Motivation: how to acquire and maintain a scientific guide to motivation?

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Motivation: how to acquire and maintain a scientific guide to motivation?

Motivation is a powerful, but tricky beast. Sometimes it’s easy to get in, and you find yourself wrapped up in a whirlwind of excitement. At other times, it is almost impossible to find a way to motivate yourself into a dead spiral of procrastination. This page contains the best ideas and most useful research on how to get and maintain motivation.

This is not some rah-rah, impassioned rhetoric. (this is not my style) instead, we will break the science of how to gain momentum and how to stay motivated for the long term. Whether you’re trying to figure out how to motivate yourself, or how to motivate your team, this page should cover everything you need to know.

You can click the link below to jump to a specific section, or scroll down to read everything. At the end of this page, you’ll find a complete list of all the articles I’ve written about motivation.

One, motivation: what is it, how does it work?

What is motivation?

Common motivation misconceptions.

II. How to get motivated and take action?

Schedule your motivation.

How to gain momentum (even when you don’t like it)

How can motivation become a habit?

III. How to maintain long-term motivation?

How to keep the “goldilocks” rule motivated?

How to achieve peak motivation?

What to do when the motivation disappears?

One, motivation: what is it, how does it work?

Scientists define motivation as a general willingness to do something. This is a series of psychological forces that force you to take action. That’s good, but I think we can come up with a more useful definition of motivation.

What is motivation?

So what is motivation? The author Steven Pressfield has a big line in his book The War of Art, and I think it’s The heart of The motivation. To paraphrase pressfield, “in a way, the pain is greater than the pain of doing it.”

In other words, at some point, it’s easier to change than to stay the same. It’s easier to take action and feel insecure in the gym than to sit still and experience self-loathing on the couch. Sales calls are more likely to be embarrassing than disappointing bank accounts.

I think that’s the nature of motivation. Every choice has a cost, but when we are motivated, it is easier to take action. Somehow, the psychological threshold that we crossed is usually delayed after a week in the face of an impending deadline, and making it even more painful is not doing the job than actually doing it.

Now there is an important question: what can we do to make us more likely to transcend the threshold of this spirit and feel motivated on a consistent basis?

Common motivation misconceptions.

One of the most surprising things about motivation is that it tends to start a new behavior, not before. We have a common misconception that motivation is passive consumption of motivational video or reading self-help books. However, positive inspiration can be a more powerful motivator.

Motivation is often the result of action, not its cause. Even getting started in a very small way is a natural motivator.

I like to call this effect productivity physics, because it’s basically Newton’s first law, used for habit formation: objects in motion tend to keep moving. Once the task starts, it’s easy to move on.

Once you start acting, you don’t need much motivation. Almost all of the task friction is at the beginning. After the start, progress is more natural. In other words, it is often easier to complete a task than to start from scratch.

Therefore, one of the keys to gaining momentum is to make it easy to start.

Before we start talking about how to get started, let’s pause. If you like the motivation of this article, you may find my other writing performance and human behavior useful. Every week, I share my self-improvement tips based on proven scientific research through my free email newsletter.

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II. How to get motivated and take action?

Many people try to find motivation to achieve the goals they want because they waste too much time and energy in other parts of the process. If you want to simply find the motivation and start, it can help automate the early stages of your behavior.

Schedule your motivation.

When I was talking about writing, my friend Sarah Peck looked at me and said, “a lot of people never write because they always want to know what to write next time.” You can say the same thing, starting a business, creating art, forming most of the habits.

If you don’t have time for exercise, you’ll think of it every day, “I wish I had the motivation to exercise today”.

If your business doesn’t have a marketing system, then you’ll be in the job, and through your fingers, you’ll find a way to say (in addition to everything you need to do).

If you don’t have time to write every week, you’ll find yourself saying, “I just need to find the willpower to do it.”

“If you waste resources deciding when and where to work, it will interfere with your ability to work,” concludes an article in the guardian.

It seems easy to set a schedule for yourself, but by giving your goals a time and a place to live, it makes your autonomous driving decisions. Whatever your level of motivation, it makes you more likely to follow. And there is a lot of research and research on willpower and motivation to support that claim.

Stop waiting for motivation or inspiration to hit you and set a schedule for your habits. This is the difference between professionals and amateurs. Professionals set a timetable and stick to it. Amateurs wait until they feel inspired or motivated.

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