The messages we give ourselves can either energize or defeat us. Consider the incessant mind banter we generate each day. Then consider both the content and to whom it’s directed. YOU! Which strategies for motivation work best for you? Because we are all different, and knowing yourself is the first step!
What motivates you? It’s unlikely that shame or guilt will inspire much of an energetic or positive response. In general, when we hear statements of reproach, we feel defeated and listless. Yet many of us rely on constant and personal reprimand. We wake ourselves at night with things we might have done, thought or said better the day before. We replay our errors again and again until they are ingrained, not as lessons learned, but as defining self-identifying statements.
Is that the way you would raise a child? What kind of boss would you be if you treated your employees like this? Can you imagine calling them in the middle of the night to unload your dissatisfaction with them?
And what would the obvious result be of such guidance? We create fragile and fearful results when we chastise ourselves.
Experts Weigh In
The New York Times published an article by Tara Parker-Pope about self-compassion. Recent studies show that many of us are hesitant to be too kind to ourselves for fear of becoming lazy. Dr. Kristin Neff’s book, “Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind,” explores the concept of self-compassion and suggests exercises to reinforce self-directed kindness.
But, if we think ahead, which actions produce more enthusiasm? A positive, energizing supportive coach? Do they elicit the desired (successful) results? Or, will we perform better for a constantly dissatisfied, harping leader?
I suggest you consider what you know about yourself when trying to motivate. Do you respond well to rewards? Factor in little treats for yourself when you’ve made positive steps? Do you require structure? Set a schedule and follow it. Do you work better in teams? Find support to reinforce your energy and commitment. Do you do well with recognition? Post your success on Facebook or Twitter!
Treat yourself with the kindness, gentleness and compassion you would anyone you cared deeply for.
I believe in some cases the learned negative self-talk is actually an excuse to not accomplish more. It’s fear-driven and it is not useful. By eliminating useless and harmful behaviors we make way for productive and constructive thoughts and actions. This negative self-talk really hinders weight loss efforts. So be extra careful there too!
Comment on your favorite strategies for motivation below!