The Motivation Equation: Finding, Fueling, and Being the Drive for ChangeJan 07, 2024
Whether you're someone who gets swept up in the New Year New Me mentality, sees the turning of the calendar as an opportunity to reflect and realign, or thinks the whole thing is overhyped, growth and change are a part of life.
Intentional growth and change pave the path toward a better life experience by way of reaching goals, achieving success, improving lifestyle habits, and stepping into a more vibrant version of you. The fuel behind intentional growth and change is motivation, and learning how to reliably tap into that source of energy and momentum is not always an easy thing to do.
Motivation is a slippery thing. Sometimes It shows up uninvited and unannounced, a happy surprise that, if we're willing to take advantage of, propels us forward. Other times, we have to be more deliberate about finding, stoking, and maintaining the flames of motivation we need to chase our desired outcomes, else we end up sitting around passively waiting for it to strike again.
One of the most useful things we can do is find our motivators. Motivators can come in many forms - deadlines, accountability, contingencies (the rewards and "or elses"), values, fears, yearnings and deep desires. Motivators can also come in the form of people.
Find Your Motivators
Over the past several months, I've been making effort to expand my network and meet other people in the speaking industry specifically. Not only have I learned tons of tips and tricks of the trade, I have been so fortunate to find a handful of new people who make me feel super motivated for a number of reasons and in a variety of ways. I have also been more deliberate in scheduling regular time with old friends, particularly ones who inspire me in some way. This influx of new energies and steady contact with old favorites has been eye-opening, and there has been a observable shift in my mindset and actions.
There's a famous quote from Jim Rohn: "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." I've always bought into that concept. I think of our relationships as the social soil we grow in, and the quality of that soil determines whether we thrive or wither. The people we surround ourselves with influence us in huge, yet sometimes surprising and easy to underestimate, ways. They dictate, among other things, our lifestyles, our belief systems, the way we see ourselves, and, yes, our motivation levels. They impact our energy, our drive, the kinds of goals we set, and even what we see as possible.
This makes choosing people incredibly important, as are our decisions about who to give our precious, limited time to.
Invest your time in relationships with positive and healthy dynamics. You'll know these by the aftermath. Pay attention to the effects that your interactions have on you. After you hang out, talk, text, or otherwise engage with any particular person, note where your motivation is. Do you feel inspired? Energetic? Capable? Excited? Optimistic? Driven?
There are some people who will overtly push you to greater heights. They're the ones you talk about goals with, who know your desires to change. And they're the ones who support those wants. They're the ones who hold you accountable, who offer constructive advice, and let you know, in no uncertain terms, that they believe you are absolutely capable of doing what you set out to do.
Then, there are the motivators who inspire you more indirectly. Perhaps it's the way they move through the world that makes you feel motivated to be like them. Maybe they're setting lofty goals or doing the things you want to do, and they help you see that it's possible. If they can do it, why not you?
There are the cheerleaders who celebrate your wins, both big and small, resulting in a renewed burst of motivation to stay the course and push forward. There are the joiners, the ones who roll up their sleeves and go with you on your journey, providing accountability and a partner in crime. There are the ones who help you put set backs into perspective and keep you from getting discouraged.
What all of these different styles have in common is that they leave you with higher motivation than you started with. Make time on your calendar for them. Intentionally. Ensure that your days and weeks include these people often enough that you can keep your motivation from dipping too low. And when it does dip, as it inevitably will, know who these motivators are so you can reach out to them and infuse yourself with a much needed boost.
Be the Change You Want to See
Whether you're in the process of finding your motivators or already have a ready network of them, it's also worth looking in the mirror. Are you yourself a motivator?
Notice the topics you spend time talking about and engaging with. What is your mind consumed with? What subjects dominate your conversations? The patterned flow of your attention - meaning what you repeatedly focus on - shapes who you are and how you live. Be aware of this and use this awareness to craft your experience.
Check your innate negativity bias at the door. Our minds, problem-solvers that they are, are naturally inclined to seek out what is wrong rather than what is right. We easily spot the flaws, the imperfections, the possible catastrophes. Without care, this tendency can arise in our everyday conversations. As people share aspirations, hopes, and longings, we can unknowingly dampen them by honing in on those aspects. Instead, be a hype(wo)man. Lift them up. Offer encouragement and support. It's not really your job to protect others from future possible disappointment. Do you want to be the voice of reason or the voice that helps someone believe in themselves, dream big, and go for it?
Find your motivators and be a motivator. See what a difference it can make. Cheers to your success, my friend. May you surprise yourself with what you are capable of this year.
"Only surround yourself with people who will lift you higher." - Oprah Winfrey
Written by Dr. Ashley Smith
Peak Mind co-founder
Build psychological strength right from your inbox!
Get actionable information and tools to build psychological strength at home and at work.
We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.