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Norton: Getting motivated, staying motivated

One question that I seem to be getting more of these days is around motivation. Not only are people asking how to get motivated, but they are also asking how they can stay motivated.

“People often say that motivation doesn’t really last. Well neither does bathing, that’s why we recommend it daily,” Zig Ziglar said.

Ziglar certainly knew a lot about how to motivate us and more importantly how to keep us motivated. And he would also be the first one to remind us that motivation is temporary unless it is coupled with action. It is one thing to be motivated about setting a goal or getting inspired by the thought of a new project, and it is something completely different in taking the actions necessary to achieve our goals or complete our projects.

Sometimes we can use a motivated mindset as the spark that leads us to take the actions necessary for our productivity or success. For some of us, this is how we are wired. When we are feeling good and life is better than good, finding sources of motivation is easy, our creativity is inspired, we are filled with hope, and we end up crushing our tasks and to-do lists. When we are feeling motivated, we may exercise a little longer and push a little harder. When we are feeling motivated, we may make better choices in what we do, what we eat and how we treat our bodies.

But what happens when we aren’t feeling so good, or when life isn’t going quite the way we want it to be going? What happens when we really don’t feel like exercising, going to work or staying on our eating plan? And let’s face it, we all have those days from time to time, don’t we? Again, for some of us, we can adjust our thinking, fill our minds with powerful and positive thoughts, and motivate ourselves to get after whatever it is that needs getting after. We can turn on a song that gets us fired up. We can listen to a motivational talk or read an inspiring book or quote. For many others, it’s just not that simple.

Motivated behavior happens when we are first motivated by behavior. David Sandler and many other experts have written and spoken about doing the behaviors even when we don’t feel like doing them. Sandler said it this way, “It’s not how you feel that determines how you act. It’s how you act that determines how you feel.”

How many of us have had the experience of not feeling like getting our workout in, but after the first few minutes on the treadmill, we were fired up to keep going. For those of us in the profession of selling, we have all had those moments or days when we knew that we needed to prospect but we just didn’t feel like it. And when we don’t feel like prospecting, we can easily become demotivated, talking ourselves right out of picking up the phone. But knowing our career and income depend on prospecting, we start doing the behavior, and once we begin it’s almost impossible to stop us.

Even the act of picking up a motivational book and choosing to read it is doing a behavior. Spending a few minutes to think about what motivates us is a behavior. Selecting our most energizing song and pushing play is a behavior. This underscores that motivated behavior happens when we are first motivated by behavior. And once we become committed to doing the behaviors that will motivate us the most, layering in some form of daily motivation as Ziglar mentions in his quote above, it will help us along our journey of becoming motivated and staying motivated.

How about you? Are you in search of how to get or stay motivated? Are you doing the behaviors whether you feel like it or not? I would love to hear your story at mnorton@tramazing.com and when we combine our behaviors with our motivation, it really will be a better than good week.

Michael Norton is the grateful CEO of Tramazing.com, a personal and professional coach and a consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator to businesses of all sizes.


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