Did you know that motivation requires more than just clarity? What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning? It is not always your day job’s priorities and riveting vision, is it?
Maybe you work for yourself, and you do have a clear vision that is in alignment between your head and your heart, and that is definitely a starting point. However, we cannot rely whole-heartedly on one thing to motivate us all 24 hours of the day.
The truth behind motivation is that there are three key factors that help boost our ability to follow through with a particular task and overcome resistance to change. While there are many versions of this theory, with contributions from various psychologists, the one that stands out is Beckhard’s formula for change. As he is not the true founder of the theorem, you will also find similar theories for change and motivation by Dannemiller.
History aside, the works of these psychologists has created a foundation for helping people like you and me foster motivation when it matters most. Maybe, just sometimes, change can be difficult, and we can use this work to brain-hack our way to success.
What they suggest is this: vision is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to motivation. You need to also be dissatisfied with the current state of affairs. This may sound easy, but if you are not unhappy enough, why change at all? If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right? On top of that, being able to break down your vision to the first step you need to take is the third priority. How can you take action if you don’t know what action to take? That is why this third step is absolutely critical. Only when you have all three will you be able to overcome resistance to change fully.
You may have heard similar things with regard to, “Eating the Frog,” a popular book about procrastination, and this is exactly one of the things that they are doing. The reason why successful people complete tasks from their checklist is because they have found a way to clarify their vision (why the task is important), understand what will happen if they do not do it (increase their dissatisfaction with the status quo), and know the exact first step required in order to make it happen.
You can do this too. Enhance any of the three multipliers, and get ready to see your motivation increase. Let’s use an example: don’t want to clean the kitchen? Follow the steps below and get your cleaning supplies ready.
Step 1: Amplify your vision.
What might your kitchen look like if you cleaned it every day, just a little bit? Perhaps you would always be prepared for drop-ins and have a better social life. Your vision might be to have more counter space and have that warm fuzzy feeling when you glance at your glowing countertops. Attach yourself to your vision using auditory, kinesthetic, emotional, or visual cues. This could be the way the counter feels when you graze your hand over its clean surface. Seriously, whatever turns your crank with this one.
Step 2: Increase your dissatisfaction.
Think about the way your kitchen looks now, or how it might look later if you do not complete the task. Remind yourself what might happen if your neighbours pop by for a glass of wine and witness your state of disarray. Worry about how the crud might get so thick that the stainless-steel tap might never look the same again. Build up how dissatisfied you are with letting it be. Once again, this can be a visualization exercise, or a list of what dissatisfies you with the situation. Choose what works best for you to increase dissatisfaction.
Step 3: Take the first step.
I believe this third and final step to be the most important. The phrase, “I’ve bitten off more than I can chew,” is the perfect example. If you take a leap instead of a step, what do you think might happen? You lose your footing and fall flat on your face, of course (okay, maybe you have cat like reflexes, but some of us are pretty clumsy).
The point being, if you make the first step super easy and maybe even fun, like organizing the magnets on the fridge, you are more likely to keep up the momentum. Instead of tackling the entire kitchen, start with the most reasonable first step. It might be organizing your cleaning supplies, or moving the pots and pans into the dishwasher. Whatever it is, make sure the first step is so simple and easy that it would be ridiculous to NOT do it. This way, you build the momentum required to overcome resistance to change even more so.
You can honestly apply this formula to any task. Whether it’s work-related or personal, eat the frog, and foster your motivation with this simple formula: dissatisfaction, vision, and your first steps might just help you overcome all of life’s inconvenient tasks.