What Motivates You?
by Linda-Ann Stewart
Do you wait until the last minute to do your taxes or a report? Do you procrastinate and avoid thinking about them until the night before they're due? If so, you may be motivated to try to avoid pain, until the last possible moment. In the meantime, your attention is divided, knowing that the project is looming over you. While you're trying to go about your life, dread nibbles at you.
Or are you someone who does your taxes, or a report, as soon as can? If so, you're motivated to get your refund faster or to move on to the next task. You look forward to not only getting the unpleasant task done quickly, but to the reward of receiving your refund and clearing your desk. You're motivated by seeking pleasure. You take your time and make fewer mistakes, because you aren't pressured.
How the Pain Pleasure Principle Works to Achieve Goals
People are motivated to avoid pain and/or anticipate pleasure. To find out which governs you the most, assess how you deal with unpleasant aspects of your life. If you generally procrastinate or let things go until the last minute, you're probably motivated to avoid pain.
To achieve your goals, you stir up the pain until it's so bad that you must move forward to reduce the discomfort. This is fine for the short term and to initiate change, but it's stressful and extended stress leads to burnout. You'll associate your goals with pain and eventually abandon them.
Using pain to flog yourself forward wounds the inner self. Your attention is on the pain, and not on your vision. To avoid the discomfort, you move in any direction that eases the pain, even if it's the opposite way you want to go. Or you do the least amount possible to make the pain go away, and that won't take you to what you ultimately want, either.
To function at your best, your subconscious and inner self need safety, which is the reverse of stress. If you're motivated by seeking pleasure, you feel more secure. You're able to be more creative and effective, and have a greater range of resources from which to draw. You also have your focus on what your goals will bring you.
Getting tasks done ahead of time gives you a sense of satisfaction and your attention can then be freed for your next step. Your brain likes the completion, and rewards you with a feeling of being uplifted. Being motivated to anticipate pleasure is better for long term progress. It draws you forward towards your vision.
Using Your Motivation Style to Your Advantage
No matter if you're someone who avoids pain or anticipates pleasure, you can use this motivation principle to more easily achieve your goals. If you're been someone who stirs up the pain to initiate action, that's fine. Once you're moving, you can shift to the longer term strategy. Here are four steps to help you be more successful.
1. Your goal must be realistic. Create small steps that you can accomplish so you feel like you're progressing. For instance, if you expect to accomplish five projects, when you only have time for three, you're going to feel like a failure. Even if you must scale back your expectations, make sure your steps can be achieved in the time allotted.
2. Write out your ultimate vision. Write down what it will look and feel like to achieve your goal. Explain why you want your vision. What changes will it bring into your life and how will that improve your situation? This stirs up the anticipation of the pleasure you'll feel when you've reached your goal.
3. Reframe the pain. Once you get moving, don't continue to drive yourself with the fear of what will happen if you don't take the next step. Instead, give yourself credit for each step you've taken along the way. The subconscious likes the appreciation and you'll feel encouraged to continue. Look forward to the benefit you anticipate from your actions.
4. Take mini-steps. Work on your goal in short bursts of energy during the day. Think of it as a series of small sprints, rather than a marathon. Alternate your actions with some other neutral or pleasurable activity. You'll stop associating the goal or task with pain and negativity when it's not overshadowing your life. Once you see how much you're getting done, and feeling the satisfaction, it becomes easier and easier to work on.
It may feel uncomfortable to make a shift to a different way of motivating yourself. You're breaking a long standing habit. But if you do, you'll be much happier, more productive and successful in all of your endeavors.
Copyright © 2009-2023 Linda Ann Stewart
All Rights Reserved
As a focus coach, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart motivates women to focus and transform their business through deliberate actions that break through distraction and overwhelm to greater success, freedom, wellbeing and prosperity. Watch her FREE training video on Set Your Course to Success: 4 steps to strategically achieve your goals with confidence and ease. Register for the video and accompanying action planning guide at www.SetYourCourseGuide.com. You can contact her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com or 928-600-0452.