We were asked to give a Wellness talk on last month to a brilliantly raucous group of Supermarket management staff.
The Q&A session at the end was, as usual, the best bit – we were in actual tears of laughter at one point (who knew that you could get an entire room of smartly dressed people to stand on their chairs in home made paper hats within an hour of meeting them).
The first two questions were corkers
1) “What are your Superpowers, ladies?”
2) “What are your best tips for staying motivated”
Breaking difficult things down into manageable pieces
Breaking your motivation down into manageable pieces
So let’s look at that..
Motivation has 3 forces in play: I Want, I Will and I Won’t.
Rather than taking on everything at once, the secret is to exercise your motivation muscle in each of the areas by taking baby steps.
Your long term goal – your main objective.
e.g. Running a Marathon, Learning a Language, Eating healthily… even Moving to Spain
Plan so every little ‘I WILL’ success takes you closer to your ‘I WANT’.
Set yourself challenges so every tiny ‘I WON’T’ triumph bats an obstacle out of your way.
…things you want to do MORE of
(e.g. Take up Running)
Flex your willpower muscle.
Briskly walk / Jog to the end of the road and back every other day.
Tip 1: Take it a lamp post at a time and stay within your comfort level.
Even if it feels as though you could do much more, the more important thing is you are building the habit.
When you’re ready – go a lamp post further. Then another one.
Recording and celebrating every seemingly tiny success reinforces the neural pathways associated with success. You will stay on track and achieve more than you ever would have done with the all-or-nothing approach. You literally rewire your brain to become naturally motivated.
…things you want to STOP doing
(e.g. ‘Every Evening’ chocolate)
So here you can be a little more hardcore – but with a baby steps approach.
Tip 1: Don’t ban chocolate! There is no quicker way to become obsessed with and deify something than denying yourself access.
If you buy a bar, break it in half. Put one half in a clear jar so you can see it. Put the rest in the freezer.
Each time you walk past the chocolate in the jar you build up your ‘I Won’t’ willpower muscle.
If you really have done enough – choose to break off a chunk in the freezer (it’s hard to eat a lot of frozen chocolate)
Congratulate yourself each time you walk past the jar.
Can you get through an hour? Two? An evening? An evening with some left in the freezer? All of it?
It seems like a crazy exercise, but once you learn that you CAN resist things and that you ARE in control – the game changes. When you don’t eat the chocolate – it’s because you have built up the motivation to choose not to. You always could have made the other choice at any point. Build up this muscle and very soon you will never have to ban anything – you’ll be able to have a little – enjoy it – and feel great about it.
By gamifying your challenges and building manageable progress – you can easily master your motivation,
No massive statements of intent.
There is no failure.
Just kindly getting yourself to where you want to be.
And if you see one of the managers at the supermarket with a homemade paper hat on – say hello to them from us.
Have a great day
Tanya & Claire