Cats have taught me a lot about motivation, because it’s so hard to get them to do anything! I’ve been training mine to do tricks for a while now, and what I’ve learned is it’s all about what they feel like doing. If the treat is tasty enough, they’ll hi-five you or jump through hoops... but only if they feel like it, and it benefits them in some way. Much like humans.
“I want freedom for the full expression of my personality”
— Mahatma Gandhi
As adults, responsibilities and limitations often keep us static, but it’s really a state of fear that holds us back from achieving all our goals. Maybe I have a deep rooted fear of being rejected or abandoned, or simply that I’d rather not challenge my emotional comfort. It feels easier, but staying stagnant is remaining in a state of fear. Moving forward with our goals and achieving our dreams is to work towards a state of personal freedom.
Think of the last time you felt unmotivated and stopped working towards something you wanted. Have you already given up on the gym you were so keen on last month, or the dreams of your own business that keep getting put off? Chances are you were acting our of fear by not moving forward, giving up. It can feel like being trapped in a cage, with depression, anxiety and anger resulting. Apathy is also a big symptom of fear; without much purpose it’s easier to just go with the flow. The thing is, if you can recognize that, you can change it.
Motivation is a Choice
Fear only rules me if I let it, and the key to motivation lies in that choice. Motivation is not a result of an impulse, though; it’s not something that just happens without a reason. If I want more motivation in my life, I must make clearer choices and more deeply commit to them.
Step 1: Ask Myself
In order for the motivation to really stick, it’s got to be aligned with my personal freedom; living life freely on my own terms, following my ambitions and passions. Figuring this out can certainly take a while, but I usually know I’m on the right track if the thoughts make me happy and excited. Some questions you might ask yourself to figure out what really lights you up include:
- What do I want for myself?
- What new goal will be meaningful to me?
- What adventure do I dream of?
- What grand pursuit or act of service will get me out of bed each morning, bring me joy and fulfillment?
Step 2: Visualization & Internalization
The more time I spend thinking about my goals, the more I visualize and internalize them, the more I will gain clarity and commitment. Write them down and meditate on each one. Go back the next day and review to make sure they are clear, measurable, and still resonate with my higher aims. I like to take my time with this step because the deeper and longer I give attention to my ambitions and passions, the more I feel motivated.
- Think about it, draw it, dream about it, journal about it, talk about it
- Keep the goals on hand, somewhere I will see them regularly
- Check back on them often, to review and keep them fresh in my mind, see how far I’ve come, and if the goals are still resonating with me
Step 3: Expectancy
In writing my goals and internalizing them, I also need to believe they can come true. Expectancy is the difference between hope and motivation. If I’m not sure I can make the goal happen, if it’s not ringing as true, I may need to adjust the goal to something I can get behind 100%.
- I expect that it will happen no matter what
- I know this because I have faith in myself to make things happen
- Set specific goals right on the edge of my current ability; not too hard that I don’t believe it, but not too easy that I lose interest
My Energy Creates My Reality
What I give my energy, attention, and focus to is what I attract back into my life, so whether I achieve my goals or not really comes down to choice. Happiness is a choice, sadness is a choice, anger is a choice, love is a choice; only I have the freedom to control how my future develops. I am working on training my mind to see the positive, not get hung up on the negative, and I will continue to make a conscious commitment to make positive choices. In time, the the things I want will spiral towards me, attracted by the energy I am already giving off. And for now, I feel positive and motivated to manifest my hopes and dreams, because of the time and effort I’ve put in.