Finding and Keeping your Motivation
I have to start by apologizing for my long hiatus. Frankly, I have not been placing this site very high on my priorities list for many reasons: MCAT preparation, going to the gym, learning guitar, chillin', etc. From now on, my posting will be much more frequent and regular as I am placing it much higher on my "to do" list.
What is the number one quality you can improve in order to perform better? Well, if you read the title you’ll know what I’m going to say: Motivation.
I find – and I know many of you are the same – that continuing to work can be very difficult. However, once you are working, you can get into a flow that feels fantastic. Ay, here’s the rub: If we can’t get started in the first place, how can we get into that flow?
The trick is to find out how you think and use that knowledge to find what will drive you.
Allow me to clarify with a little question. Assuming that you don’t adore cleaning your room, which of the following would motivate you to clean it:
a) The fear that I will come over to your house and kick your gonads (testicles/ovaries) into oblivion.
b) The incentive of 100 dollars for your efforts.
While you may prefer one to another (which you should keep in mind), I will assume both will put a spark in you. We can use this to our advantage.
These basically fall in two categories: toward and away from. (This is an idea from Neurolinguistic Programming, NLP.) While I am a big proponent of positive thinking, ignoring your specific idiosyncrasies (tendencies) and problems is not realistic.
Acknowledging this, in motivating yourself you can start with an away from motivator, then quickly follow it with a toward motivator.
I will use myself and studying for the MCAT (basically, a medical college entrance test) as an example. I find the idea of my not being accepted into any medical school to be quite frightening. As well, the idea that my peers will decisively out score me also makes me uncomfortable (as petty as that is). Since I want to move away from these outcomes, I am motivated to study.
The idea of getting a freakishly high score is very gratifying and will give me a tremendous sense of accomplishment afterwards. This outcome pulls me towards studying hard for this test.
So when I talk to myself to get/keep myself going (as I frequently do), I say something like, "It is time to study. I will not stand for rejection from any medical schools. I can see myself reaching astronomical new heights in MCAT scores."
While this may be a little much (which is good), you get the point.
Once you have sufficiently motivated yourself, it is important to start working right away while you have the energy. Constantly engage in this kinetic self-talk, it will work wonders.
So get to it! Find which one works better for you (toward or away from motivators) and then use both to their fullest. Block off that time to work hard. No interruptions! (Move if you have to) And work, work, work! Once you reach the end, you’ll be glad your newly found motivation kicked in at the perfect time.
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