The Source for Maximum Motivation
Every week I get emails from people asking how to overcome
procrastination and stay motivated. My sense is that they
are opposite sides of the same coin.
Procrastination is, basically, avoiding something we don't
want to do. Rationally, I may want the benefits an action
could bring, but if I also fear embarrassment or
discomfort, I procrastinate. It's a way to cope with
situations where we both want and fear a possible outcome,
so I view it as a form of negative motivation. When I
procrastinate, it simply means that, at some level, I'm
motivated to avoid a situation.
There are many forms of negative motivation. Laziness is
the desire to maximize temporary comfort above all else.
Fear of failure or punishment can motivate people for brief
periods, but it's not efficient in the long run. Artificial
deadlines, contests and "motivational seminars" are
adrenaline-based ways to boost performance, and to some
degree, they all work.
But they are not a firm foundation upon which to build a
life. Negative motivation works in an emergency, but not
for a lifetime.
Positive motivation, on the other hand, is value-driven and
much more efficient. When I'm motivated by a positive
vision, a sense of destiny or desire, my behavior, thoughts
and attitudes are all pointed in the same direction.
When there is consistency between our values (love of
family) and our stated goals (being a good parent), and we
have a clear strategy to achieve the goal (parenting books
or classes, good models from our own parents, etc), taking
action is not difficult.
When our values, our goals and our strategies are aligned,
human beings are incredibly productive! Want examples? Ask
any kid learning to walk, or wanting to stay up past her
bed-time. Ask a teenager who wants to make the team or
date someone her parents don't like. When our values, our
goals, and our strategies are aligned, we get things done!
It's only when these things are out of alignment that we
struggle. When one of my key values (to spend more time as
a family) conflicts with my goals (to get that promotion),
or when I don't have a viable strategy, I get in trouble.
Without an effective strategy, why try?
To achieve more, start by checking your core values. Many
people get in trouble at this point. We say we value
ambition, but we actually value vacations or relaxation
even more. Or, here's a common example--most people say
they value a comfortable retirement, but they actually
value the pleasure of a new car or eating out even more.
To increase motivation, start with a rigorous examination
of your core values. What is most IMPORTANT to you?
Second, make sure your daily actions and the small goals
of daily life actually reflect your values. Ask most adults
to list their five- or ten-year goals and they'll sound
pretty good. But ask them to list their daily projects or
their plans for the weekend, and you may see a conflict.
Make sure your value of financial security is reflected on
your monthly credit card statement.
Third, always work with tried-and-true strategies, and
remember that "hope is not a strategy." Have a plan, and
work your plan. Make an action list or create a "road map."
And here’s a hint: Most ambitious people know they should
have written goals, but not as many take the time to
develop a great strategy. Have a solid, workable and
To achieve more, make sure your core values, your short-
term goals and your daily strategies are aligned. Make sure
you can say, "day by day, I’m getting better and better."
When your daily actions accurately reflect your priorities
and your core values, and you have a solid strategy, you'll
win every time.
Dr Humbert is a Success Strategist, author and popular speaker. Imagine what's possible! To inquire about having him speak to your group or organization, or to schedule an initial coaching consultation, contact him
or visit his site at Philip Humbert.com