Let’s talk about the top 2 ways to get motivated to change your life, inspired by this question from a dear reader:
“I really like the idea of imagining my ideal day. But I have a question. While I want to work towards my ideal ideal day, should I also be working on my ideal ‘for now’ day? My life is so far gone that I am living in my daughter’s room at my ex-husband’s home and I am so unmotivated to get out that I barely work enough to even pay my bills/go grocery shopping etc, let alone to save up to move out. So ideally I would like to start working enough to GET OUT. But all of that is so far removed from what I REALLY want my day to look that I am having a hard time trying to decide which one I should start working on, the ideal for now or the ideal ideal.”
In case you are new around here, the reader is referring to this post where I described the “ideal day” exercise as a way to figure out what you want to do with your life.
I think the answer to the reader’s question lies in motivation. Or more specifically, what exactly will get you motivated to change your life?
Top 2 Ways To Get Motivated To Change Your Life
Motivator #1: You Need To Really Want Whatever You Are After
Motivation comes from really wanting something. Like REALLY.
Let’s say you weigh 300 pounds. Are you going to be motivated to lose weight by a vision of yourself weighing 290 pounds?
Let’s say you are a couch potato. Are you going to be motivated to get in shape by a vision of yourself being able to shuffle around the block?
Let’s say you rate your current career a 0 out of 10. Are you going to be motivated to do everything you need to do to change careers by a vision of yourself in a career that you would rate 3 out of 10?
No, no, and no.
Let’s say you are a free spirit artistic type, but your family is pressuring you to get a “good job with a secure paycheck”. Are you going to be motivated to get an MBA and climb the corporate ladder when all your brain wants is a canvas and paint?
Let’s say you are a highly sensitive introvert, but your friends are telling you to “get out of your shell and socialize more”. Are you going to be motivated to turn yourself into a social butterfly when all your brain wants is some goddamn peace and quiet?
That would be another double no.
Change is hard. Establishing new habits and routines is hard. Overcoming obstacles that stand in your way is hard.
You are not going to be motivated to endure the hard if you are:
- Going after some watered down “reasonable” goal that you are not that excited about.
- Going after a goal that is totally boring and not the least bit challenging.
- Going after what you “should” want as defined by other people rather than what YOU want deep down if you get really honest with yourself.
Whether you set a goal that is as ideal as ideal can get or 90% of the ideal or 80% of the ideal, doesn’t really matter. What matters is that the goal is good enough for you to actually want it. Good enough for you to want it BAD.
To have the motivation to endure the hard and overcome the obstacles, you have to REALLY want the outcome. You have to want it so bad that you can’t really picture your life without it. You have to want it so bad that it lights a mighty fire under your ass.
You have to want it so bad that when you are curled up in a fetal position bawling your eyes out because this or that obstacle has beat you down, you will push yourself to get back out of bed, wipe the snot off your shirt, and try again. Because you want it THAT bad and nothing is going to stop you.
Motivator #2: You Need To Know What The First Doable Step Is. And Then The Next.
With that being said… 😉
Awesome, exciting goals that set your soul on fire can be so big that they seem like a pipe dream. They can be so far removed from your current reality as to seem outright impossible.
The road to your ultimate ideal may look so long and twisty and complicated that the mere thought of it fills you with self doubt and kills your motivation.
You are not going to be motivated to get started on that long and twisty road if you are:
- Terrified of failing.
- Facing burn-out by trying to take on more than is sustainable.
- Unclear about what exactly you need to do.
This is where baby steps and intermediate goals come in. You start with baby steps – tiny changes – in the right direction. You don’t need to have the whole journey planned out in advance. You just need to take the first step.
Make the first step small enough that you KNOW you can do it. With that first step, you gain confidence to take the next one. And the next.
When you don’t know what the next step is, you google it. Or ask someone. Or buy a book.
And you keep moving. Slowly but surely. Until you reach your goal.
So at all times, keep your eye on the grand prize – keep the dream of the ultimate ideal alive – because it will be the fuel that keeps you going. But realize that the ultimate ideal is many baby steps and many intermediate goals away. Some of those baby steps and intermediate goals may not be that exciting, but anything that takes you closer to your goal counts.
Two-hundred and ninety pounds might be the first milestone on the journey from 300 to 150.
Shuffeling around the block might be the first training session that ultimately leads to a half marathon.
A 3 out of 10 career might be a stepping stone to a 9 out of 10 career.
Moving out of your ex-husband’s house (whatever it takes!) might be the first component of realizing your vision of yourself as a strong, independent woman.
Big dreams. Small steps.
One foot in front of the other.
You will get there. 🙂
OTHER ARTICLES YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN: