This Provision summarizes and concludes our series on motivation. How can we sustain our motivation over the long haul? How can we enhance the quality of our lives? In this issue we highlight all ten strategies in easy-to-understand, easy-to-adopt, laser-like fashion.
As you read this, I will be on my way to Rome, Italy and Nicosia, Cyprus. That’s why Provisions is coming out three days early. The next issue will come out on Monday, April 1 (no fooling) and the lead article will be written by Christina Ray of the LifeTrek coaching staff.
Christina, who has a background in HR and whose coach training comes from the Coach Training Institute, will be offering the first of our free monthly teleclasses, specifically designed for the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. I won’t spoil her subject by announcing it ahead of time • but I’m sure many of you will want to sign up for the class. There will be three one-hour telephone conference-call type sessions during the month of April.
For this issue I want to recap the series on motivation that we have been following since the start of the year. Doing so assists me to see where we’ve come and what we’ve learned. The process of writing Provisions is a fascinating one. I do not have every issue of every series planned out ahead of time. If you had asked me at the start of this series, “What are the ten ways to stay motivated for life?” I could not have told you. I discover them as I go through the process of identifying a topic, researching the material, and writing out my thoughts. Before you know it, the series is over.
Sometimes I don’t know what the focus will be until the night before the issue comes out. Take last week as an example. I had to decide upon the tenth way to stay motivated for life and I was having trouble. So I took some books to bed, read a few chapters, thought for a while, and went to sleep. When I woke up, the Provision was there. In one hour, I had most of it written. It was actually very exciting; the process moved me forward in my thinking. Provisions are gifts. I’m not sure where they come from. I’m just glad they come.
Since the start of this series, Ten Ways to Get Motivated for Life, I have enjoyed the double meaning of the title. The title implies both that there are ways to sustain motivation over the long haul and that there are ways to enhance life through motivation. A day without motivation is a day without life. We may not die physically, but when the fire goes out in our belly there’s not much reason to live. Motivation makes life come alive and changes everything for the better.
So how did we suggest that we get and stay motivated for life? Here are the ten ways, from start to finish:
1. Trip Over Your Dreams. I started out the series by encouraging you to modify your environment in order to support your motivation. Want to ride your bike every day? Put it in the front hall (don’t hide it in the basement). Want to lose weight? Donate your food to a food pantry and start over (with just the right amount and types of food in your house). Make your environment work for you (not the other way around).
2. Stop Trying. This Provision was counterintuitive. Want to get motivated? Stop trying. Either do it, or give it up. The experience of mentally trying to do something without actually doing it depletes one’s confidence, energy, and resolve. Embracing what you are actually doing as that which you are motivated to do can get you into the swing of life.
3. Have Fun. This Provision was obvious. It’s motivating to have fun. So identify the things you enjoy and do them regularly. The care and feeding of what some call your “inner child,” the playful part of yourself, can make a huge difference in how you get through the day.
4. Share the Joy. Most people have more fun • and more motivation • when they connect with others. There’s nothing more motivating than knowing that people are waiting for you to go for a run or work on a project. Get connected with people who have similar interests, commitments, or values. Build your relational networks. The motivation will follow.
5. Experiment. People have an inherent desire to learn. We are learning machines. When we stop learning we stop living and we lose motivation. One great way to learn is to treat your life as a science experiment. You don’t have to know the outcome before your conduct the experiment. Make a guess, test it, and see what comes in the laboratory of life.
6. Reframe the Problem. One reason that we lose motivation is that we get overwhelmed and discouraged by the enormity and nature of our problems. It’s possible, however, to reframe those problems as exciting challenges or manageable projects. We get new motivation when we reframe the problem.
7. Get Good Feedback. Good feedback is timely and welcome. It is not negative and judgmental. It does not irritate or nag. It gives us the information we need, when we need it, in a form we can receive. To stay motivated for life, eliminate the feedback loops in your life that do more harm than good.
8. Face the Music. Having just said that good feedback is timely and welcome, it’s also true that sometimes people have to face hard truths, and even hit bottom, before they get motivated to change. It’s hard to go through such disillusionment, but sometimes there’s no better way to get motivated than to face the music about ourselves.
9. Write it Down. It’s amazing how motivating it can be to write things down. Committing your needs, wants, and values to writing can propel you forward. It can make fuzzy things clear and ordinary things exciting. Whether you publish a weekly newsletter or keep a personal journal, writing is important to life.
10. Express Your Values. There’s nothing worse than for your life to be out of sync with your values. It saps the life out of life. Other animals have needs and wants. Only humans have values. Values can motivate people like nothing else can. When values are clear and specific, motivation will not be far behind.
These ten strategies are definitely Provisions for the trek of life. The next time you feel your motivation flagging, take out this list to see what you’re missing. Pick one and practice it for a week. Before you know it, your motivation will have returned and your life will be better.
To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.
LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)
Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.
I just downloaded your site to my Palm today and am “catching up” on the last five articles. I am a gadget hack. So it was easy to go buy a pedometer this evening; and I will use it to do my walking tonight. I will also put on my Walkman and listen to my favorite classical music. Thanks for reminding me of the motivating effect of my gadgets and that I can wrap that AND my health “chores” into one enjoyable experience!
Sorry to unsubscribe. You have some good information it’s just too long.
I have to unsubscribe but I will sign up again. Thank you for your wonderful service
How could you describe the actions of September 11 as reflecting values? They were despicable acts of no value. (Ed. Note: Values can be positive or negative. One person’s value is another person’s crime. I do not accept the acts of September 11 as positive. They were horrible. I do accept the acts as motivated by the values (rather than the needs and wants) of the perpetrators.)
I especially like your Wellness Pathways. I am enjoying drinking red tea and taking flax seed. However, your tip to “Breathe Deeply” is in exact contradiction of what is stated in the book, “Breathing Free” by Teresa Hale. She states that overbreathing (taking deep breaths and taking in too much oxygen) causes high blood pressure. I have been doing the breathing exercises (shallow breathing and holding my breath after exhaling) described in her book for a month or so. My blood pressure has gone down from an average of 144/75 to 138/72. Her results are documented at her clinic in England as well as a similar clinic in Australia. It is based on the discovery of Professor Konstantin Buteyko and more than forty-five years of practical and empirical research in Russia. (Ed. Note: There is some debate here. For the results of a blind randomized controlled trial, see http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/xmas98/bowler/bowler.html.)
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
President, LifeTrek Coaching International, www.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformation, www.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coaching, www.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a Time, Online Retailers
Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
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Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
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