Where Motivation Comes From (and How to Use It)

We all have the same 24 hours in a day. We know it’s true, but sometimes there are people that just seem like they get so much more done than others. How is that possible? Are they just more motivated than you are? Is it possible for you to accomplish the same amount that they do? Can you really motivate yourself even if you aren’t naturally a motivated person?

The scientific explanation

Medical science knows what causes motivation. The neurotransmitters in your brain send messages around your body that help you stay focused. This is how you get things accomplished. One of those chemicals is called dopamine. Scientist have found that people that are more natural “go-getters” actually have a higher level of dopamine in the parts of their brains that controls motivation and rewards. The people in the scientific study that were considered to be “slackers” actually had higher dopamine levels in the portion of their brain that deals with risk and emotion. So, essentially, if you have lower levels of dopamine you are naturally less motivated to do work.  

How to get motivated

If you find that you are not naturally motivated it’s time to choose to take action and get things done. Just because you don’t “feel” like doing something doesn’t mean that you should be doing it. Start by changing your thinking. Your thoughts really do have power over your mood and your actions. If you choose to think the right things eventually your feelings and actions will get in line with it. Eliminate the phrase “have to” from your thinking. Anytime that we think we “have” to do something we just aren’t going to be motivated to do it. Instead tell yourself that you “get to” do it or that you are choosing to do it. That puts you in control instead of your feelings.

Increase your dopamine levels

Setting goals and accomplishing tasks can actually help you get your dopamine flowing. Here are some ideas on how to change your thinking and get more done: Stop multitasking – Regardless of what was said a decade ago, multitasking is inefficient and a killer of productivity and motivation. It is impossible to give your focus to multiple things at one time. Instead choose one task to focus on. With all your energy devoted to this one task the work will be completed much faster. Use a check list – Not only do lists help you stay focused, but there is something rewarding about crossing off an item when you are finished. You will start to see your accomplishments when you operate this way and it will begin to motivate you to cross off more. Choose the right foods – Your diet plays a big role on your mood and your motivation. Foods you should be eating more of include nuts, yogurt, bananas and green leafy vegetables. Don’t allow yourself the excuse that you just aren’t naturally motivated like someone else is. In reality you have no idea how much effort that person puts into staying motivated and accomplishing the work that they do. Begin to implement the ideas and focus on the task being completed.
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