Motivation, literally, IS the desire to do things. In an
obvious sense, motivation comes from motive or what causes a person to behave
or act in a specific way.
With the ‘lazy days of summer’ here, kids sleep in until
noon and vacations away from work and school take place. More than likely,
post-vacation blues set in and, sometimes, it is a sheer struggle to accomplish
goals and objectives after taking in the beach or mountain air.
So what makes the difference between getting up before dawn
to put in some miles on the bike or devoting the day laying around the house never
hitting the gym or pushing play on the DVD?
Where does that motivation come from?
To answer the question, let’s first address what motivation
Motivation is Not Based on a Feeling
Many people believe motivation equates to an inspiration or
a feeling that spawns action. They tend to wait for THAT feeling to show up
before taking action. This tendency, however, results in a lack of action and
little movement towards goals and objectives.
Think of the person who wants to lose weight. The decision is
made to go to boot camp class at 6:30 in the morning. The promise to a friend
is set to show up. But, when the alarm goes off and the mood reflects dread,
then the motive remains to stay comfortable in bed. Thus, no workout is
accomplished, no movement towards the weight loss is taken, and the friend is
With this example, logically, when the belief that motivation comes from a feeling, the
chosen behavior steers a person to away from the goal to lose weight. Waiting
for that emotion to want to work out usually does not come.
The problem is not with motivation but understanding the
foundation of motivation.
Two Kinds of Motivation
To clarify, motivation is based on goals not a feeling. Two
common types of motivation are extrinsic
motivation and intrinsic motivation.
motivation derives from using external and tangible stimuli such as a trophy,
championship ring, pay raises, time off, a new wardrobe, a trip, or car. Intrinsic motivation; however, comes
from internal factors such as overcoming a challenge, finding out how far the
body can go, impacting people to improve or change, and other intangible
aspects of life.
Key Factor is Knowing
Those that seem to defy laziness tend to keep their purpose
or calling in front of them – an intrinsic
motivation. They have a heart connection to the goal that defies feelings. More
often than not, when a secure intrinsic
resolve remains in place (why they do what they do) action is taken no matter
what the feeling.
With the why in
mind, when the alarm goes off to meet the friend at boot camp, dread may be
felt, but the overriding aspiration to lose weight and keep a commitment to
friend motivates action. Both the extrinsic
motivation of potential pounds lost and the intrinsic
motivation of keeping a commitment yield achievement.
Discipline Helps Improve Motivation
Self-discipline gives the fuel to motivation. Consequently,
possessing discipline becomes a constant battle more so than finding motivation.
Brendon Burchard, author of the Motivation
Manifesto and creator of the High
Performance Academy, says they are four ingredients to mastering
First, Burchard believes emotional engagement leads to focus
on the goal and that arousal level must be consistently in place. Every
morning, he suggests, visualizing the aspiration and ‘get yourself emotional
attached with it; think about how great it will feel to have that thing, or be
that thing, or contribute that thing’ (Burchard, 2016). In essence,
Burchard suggests creating the emotion to go with the ‘why’ of your goal since
the emotion is not often there to start.
Imagery, in fact, according to a recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning
Research, is best used seconds before performing. Runners who visualized
sprinting as fast as possible and setting a new personal record just before
execution performed better than those who visualized three or five minutes ahead
of competition (Asp, 2015).
In contrast, when the heart and mind are disengaged from the
dream, and delay occurs, then it becomes easier to not take steps towards achievement. The desire
for comfort, taking the easy way out, or the busyness of life all distract from
action. When that occurs, it is more difficult to stay disciplined and execute
Second, Burchard says staying in control of the daily chaos
in life is required for achievement. The high performance expert encourages his
clients to be proactive with their schedule rather than reactive to the needs
and requests of others, ‘do your work first, it’s easier to stay disciplined’ (Burchard,
With a weight loss goal, doing the work of exercise in the
morning, eating a clean breakfast, preparing healthy food to take for the day
gets the day off to a good start. Delaying the work towards weight loss and
hoping a time opens up during the day when it can take place, usually means the
work towards weight loss does not happen.
To create control from random action, Burchard indicates
blocking time daily as a third key to remaining disciplined and ultimately
motivated. He recommends purposeful action during specific times and only
taking steps towards those goals during that specific time.
Scheduling what must happen leads to achievement. And,
scheduling does not rely on a feeling but simply a planned time on the calendar
Finally, Burchard encourages finding community, whether
friends or family, to go through the process of achievement. When incremental
goals are met, he recommends talking about it and celebrating those steps. In
this way, he claims, discipline is not just work but fun and satisfying.
The Bottom Line of Motivation
When keeping a dream goal in mind and gaining clarity on why
the goal is worth pursing, then taking action does not require a feeling, it
simply requires action. The feelings of inspiration often come after taking the
When dread hits after the alarm goes off in the morning,
getting up, showing up, and working hard create more motivation towards doing
it again the next day. Each step, each work out, each clean meal leads to
weight loss, better health and longevity, being a role model for the family, a
new wardrobe, and greater energy, focus, and confidence.
Asp, K. (2015, May). Perform at your peak. Oxygen
Magazine, p. 38.
Burchard, B. (2014). The Motivation Manifesto.
Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, Inc.
Burchard, B. (2016, January 17). 4 Ways to Become
More Disciplined . Retrieved from Brendon.com:
Halvorson, H. G. (2011, June 17). The 3 Biggest
Myths about Motivation that Won't Go Away. Retrieved from
The Mind Tools Editorial Team. (2016, June 18). Motivation:
Energizing Your People to Achieve Good Things. Retrieved from