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zen habits: Top 20 Motivation Hacks - #8

Friday, February 9, 2007

Top 20 Motivation Hacks - #8

Quick intro: I first intended this Top 20 list to be in a single post, but I decided that breaking them into separate posts would allow me to concentrate on each a little more. So, I present my list of the Top 20 Motivation Hacks.

A number of people have commented that I must be dedicated to achieve some of the goals I'm going for: exercise, frugality, organization, healthy eating, etc. Well, I don't believe in someone being naturally "dedicated" ... it's all a matter of motivation. You can achieve anything if you motivate yourself enough.

Motivation Hack #8: Have powerful reasons. Write them down.

When I decided to quit smoking (well, the last time I decided ... I'd tried and failed several times before) , I realized that I needed a better reason than just "it's good for my health" or "I want to prove that I can" .. so I found my real reasons: I wanted to do it for my kids and my wife. I wanted to live long enough to see all my kids grow up and have kids of their own, and play with those grandkids in good health. I was also worried about my kids growing up to be smokers ... most people who smoke had parents who smoked. I didn't want that to happen to them. Finally, I was worried about my wife's health. I wanted her to quit, and she had temporarily while pregnant, but I knew that if I didn't quit for good before she gave birth that she'd immediately go back to smoking. She had every time before.

So I had some powerful reasons to quit, and I wrote these down. Even more, I took it a step further: I made a solemn promise to my oldest daughter, Chloe, that I would quit I told her that even if I failed, I would try again, and keep trying, until I was successful. Finally, I made a commitment and promise to my wife that I would quit, and got her to promise tht she would stay quit even after giving birth. It was a deal. We would not back out of it.

Now, when I was going through my quit, there were many times when I wanted to give in. But one of the things that kept me going was the promises I had made, and the powerful reasons I had written down. I ekpt those reasons in my mind as I went through the tough times, and they sustained me, and kept me going.

This can work with any goal. Know your reasons. Give them some thought ... and write them down. Working out to lose weight isn't enough. Most people who do this will give in. Have more powerful reasons. Those who exercise because their doctor tells them that they will die if they don't exercise ... they have a pretty good reason to exercise. And they usually stick to it. They know their reasons, and they are powerful ones.

Think about your goals. What are your reasons? If you have loved ones, and you are doing it for them, that is more powerful than just doing it for self-interest. Doing it for yourself is good too, but you should do it for something that you REALLY REALLY want to happen, for really good reasons.

Write them down. Post them up. Keep them in mind every time you get the urge to give up, or your interest flags.

Top 20


Rise said...

You hit the nail. One of my friend applied similar approach to quit smoking couple of years back. And I use it to overcome procrastination - finding strong reasons not to procrastinate and finish the tasks at hand one at a time.

Leo said...

Hi Rise ... great comment! Great to hear about your procrastination. Feel free to share a little more about that ... I'd love to hear it.