In my last post, I talked about the importance of starting small when you take on a new challenge. Why again? If you recall, when you start small you make it hard for yourself to fail and easy to succeed. That keeps your momentum going, which is important because you can build on that as time passes. Just slowly and steadily increase your goal as you’ll have to keep it interesting and challenging enough for yourself. You don’t want to get bored and drop out along the way!
Starting small is an important prerequisite, a box you need to tick off if you like, before you actually start to introduce a new change in your life. In terms of increasing the chance to succeed on your change, one thing is even more important: Asking why. Before you begin to introduce a change you actually need to ask yourself WHY you are bothered in the first place. In reality only 20% of making any change is knowing how; 80% is actually knowing why.
Think about that for a moment. Why do you think some of your friends almost always seem to effortlessly succeed on their goals and ambitions whereas you struggle every single time and eventually have to give up? How’s that? Are you simply lacking in willpower?
No, my dear. I’m afraid that’s absolute nonsense. One of the reasons you probably lost your motivation halfway is that you didn’t light a big enough fire under your backside. Your motivation was fleeting because you didn’t have a big enough reason to stick to your guns so you simply lost interest along the way. You stopped giving a sh*t.
That’s why a powerful enough reason why you actually want to change is absolute key as it provides you a more sustainable and lasting source of energy that you can rely on in the long run and tap into when facing difficult times. Those reasons why have to come from within you. As each of us has a different background, hold different values and beliefs, where we get our true drive and inspiration from is different for you and me if that make sense. Why comes in many different shapes and sizes.
For example, adventure and playfulness are very important values to me. That’s why I derive so much pleasure in coasteering personally. That’s where I can get my energy from. That doesn’t mean you should be excited about that too. Not in the slightest. Someone else might be very creative, social and caring towards others, which could be a good reason to start to crochet. Absolutely fine by me if that works out for you. Go for it. However, whereas the underlying motivation to care about something is different from person to person, what is the same is that motivation is always highly personal and emotional to that individual.
How to figure out your core drives
One way to figure out where you can get your drive and passion from for doing a new activity or starting a habit (there are many more ways if you’re interested) is to look at your so-called core drives. Yu-kai Chou, is an expert in something they call behavioural design. Yu-Kai believes most of your motivation comes from 8 different segments. Here are some examples for 5 of them.
You might have a preference for one drive to another – one or two you can specifically relate to – but a strong enough why is usually a powerful cocktail of these ingredients. Is that making sense? One of those cocktails that go down your throat and think WOW. Yeah buddy, I’m fully awake now. I’m buzzing! Ha.
Practice. Filter out their WHY’s
Here is one final example to get you into gear. You have a choice. You can either watch a 5-minute video of Wubbo Ockels, a Dutch astronaut and professor. He sadly died the day after this video due to incurable kidney cancer. The second option you have is a short story of Steve Jobs. He gave this talk during a Stanford Commencement speech in 2005. You decide. See if you can filter out his ulterior motives or drives (or both if you’re really keen!)
Did you pick out his reasons why? Why did Steve or Wubbo cared?
While the story of Wubbo and Steve might inspired you, in the end it’s all about formulating your own inspirational reasons to make a change. So, what is your story? What’s on your mind at this very moment? What would you like to change, if you could, right now? Why do you care? Why do you want to make that change now and not somewhere in the future? What could it bring you? Think about it and write it down.
If your underlying set of reasons is strong and urgent enough you’ll find the leverage you need and can change in a minute what you’ve failed to change for years. By strong enough I mean that that your reasons need to mean something to you. Each of those reasons you’ve put down should resonate deeply within you. It needs to be emotional and ideally linked to your core values. The stronger the reason resonates within you, the better they can work for you, especially when life gets difficult. By urgent, I mean you need to find reasons that make it imminent you need to change now. Not someday, not tomorrow. Now. It needs a certain sense of urgency to make you feel you need to act immediately.
Time to figure out your WHY’s
So make your WHY as strong and urgent as you possibly can. You need all the firepower you can get to create enough leverage and break through your gates of inertia. Once you reach that leverage point – you’ll feel it once you get there trust me – you’ll be surprised how ready you feel to start and persist. You should hit an emotional threshold. All the reasons are within you, right now. Go find them and do the exercise now and reach out to me if you need a hand.