Motivation and willpower alone won't get you there!
Why is it that so many of us start a new project or goal and fail to follow through with it long-term, why are so many dreams unrealized and left in the backrooms of our minds just waiting to be brought out to shine, why do we waste time waiting for motivation and willpower to come along and give us the push we are waiting for?
At the beginning of 2018 so many of us will take on another set of New Year's resolutions, the most popular ones being to lose weight and eat more healthy and by the end of February/March most of our gym memberships are unused our eating habits have gone back to our old ways and our weight remains unaltered? Why is it that some people can take on the same things that we have failed at and succeed immensely at them. Why is it that some people can crush all projects, that some people appear inspired and motivated to succeed and do succeed, what is the difference that makes the difference for these people? I believe have the answer!
You see, motivation and willpower alone won't get you there, because as we all know motivation and willpower can and does fade in the cold light of day when at 5.30am in the morning the snooze button is easier to hit than getting out of bed and putting our gym gear on, or hitting the books, or working on our projects, or at the end of a long day it is easier not to prepare that healthy meal and buy take-out on the way home and then spend the next two hours binge watching on Netflix!
The answer I believe is taking time to elicit our deepest most profound life values and "why's" in the major areas of our lives; health, wealth, spirituality, relationships, personal growth, and once we have these values, our highest values and intentions for our lives, we can then begin to live our lives from and through these.
If we are not clear on our Values, then our mind WILL fill the void we have created with everything and anything it finds in others and the external world. Let me say that again… If you have not consciously decided who you are and want to be, if you do not know what your Life Values are then you are completely at the whim and mercy of the external world. Personally that scares me!
The good news is that once we begin living our lives from our values, we give ourselves a deeper sense of meaning and worth, we put more value on ourselves and as a by product of that we can use our values to overcome the times when our motivation and willpower has waned and the snooze button is looking like a great option!
How does this work? Taking the time to elicit our values gives us a connection to our Why, the real reason behind our goals and best intentions. Let me explain - My personal value for health and fitness is not based on purely maintaining a certain weight, it is based on values far deeper than just a number, it is deeply rooted in other things such as; maintaining peak fitness so I can enjoy time with my children, time trekking the Himalayas and doing all the activities I love and that give me meaning, maintaining peak health and fitness as I approach 50 and beyond, and maintaining the health of my mind as well as my body (and body and mind are deeply interconnected!).
All of these things are my WHY, the deepest reasons for wanting to be fit and healthy in body and mind, and because I have made my values based on my WHY, I can override a lack of motivation or willpower and go to the gym today and make that healthy meal. You see, and I tell my clients this all the time, almost every afternoon my mind starts to tell me that I'm tired or I've been to the gym enough this week and deserve a night off, or I am just not feeling motivated and in these moments it would be easy to give in to those feelings, but instead I remind myself of my values regarding my health and fitness, and I remind myself of my true WHY and the lack of motivation simply ceases to matter, I put my gym gear on without a second thought and hit the gym and I've never regretted overriding a lack of motivation when sweating it out in some insane HiiT (High intensity interval Training) class, because there is an incredible joy in knowing you are living your life from your values and your why!
What's even better is that this is repeatable in any and every area of your life that you choose to use it in, just figure out your deepest why, attach some great values to it and reap the rewards!
There is nothing better than living your life from your Values and your deepest WHY, and there is great joy and a wonderful sense of achievement knowing you don't have to wait for motivation to kick in and willpower to sustain you. It is the method I use to overcome a lack of motivation and willpower every time I don't "feel" like doing something... take this article for example, it's 10.23am on New Year's Day 2018 and I really didn't want to sit down and start writing, I thought I could put it off until tomorrow and that would be fine no one would care... except me! So I simply reminded myself of the reasons I write these blogs, and the values I have for writing, and here I am nearly 1000 words in knowing I have lived my values, and that my friends is a great feeling!
Often a mistake we all make is listening to our feelings instead of our values ( I don't feel like...), and we let our feelings in the moment stop us from doing the things we really value, want to do and achieve, instead allow your values and your why to override these feelings and get on with moving forward and experience the new, more helpful feelings that come with living a values based life!
There are many exercises for eliciting your deepest Why and Values that you can do by yourself or with a coach. The key is to decide that you are worth the time it will take to work out what values you have and can adopt, and invest in the most precious thing you own...yourself!
You are worthy and you are worth it, the best project you'll ever work on is yourself... if not now, when?