Something I always used to struggle with was my motivation. I would have ideas, things I needed to do and a great plan on how to get there but couldn’t find the motivation to actually get it done. I question how many opportunities I’ve missed out on from sheer lack of motivation to follow through on my plans. Websites, business ideas, jobs, books, and so many more. All with excellent plans, all left in the dirt from lack of motivation. In recent times, I’ve got much better. My motivation is on the up and this project is a sign of that. It’s a project I have been planning for years and have now finally started. I’ve learnt a few things about how to get into the right frame of mind and get motivated and will outline them in this article. Motivation is important when taking on a mission to become in control of your finances. Goals don’t last long without motivation to achieve them. High debts can also be demotivating in themselves, so learning how to redirect our emotions and keep on the path is an important part of achieving financial freedom.
Realising the role of emotions
The first important point to make is that emotions play a massive part of our decision-making process. When drawing up plans then, we should take this into account. In a race between thought and emotion the only winner is emotions. As a result, when trying to make a plan and motivate ourselves to achieve it – the process of achieving this lies in restructuring your emotions to lead to motivation.
Happiness = productivity, sadness = procrastination
Procrastination occurs when we are unhappy. It is a process the body goes through to manage our mood. We believe by not working hard when we are unhappy, we will become happy again after the rest. However, this is a short-sighted means of regaining happiness. In the end, you will become unhappy again because you have procrastinated and are behind with your task. The first step is to refocus yourself towards productivity which goes hand in hand with happiness. So, how do you gain happiness from a project, such as your personal finance journey? It all lies in monitoring your progress.
When looking at people’s lives and how they react to hardships, I often see people failing to take responsibility. They like to blame external factors for any problems they encounter and therefore decide that they can not change the issue they are in. This is just not true. Most of the times, you are in control of your situation. Take a step back, review the situation and work out how to go about improving it. Blaming external factors is a surefire way of getting demotivated and will create a feeling that there is no point putting in any effort. You are in control of most situations, especially in personal finance cases. So be sure to take a step back and see what you can do differently and learn from previous mistakes.
The importance of rewards
Rewarding is a good way to make yourself feel better about the work you are doing. Without the rewards, whether natural or prescribed by yourself, it can begin to feel like all the work was for nothing. For some projects the rewards will appear naturally – you will have more money in your account for example. But this might not always happen and might not be rewarding enough. For example, if you are going on a strict savings scheme then the money left might feel like enjoyment forgone. This can be quite depressing and lead you to wonder what the point of it all was. To counter this it can be a good idea to give yourself some rewards to keep you going. Managed to hit a savings budget for a month? Treat yourself to something small that wouldn’t usually come within your budget. Rewarding yourself can act as a tool to motivate yourself and keep you going towards your goals.
You are more likely to succeed on a project and stay motivated if you are not just accountable to yourself but if you are also accountable by your friends. If you find people with the same goals as you, then you can join together and stay focused as a team. If you start slipping, your friends will help you get back on the right path. Also, the peer pressure of failing when your friends succeed will lead you to be motivated towards achieving your goals. Projects are more likely to be a success and you are more likely to stay motivated towards reaching success if you are accountable to other people than just yourself.
To stay properly motivated towards a goal you have, you need to find the right balance of difficulty. Something too easy will demotivate you because it isn’t stimulating and doesn’t seem worthwhile, whereas something too hard will demotivate you as you will find it impossible to achieve. When setting a goal be sure to think about how the target will be achieved and how that target will affect your motivation. It is often a hard middle ground to find and will likely come from experience, but you need to find something that will be just hard enough to push and motivate you.
Exercise and fitness
Studies have long suggested that partaking in exercise will lead to more motivation. It was something I never really believed a few years ago, I put it down to thinking it was just something people said because it sounded good. However, since I have started going to the gym frequently (about 4 times a week for the last 6 or so months) I have found myself a lot more motivated towards general lifestyle improvement. Exercise makes you feel a lot better about yourself and this happiness translates into other avenues of general life and thus can be very useful to improving motivation for any goals you may have.