Motivation Part 1: Myths

Motivation is a topic that comes up on a regular basis when people are trying to achieve goals in their lives. When we’re motivated, we’re more likely to achieve the targets we set for ourselves. But sometimes people get confused about what motivation is and or how to keep it going for the long term. There are also some common motivation myths. We’re going to be looking at some key myths and what’s really true when it comes to motivation

Myth #1: Motivation is the same thing as excitement.

We equate the ‘fired up’, energized state we’re in after going to an inspiring workshop or reading a motivational book with being ‘motivated’. Maybe you were at a Tony Robbins event and you just finished walking over hot coals and you got caught up in collective energy of the crowd and set some wild, extravagant goals. Unfortunately, this heightened state is often fleeting.

Myth #2: Motivation that comes from avoiding pain is sustainable for the long term.

Many people start a health and fitness plan because they’ve hit rock bottom. Maybe none of their clothes fit or they’re tired all the time or they see a number on the scale that’s higher than they’ve ever seen. Being motivated by wanting to avoid pain might work in the short term… until we move away from the negative emotions and situations that prompted us to make changes in the first place. For the long term, like that burst of excitement and passion we talked about above, this strategy won’t serve us.

Myth #3: Motivation is something we have.

We often think that we either have motivation or we don’t. We can either be motivated or unmotivated. This is far from the reality. Motivation is actually something we create. Think about the beginning of a new relationship. There’s an initial period where you’re on cloud nine, and have butterflies every time you see your partner, and can’t get enough of them. If we expect this infatuation and puppy love to last, we’re probably going to be in trouble once that initial passion subsides. We want to continue growing in the relationship by creating more love with our actions and by spending intentional quality time together. Cultivating a strong, connected relationship is a habit. Motivation is also a habit. And this brings us to our next myth…

Myth #4: We have to want to do something in order to it.

We don’t have to feel like making that healthy food choice or feel like going to the gym to do it. We can create motivation by taking a step in the right direction – whether it’s a workout or doing some meal prep – regardless of our desire to do it or not do it. Think about cleaning your house or brushing your teeth or paying your bills. You don’t have to like doing any of these things. You don’t have to want to do them, and you probably don’t want to do them. But you probably still do them because you like a clean house, healthy teeth, and keeping your power turned on.

We might not always like working out or eating healthy, but we can still choose to do them because we love having energy and strength and confidence. When we take these actions in spite of our resistance, we actually generate more motivation. Motivation is a habit rather than something we either have or don’t have.

Myth #5: Motivation is all we need for success.

We often think that if we just had more motivation, all our problems would be solved and we could achieve any goal. But the truth is, there are other pieces to the puzzle. In Jim Kwik’s book, Limitless, he refers to the three puzzle pieces as motivation, mindset and method. We want to make sure we have all three of these in order to succeed.

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