and remove the value we place on external affirmations.
If we live life with value placed on external goals; what others think, our status in comparison to those around us, whether or not we are considered “worthy” by society, etc; then we will never have enough and we will never be enough.
Motivation cannot be sustained when our goals and where we place our value is external. When we shift internally, however, we find that motivation will come a lot more naturally and will stay for longer.
Letting go of what you cannot control and executing upon what you can control forces you to “play the game” for the right reason. You begin to do things for yourself. You begin to find a greater sense of fulfillment in life.
One of the important aspects of internalizing your goals and values is taking pride in your progress.
As people, when it comes to achieving goals, we are inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to those around us. We see their progress for what it is, progress, but we rarely have the same outlook for our own steps in the right direction.
Let me give you an example.
Let’s say, one summer, my friend Mike wants to gain 10 lbs. of muscle. This is a fairly reasonable goal for a growing young man. He knows that in order to gain that 10 lbs. of muscle in the three months of summer he needs to eat right, drink right, sleep right, and train right.
In the time leading up to the summer he conducts extensive research on what to eat, how much to drink, how to sleep for maximum recovery, and what he needs to do in the gym to pack on the most amount of muscle possible.
With his game plan in place, Mike does everything he needs to do to put himself in the best position to win. Before he gets started he steps on the scale to get his benchmark weight. He weighs 200 lbs. Mike dedicates every day of the summer to reaching his goal of gaining 10 lbs. of muscle.
As the summer passes, he begins to see subtle changes in his physique: his plan is working! Mike continues to stay true to this approach for the remainder of the summer. When the three-month window comes to a close, he is feeling better than ever before. He knows that he is bigger, faster, and stronger.
He steps on the scale with great pride only to see that he has gained just 5 lbs. Mike’s goal was to get to 210 lbs., but he only got to 205 lbs.
Now I want you to think about this honestly. Mike set out to gain 10 lbs. of muscle, but he only gained 5. Do you believe Mike failed at reaching his goal?
As I said, think about it honestly, put yourself in Mike’s position. Let’s say you wanted to gain 10 lbs. or lose 10 lbs., and you did everything like Mike. You did your research and you put in all of the work, and when it came time to see the results, you fell short. Would you consider that to be a failure? This is not a trick question. It is a moment for introspection.
I don't know how you answered for sure, but I am fairly certain that if you didn't consider it to be a failure for Mike, you did consider it to be a failure for yourself.
We, as human beings, are often harsher on ourselves than anyone else can be on us. You were more inclined to give Mike the benefit of the doubt than you were to give it to yourself. You probably said things like, “Well, at least Mike tried.” Or, “He did make some progress, so that is a success.” But when you put yourself in Mike's shoes, all of the at least you tried’s went out of the window. It became black and white: “My goal was to gain 10 lbs. or lose 10 lbs., and I only did 5. I fell 5 lbs short.” It is as simple as that.
We are a lot less forgiving of ourselves, and this can be very dangerous for us and for accomplishing what we intend. If we have this mindset of failure when we fall short of our goals, we will never reach any of them. Considering missing the mark to be a failure enables this vicious cycle of failure. This cycle can cripple us and causes us to become stagnant.
Instead of only seeing the little that you did not accomplish, begin focusing on all that you did. Take pride in you progress. Understand that any step in the right direction, big or small, is something to be proud of.
Life can be hard at times, that is why ii is so important to be proud of how far we’ve come and be excited for where we are going.
When you shift your focus internally and take pride in your progress, you will find that you will begin to overflow with motivation.