Is motivation enough?

Many self-help gurus preach that simply being motivated is enough to overcome any obstacles in your life.  If you aren’t reaching your goals, they teach, then you simply aren’t motivated enough.  And, by the way, they have a book to sell you or a class to offer to really ramp up your motivation.  Maybe a week in Fiji walking over hot coals is just what you need.  So, no.  Motivation is not enough.

I am a big fan of motivation.  By no account am I saying that motivation is unimportant or ineffective.  I am saying that motivation alone doesn’t move mountains.  Even mountain size motivation won’t do it.  Most goals that are significant in our lives require effort over longer periods of time.  You don’t launch a business, learn a language or drop those pounds with an intense five day seminar. . . . . at least not if you plan on maintaining or growing your success.

So if not motivation, what helps my clients become successful?  Before I get to that, let’s talk a little about psychology.  You can think of your thought process as having three distinct personalities.  There is the Cool Calculator.  The Cool Calculator sits in your frontal lobe and thinks very rationally about what is best for you.  It weighs cost versus benefit and creates action plans.  The Cool Calculator isn’t bothered by weakness or emotion.  The second player is The Toddler.  The Toddler is emotional.  The Toddler is very much in the moment.  Long range plans or balancing cost and benefit are beneath The Toddler.  It simply wants what it wants and it wants it now.  The third player in your own personal psychosis is The Traditionalist.  The Traditionalist has the easiest job of the three.  The Traditionalist simply responds to every situation by saying, well this is what we have done in the past.  This is what we ALWAYS do.  Every thought you have and every decision you make has a little of each of these three players.  Sometimes the Cool Calculator is a little more powerful.  Sometimes it is The Toddler.  Frequently, especially when you aren’t thinking about the situation very much, it is The Traditionalist.

Each of these personalities respond to different tactics.  The Cool Calculator will respond to determination.  The cold weighing of cause and affect works well for the Cool Calculator.  The Toddler is swayed by motivation.  Big grandiose visions on a dream board can sway even the grumpiest of Toddlers.  The Traditionalist responds to positive habit.  The Traditionalist doesn’t worry about the end game or the results.  All The Traditionalist cares about is what we always do.

Knowing this, craft your goals and action plans to utilize motivation, determination and positive habit together.  Each of these will help a different one of your personalities to move toward the final vision.

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