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Because HAPPINESS is misused. My theory is that Happiness is NOT the POINT of Life; rather, it is a POINTER IN LIFE. And when it comes to making changes, that's what I specialise in at abetterlife-uk.com and http://hertscollegeofhypnosisandnlp.co.uk

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Friday, May 31, 2013

How motivation is linked to happiness and loving your life

Success depends on large helpings of motivation, doesn’t it? Motivation is the inner drive to get on and do something. But do you find that your motivation rises and falls? There are the obvious reasons why this might be expected, like being tired, or bored, or having to do tasks that you don’t particularly like. But motivation can even vary on the average, over time. Is there more to it than meets the eye? Well, quite probably.
The most powerful motivation comes about when we set our sights on rewards that are truly meaningful to us; in other words, our hearts are also set on the outcome. Consider a very topical goal that many of us might say “yes” to, such as becoming significantly fitter and healthier. But what proportion of us will find ourselves out jogging, cycling, or down the gym? Or changing our eating patterns? Very few people ever find the inner motivation consistently to do what it takes to exercise regularly or change their eating habits. Even though we might really “want” the goal.

Several studies have demonstrated that motivation is very tough to create “on demand” – meaning that if a task is not tied to a strong inner personal desire, it will be difficult to continue working toward that task for very long. Going back to our previous example of healthy eating, there are cases where people have struggled for a long time to lead a healthy lifestyle, and are then struck with a serious health problem – such as a heart attack, or cancer. Often they suddenly find that they are able to quit smoking, change their exercise habits, and lose weight. Did motivation suddenly get created? In fact no, it did not. They simply now saw their lifestyle habits as tied to something different that was already important to them – survival!
Motivation comes from two places: (a) fear of loss or avoiding life-harming threats, which can be expressed as “away from” motivation, or (b) or desire for gain or life-enhancement, which can be expressed as “towards” motivation. In other words, like whipping a horse into action with a stick versus tempting it forward with a carrot. Both work in certain circumstances, as long as they are deeply meaningful (ask the horse.)  But more importantly, sticks get you moving, and carrots keep you moving. Sir Ken Robinson, who I introduced you too in an earlier article, talks of being in your “element”, to engage your heart. Setting a goal with only your “head” will not be so effective.

There is another major contributor to motivation problems. Imagine yourself being chased by a bully as a kid (a “stick” motivator); once you got away, did you keep running? No, at least not anything like as fast. There’s the core limitation to stick motivators; they collapse at some point. They may repeat, causing motivation cycles of boom and bust, or feast followed by famine. Stick motivators are very common. They may be set consciously, but very often they hide in the depths of the mind, out of awareness. They might take the form of the dread of financial insecurity, or the need to prove oneself, or the push for recognition. In relationships they might be the fear of being alone, or the need to be loved or appreciated. Same problem – boom and bust cycles. What can you do about them? Well, you can begin by asking yourself, honestly, “why do I do what I do? And, why is it important to me?” in connection with any goal you seek. 

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