Maybe it’s a millennial thing, but I grew up in a world where we were all told that you can do anything you put your mind to. That anything is possible with a pinch of persistence and a bit of elbow grease! We’re given a lot of grandiose statements without anyone clearly defining exactly what motivation is and why it’s important. Unfortunately, this makes it easy to develop misconceptions about motivation that are harmful to the achievement of our goals. Let’s look at the 3 biggest misconceptions about motivation that make meeting your goals seem impossible and what you can do to start growing your motivation today.
Myth #1: Motivation is something that you either have or don’t have.
And no, it doesn’t magically possess you through a 2-minute motivational video on Youtube where someone tells you to get over your fears while the soundtrack of Superman croons in the background. The kind of motivation that gives you the drive and persistence to accomplish huge goals like mastering an instrument or learning a language doesn’t smack you upside the head one day. Motivation must be consciously sought, grown, and nurtured on a daily basis.
What to do about it: If you want to maintain your motivation, it’s important to gain clarity behind why it is you want to achieve a specific goal. The focus and drive to sit down and practice your instrument every day will grow as you gain clarity about not just what you want, but why you want it. As Jim Rohn said, “reasons come first, answers come second.” Ask yourself the following questions: how will I feel when I finally accomplish this? What will achieving this goal bring me that I don’t already have?
Myth #2: Anything is possible with motivation and hard work.
This is probably the most destructive idea on the list. In school, we’re taught to work hard: we memorize math formulas and crank out mediocre essays that satisfy a rubric. Unfortunately, life doesn’t reward “hard” work: it rewards conscious, forward-moving effort towards our goals. It’s easy to put a lot of “hard” work into something without actually getting closer to our goals; we often end up spinning our wheels and putting a lot of energy into something that doesn’t reap any reward. If you lack the proper knowledge and guidance to move forward effectively, your lack of results will cause your motivation to fizzle out fast.
What to do about it: maintain a “beginner’s mindset” in all that you do. Constantly question your methods and be open and receptive to criticism. The most important step in achieving your goals is to be honest with yourself about what’s working for you and what routines need an overhaul.
Myth #3: Motivation is wanting to do something.
Wanting to accomplish something and actually having the motivation to see it through to the end are two completely different things. There are plenty of things that we want to do but lack the motivation to actually accomplish. This is what makes discovering and growing your motivation so important. When we want something but aren’t taking the right steps to get there efficiently, our motivation dwindles and we start thinking we don’t have what it takes to make it happen.
What to do about it: Set clear goals for yourself and make it easy to evaluate and track your progress. Start with small goals that you know you can achieve: these small daily wins will snowball into a giant pile of motivation over time!
Motivation arises when your reasons for accomplishing something outweigh the reasons to put it off. True motivation, the kind of white-hot desire that pushes us past our limits and into our greatest achievements, is something that grows inside of us as a product of conscious, forward-moving action towards our goals.
What’s something that you do to help build your motivation? Let me know in the comments section below!