Motivation is possibly the biggest determining factor when it comes to creating your life of EASE. Your level of motivation can make or break your plans. That is why it is so important to be clear on the underlying values and feelings that your goals will give you before you embark on achieving them. If they are very clear and you feel 100% committed to their achievement then nothing will get in the way of your success. But there may be times when you feel a little flat and it is at these times that you will need the support of both internal and external motivation to keep going.

Motivation can be:

External: Rewards, prizes and recognition.
Internal: Challenge and accomplishment.

Motivation is very important, especially when you maybe about to embark on something that has the potential to change your life, such as a training program at the gym, a new career, or having a family etc. When learning any new skill, or adopting any new behaviour, there are four stages that you will need motivation for, they are:

1) The Discomfort Stage
2) The Results Stage
3) The Pleasure Stage
4) The Maintenance Stage

I will use exercise as an example to demonstrate each of these stages of motivation.

The Discomfort Stage
When you first start doing exercise, it seems like hard work. Your body tires quickly, you feel short of breath easily, your muscles are often sore the next day and of course it will be difficult to find the time to workout.

The good news is that this stage doesnt last forever. In most cases, between four and six weeks are required before the next stage is reached. The length of time depends on your initial fitness level, your program and your ability to train regularly.

During this stage, motivation often needs to come from outside; a personal trainer, a life coach or a structured program can be particularly helpful.

The Results Stage
During this stage, the time and effort that you have put into your exercise program begins to pay off; much of the discomfort of doing exercise is over and you even find yourself feeling good after each session. More importantly, you will feel the rewards of your effort, you will feel fitter, begin to see changes in your body shape and you may discover that you have more energy.

Motivation becomes much easier, as there are now positive benefits to balance the short term pain or inconvenience of exercise. Some external motivation is still helpful though as it is easy at this stage to skip a session and lose momentum.

The Pleasure Stage
As the name suggests, during this stage your exercise program becomes a pleasurable experience. The physical rewards are still realised, but the main motivators are now psychological, a person in this stage wants to exercise.

When you reach the pleasure stage, you dont like to miss a session, in fact studies have shown that regular, long-term exercisers show withdrawal symptoms if they miss a session.

Needless to say, when you have reached this stage, motivation is not a problem. Reward yourself for your efforts.

The Maintenance Stage
Although you are well into your training routine and things are going great, it is important at this stage to maintain long term motivation. If you continue to perform the same program for too long you may become bored or your physical results may plateau. It is important to add variety to your workouts and mix up your training sessions, try a group class one day, a boxing session the next to provide you with added stimulus and to spark further results and motivation.

The Ten Keys to Self-Motivation

The following are ten key points to help keep you motivated to achieve all of your new goals.

1. Establish clear goals. Know why you are activating your life and the steps that you will be taking by setting specific and realistic goals. If there are times when you are finding it hard to keep going, your goals will help to keep you on the right path.

2. Plan ahead. At the beginning of each week, or each day, decide what strategies you are going to perform, for how long and at what time. Make sure that you have whatever equipment or support you need. That way, when it is time to take action, you will not have to think about it, you can just turn up and get on with it.

3. Incorporate fun and variety. Developing a variety of fun and interesting strategies in your program will help you to stay interested and reduce boredom. Fun and variety also reduce the chances of you dropping out and help you to ensure that you have a holistic and well-balanced program.

4. Reward yourself. Give yourself a reward from day one, just for having embarked on your program. The reward could be anything from simply congratulating yourself, to giving yourself a special treat, just make sure that you dont reward yourself with things that are detrimental to your progress.

5. Perform your goals with a friend or partner. This way you can motivate each other.

6. Enlist support from your family and close friends. Or utilise the Activate Your Life support resources such as personal trainers, life coaches and the Activate Your Life website.

7. Ensure personal accountability. Develop a system whereby you are accountable for the achievement of your goals. This could be a weekly session with your life coach or a weekly check in with a close friend. Accountability works best when there is a deadline and when there is something that you stand to lose if you do not achieve your goals or perform set tasks. This may be as simple as losing respect from the person you are accountable to, or having to pay a fine of some form.

8. Always focus on the goals you want to achieve and the feelings you want to feel throughout your Program. Your subconscious mind works like a heat-seeking missile; it will always hit what it is aiming for. If you experience adversity or setbacks during your goal achievement journey, stay positive and continue to focus on what it is you want to achieve and the feelings you want to feel.

9. Plan for obstacles, set backs and adversity. By failing to plan, you plan to fail. Identify any potential obstacles that you may encounter and design a strategy to overcome them so that they will not affect your progress toward your goals.

10. Record your progress in a diary or training manual. By aiming for constant daily improvements you will soon achieve the goals you have set. Recording your progress allows you to see your improvements from week to week, which increases your confidence, motivation and determination to adhere to the program.

You have been given a gift. It is called life. And with this gift you have been given all of the talents, all of the knowledge and all of the power to create whatever it is you want to create on this Earth. Regardless of what shape or form this gift comes in for you, you owe it to yourself to go out there and become the best person you can possibly be, doing whatever it is that you want to do and use your gift to see what an amazing life you can create for yourself. You serve no one, especially not yourself, by choosing to be average!

Author's Bio: 

Andrew McCombe is an international author, coach, presenter and trainer and can assist you, your team or your organization with your health, fitness, well being and motivational needs.