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The Motivation Machine: How to Get & Stay Motivated for Any Goal - Nat Eliason

Parkinson's Law

It states that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

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The Motivation Machine: How to Get & Stay Motivated for Any Goal - Nat Eliason

The Motivation Machine: How to Get & Stay Motivated for Any Goal - Nat Eliason

https://www.nateliason.com/blog/motivation

nateliason.com

11

Key Ideas

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about.”

The Dip

Across language learning, company building, and any kind of creative project, there is a dip. The Dip is the long stretch between beginner’s luck and real accomplishment.
Extraordinary benefits accrue to the tiny minority of people who are able to push just a tiny bit longer than most.

The Start before the Dip

In any goal that has to be accomplished, there is a Start. It usually gets overlooked, as it's always there. 
The Start is a much bigger problem since you can’t reach The Dip if you don’t get through The Start, and many more people fantasize about doing something than actually do it and give up.

Motivation management

The biggest problem we face with completing our projects isn’t productivity or time management, but motivation management

When you’re sufficiently motivated to accomplish something, you’ll move heaven and earth to do it.

Motivation Defined

Motivation is “the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way,” or rephrased, “the general desire or willingness of someone to do something.”

Ericsson & Poole

Ericsson & Poole

“When you quit something that you had initially wanted to do, it’s because the reasons to stop eventually came to outweigh the reasons to continue. Thus, to maintain your motivation you can either strengthen the reasons to keep going or weaken the reasons to quit. Successful motivation efforts generally include both.”

Getting Motivated to Start a Project

  • Increase your reason to start a project, by increasing the value of starting it.
  • Increase your expectancy of succeeding at that project.
  • Decrease your reasons to delay, by increasing urgency, using a deadline.

Parkinson's Law

It states that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

A commitment Device

Many people use a commitment device or game their surroundings to get and stay motivated.

You can physically help your goal by things like throwing away your junk food, only showering at the gym so that you go there, and similar activities aimed at focussing on your goal. People also use public commitments in social media to stay motivated by peer pressure.

Stay Motivated 

Set small, incremental goals that are sufficiently exciting to be motivating and for which you have a reasonable expectation of completing.

How To Keep Going

  • Maintain your sense of Expectancy in the project using small wins and accomplishments.
  • Reward yourself.
  • Maintain a sense of value by finding a way to remind yourself of the bigger picture of the small, everyday bouts of effort.
  • Build positive habits.
  • Find flow.
  • Set clear follow-on goals.
  • Maintain energy.

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Pessimism

Unless you have clinical depression, pessimism is just a bad habit. Many adopt pessimism from childhood models or from a painful event and end up making it a part of their life.

Consume inspiring content, or record your achievements and things you are grateful for, and routinely look through these lists to remind yourself of your abilities in difficult moments.

Limiting Yourself

Feeling sorry for yourself, procrastinating and adopting a binary or pessimistic world view are common ways of self-limitation.

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Some possible but weak reasons why action is hard:

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  • Preferences can explain our failure to try, but don't explain our inner struggles with inaction.
  • Capacity for effort. If your capacity for doing things is lower, it does not explain chronic bursts of activity with inevitable crashes in your goals and projects.
  • Motivation. Some people with the most reason have the hardest time taking action. 
Confidence
Motivation and expectation of success create a feedback loop:
  • Your motivation to complete a task depends on the value of the reward and your expectation of success. 
  • Your expectation of success depends on your motivation.

If your projects tend to fail, your expectations are low, and motivation fades. If your projects tend to succeed, your expectations go up, and motivation stays strong.

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