It all started with a romper. Despite being a grown woman, I love me a good romper. Jumpsuits are just as good, and I have a handful of these onesie gems in my dresser drawers waiting for me summer after summer. It was April, the weather was warm, and warm weather means romper season. So, this one particular afternoon, I ran up the stairs to my dresser, flung open the drawers, found my favourite romper and began to pull it up over my thighs to get it on… Except it wouldn't move past my thighs. I pulled the romper off and stood there in the middle of my bedroom examining it. Was I putting it on wrong? All looked good with the romper, so I tried again. And still, it wasn't budging over my thighs. I then realized in shame that after enjoying a month-long honeymoon, celebrating a bit too hard during the holidays and eating my way through Europe, I had gained enough weight that my rompers wouldn't fit. These types of realizations always start that way, don't they? You have no idea that you've gained any weight until your favourite outfit won't fit. This girl needed to get into the gym and out of the kitchen. But, like everyone else who has gained some extra weight, I seriously struggled with motivation. I had a really hard time forcing myself to get to that gym, climb on that treadmill and sweat off that gelato. A few weeks of this struggle went by, until I heard some great advice (I can't remember from whom) to do an exercise in shifting my belief about myself.
How to Motivate Yourself to Achieve Anything You Want
See, we are what we believe we are. If one part of us believes we're lazy people, our psyche works to prove it to ourselves. Same goes for almost anything. This is what the human behaviour community calls “self actualization”.
- If you believe you're a morning person, you'll subconsciously prove it to yourself by being cheerful and energetic when you wake up
- If you believe you're a kind person, you'll prove it to yourself through kind actions
- If you believe you're smart, you'll prove it to yourself by demonstrating your intelligence and taking on projects and challenges that require a high level of intelligence.
When it comes to knowing how to motivate yourself, you probably intuitively knew this all along, but one thing you may have misunderstood is the fact that our beliefs come first. We don't believe things about ourselves because we demonstrate those behaviors or traits. We demonstrate those behaviors or traits because we believe them about ourselves. There are studies that prove that this is the case. Research has shown that people who were told they had a great sleep the night before, even if they slept terribly, were more energetic and reported feeling more well rested. Why do you think the placebo effect is a thing? Anyway. How does this relate back to my story? Well, I was struggling to get the motivation to go to the gym because I've always believed that I'm not somebody who enjoys exercise. I've always put myself into the “runs only when being chased” category. So, armed with this new information, I took a look at my beliefs about who I am as a person, and flipped them. I started telling myself that I was the type of person who loved to be active. I began to tell myself that I'm a strong, fit person who hates missing her gym time. At first, I knew I was just trying to change my behavior by changing my thoughts. But the more I told myself this, the more it became true. Soon, if I felt like skipping the gym, my brain would automatically snap at the devil on my shoulder, saying “you're the type of person who hates skipping the gym”. And so, I'd go. And the funny thing is? I actually love the gym now. I am grumpy and anxious if I have to miss a day. A huge bonus is that I've lost the 15 pounds I've put on over the past year. How does this apply to you? Well…
It's challenge time, baby!
Today's challenge: Pinpoint a goal that you have that you struggle finding the motivation for. Maybe it's weight loss like me, or growing your business, pitching clients, going to networking events – whatever it is, identify that goal and then create a mantra around a belief you need to instill in yourself to get it done. Let's say it's going to meetups and networking events to find your ideal freelancing clients. You have a hard time mustering up the motivation to go to the events. Flip that belief that you hate networking on it's face and start telling yourself: “I love getting to know people in the industry. I'm the type of person who has a huge network and loves to talk shop at events. I thrive on social interaction”. Keep telling yourself this every time you start dragging your heels about going to an event. After you've mastered your mindset in this area, rinse and repeat for other areas of your life you need motivation on.