Motivation Myths Quiz. How do you score?
I recently came across a piece of research by renowned Psychologist Richard Wiseman that you’ll find interesting and helpful. Over a 12-month period, Richard carried out 2 studies of +5,000 people who had set out to achieve a specific goal. There were 10 frequently-sited techniques that people used, all of which you’ll recognise. 5 of the techniques proved beneficial and common to the 10% of people who achieved their goal. 5 techniques proved ineffective.
So, from the list below, which do you think are the beneficial ones and which are the ineffective ones?
1. Make a step-by-step plan.
2. Motivate yourself by focusing on someone you admire for achieving so much
3. Tell other people about your goals
4. Think about the bad things that will happen if you don’t achieve your goal
5. Think about the good things that will happen if you achieve your goal
6. Try to suppress unhelpful thoughts
7. Reward yourself for making progress towards your goal
8. Rely on will power
9. Record your progress
10. Visualise how your life will be when you achieve your goal
(When reading the answers, it’s not important whether you agree or disagree. The key question is, is this helpful or unhelpful? If it’s unhelpful, let it go. If it’s helpful, consider incorporating into your goal-setting.)
Breaking big goals in to a series of smaller sub-goals is vital. Keep breaking your goals down until they become do-able for you. A very achievable quick, first-step gets the project moving and with each subsequent step, momentum and confidence builds. And write the steps down – writing is powerful. A large goal can be so daunting that it causes paralysis.
Focusing on a role model was common to those people who didn’t achieve their goal.
Sharing goals did work. There seems to be 2 elements to this. Accountability increases when other people know about your intentions. And support – family, friends and colleagues will want to support you in your endeavours. We tend to achieve more with the support of those around us. (As a business coach, I know that simply turning up every week is often sufficient ‘motivation’ for actions to have been completed!)
Dwelling on the negative consequences of not achieving a goal does not work. However, have a checklist of the positive benefits of achieving a goal does, especially if it is referred to regularly. At our planning sessions we use a simple tool called What, Why, How. Before moving beyond the ‘what’, we ask attendees to list out at least 10 ‘whys’. Without a list of powerful, positive ‘whys’, don’t go any further – you won’t achieve your goal. And write them down – writing is powerful – and refer to them regularly.
If you try not to dwell on negative thoughts, you will! It’s that ‘don’t think of a pink elephant’ syndrome. Fighting thoughts only makes them stronger. Far better to accept them and distract yourself by doing something else. If you anticipate having unhelpful thoughts, think ahead and decide how you’ll ‘distract’ your mind when they occur. When you have a negative though, perhaps get your list of goal-achievement benefits out of your wallet and read them to yourself.
Rewards for achieving your sub-goals along the way work. They don’t have to be large – they can be as simple as making yourself a cup of tea when you’ve written that blog. Or going to the cinema when you’ve posted that job advertisement.
Will power just isn’t sufficient by itself. You need to be more strategic than that and combine other factors that work in your favour.
Writing, typing and drawing works. Keeping a journal or charting progress on a graph or having a daily activity monitor works. At our planning workshops we encourage people to identify the key measures they’ll monitor along the way. Well-written, specific goals, measurable steps and time-targets are essential.
Focusing on how life will be when we achieve our goal doesn’t work. It tends to create a future reality that dissuades us from taking the activity steps that will move us towards our goal. A visualised goal tends to give us the impression that the goal has already been achieved – so we don’t need to do anything. Having a clear picture of the steps we’re going to take does work.
If you want the opportunity to create a simple, effective plan to achieve a specific goal (or just to improve the results in your business) then please consider coming along to one of our ½ day planning sessions on 16th September.