Lots of us start off the year with New Year Resolution goals, and some even make goals randomly throughout the year. However, after a few days or weeks our motivation to attain our goal sometimes starts to lessen, and we may forget how motivated we really were in the beginning, to attain our particular goal. Next comes the Mondayitis sickness, as I like to call it; “hmm, I haven’t worked on my goal much this week, I suppose I should start fresh on Monday as it is now Friday and too far along in the week to possibly make a start”.
Many of you have probably agreed at this point and are thinking, “well, if I’ve put it off until Monday, I’m likely to procrastinate some more and put it off till next Monday anyway”. Right. My response to you is this: if your goal is something you feel strongly about, and you have used the SMART goal system for goal-setting, then you should feel more motivated and determined in terms of taking action towards your goal. You also need to constantly remind yourself of your goal/s, so that you are always conscious of them.
I firmly believe that if you are not truly inspired and internally driven to achieve your goal, you are already set up for failure. For example, if your goal is to lose 3kg in the next 6 months, but you come home each day and eat chips on the couch & don’t workout, you are likely to feel demotivated, and it is clear that you aren’t as motivated to lose weight as you are motivated to engage in sedentary behaviour.
So, it is clear that motivation is key for a goal to become a reality. Now let’s touch on the types of motivation:
is when you participate in a particular behaviour because it is personally rewarding1, rather than gaining an external reward after completing the behaviour e.g. running on a treadmill because you simply enjoy it, or not smoking because you don’t like the smell.
is present when we are motivated to engage in a behaviour to gain a distinct outcome1, such as gaining a reward or avoiding a negative consequence e.g. not smoking to avoid lung cancer, or running on a treadmill to acquire your goal weight.
Determining how motivated you are (and what type of motivation you have) for your self-improvement goal/s is integral at increasing the chance of success of your goal. If you find that you have higher intrinsic motivation for lounging on the couch, and a lower level of extrinsic motivation for acquiring your goal weight, two tips I can offer for increasing your extrinsic motivation are:
1Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations: Classic Definitions and New Directions. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25, 54-67.