I've had several conversations recently with women who find themselves struggling to stay focused, stay on task, and keep moving forward with their projects and goals. I can relate to that, specifically when it comes to my efforts to get healthier this year. I thought this would be a good time to talk about getting started and moving forward on what is most important to us.
Motivation and productivity
What is motivation?
When doing my research for this topic, I first looked up the word motivation in the dictionary.
* Noun the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way. "escape can be a strong motivation for travel" [this addresses the question of why you’re doing what you’re doing]
* the general desire or willingness of someone to do something. [this addresses the question of how much you want to do the thing you’re doing] "keep staff up to date and maintain interest and motivation"
Another definition states: “motivation is a condition inside us that desires a change, either in the self or the environment” [from What Is Motivation? A Psychologist Explains] Motivation comes when our current situation, internal or environmental, is uncomfortable enough that we are motivated to do something to change it. This can apply to our health, our relationships, our jobs, or our goals.
Two basic sources of motivation
* Extrinsic (comes from outside): examples would be a trophy, job promotion, or attention from other people.
* Intrinsic (come from inside): this is something we do from the satisfaction of doing it, not from validation from the outside.
One writer explains that motivation has 3 components: activation, persistence, and intensity. As the article put it:
* Activation involves the decision to initiate a behavior.
* Persistence is the continued effort toward a goal even though obstacles may exist.
* Intensity can be seen in the concentration and vigor that goes into pursuing a goal.
These three components can apply to any action, such as the pursuit of a goal, completion of a task or project, development of a habit, or change of a behavior.
Why is it important?
Motivation is important because it's what drives us to act and keep acting.
“simply having the desire to accomplish something is not enough. Achieving such a goal requires the ability to persist through obstacles and endurance to keep going in spite of difficulties.” [from What Is Motivation?]
What interferes with motivation?
Health--even people with health challenges can be highly motivated to take action in pursuit of their goals, but it makes it harder. And, poor health can interfere with our motivation. Choosing to follow a healthy diet can help us maintain the energy and general sense of well-being that can help us press on.
Fatigue--this is also tied to our health. If we don’t eat well, get enough rest, drink enough water, and generally care for our bodies, it’s hard to find motivation to do anything. One note for women: persistent fatigue might have physiological causes (e.g., for me, hypothyroidism). Schedule a check-up with your healthcare provider just to make sure it’s not something that needs medical attention.
Emotions--when we are experiencing strong emotions (especially strong negative emotions,