When you get home from work, what’s the first thing you want to do? Is it to start exercising? Is it work on a new side-hustle? Or is it mastering a brand new musical instrument? I’d actually bet cash that you do NOT want to do a single one of those things. In fact, it’s very likely you want to do the opposite instead – and that’s to slip into your house clothes, hop into a comfy chair, and dive into an exciting show on Netflix or browse social media.
That’s what a normal person wants to do after a hard day’s work, after all. Unfortunately, it’s obvious that neither of those things will improve your life in any regard. Luckily, it’s possible to drop this lazy habit so you don’t get stuck in a swamp of mediocrity for the rest of your life. And all it takes is a bit of an “attitude adjustment” to make it happen.
Your motivation needs some “chutzpa” to get you going
Once a person finishes a task, the natural inclination is to relax. But the problem is that just because the body wants to take it easy doesn’t mean the job is done – and that’s a feeling we can all relate to.
Unfortunately, this is a never-ending problem that requires the right strategy to counter it. Otherwise, each day you’ll do the same old thing. And that’s to give in to the lazy and child-like response system the human body has. And if you just let your body dictate all your actions, well, it’s just going to seek out junk food all day long and encourage Netflix binges. It’s clear that this is a quick way to a sad and depressed life. So let’s nip this issue in the bud.
Motivation nowadays lacks any “edge” to it
Humans are wired to sink into routine and comfort. It’s a way for us to conserve energy so we can put it towards useful things (like escaping tigers). But we don’t live like our ancestors anymore, and it’s obvious we don’t need traits like this in modern settings. Yet despite our lack of need for this characteristic… it’s not going anywhere. We are forever stuck with the tendency to seek the path of least resistance, of instant gratification, and of maximum comfort. Even if it means we have to sacrifice ALL our future success, happiness, and fulfillment because of it.
How to add sharpness to your favorite motivation tactics
The only way out of our lazy haze is by infusing some electricity into our motivation methods. It’s got to be something that actually makes us stop and think about what we want to do at any given moment. That way we don’t just default to laziness – instead, our brain actually does some cost/benefit analysis about whether it’s actually a good idea to binge Netflix for a few hours after work.
I’ve taken some of the most popular motivation tactics out there and gave them some edge so they work FAR more effectively at getting you to take action on your goals. I suggest you give them a shot if your first habit when you get home from work is to kick back and relax the instant you enter the door.
1. Exchange SMART goals for SMARTS goals
While SMART goals are good for clarity and direction, they lack when it comes to motivation. But if you add an extra “S” at the end, you’ve got “stakes” added to the mix. All of a sudden, your new SMARTS goal will drive you to take action as quickly as possible.
Here’s a few ideas to get you going with this, you can use these as springboards to create your own variations pretty easily:
- If you succeed at your goal, you get to eat at a nice restaurant. If you fail, then you’ve got to eat a whole raw grapefruit (I hate grapefruits so replace this with whatever works for you).
- If you succeed at your goal, you get to take a weekend trip somewhere nice. If you fail, you’ve got to volunteer as a roadside litter picker-upper.
- If you succeed at your goal, you get to watch a movie you’ve been excited for. If you fail, you’ve got to watch a boring documentary on a topic you have no interest in.
You get the idea. Just pick something on both sides of the motivation spectrum and you’ll be good to go with your SMARTS goals.
2. Remember your “big why” and your “dark why” as well
People like to talk about the major reason that’s motivating them to take action:
“For my family.”
“To leave a legacy.”
“To do something amazing.”
And that’s all well and good. But people have a “dark” side to them as well, and pretending this side doesn’t exist is basically denying we are people with negative emotions as well.
And that’s a big mistake. There’s a lot of power in negative emotions because they can create action. This action can sometimes be undesirable, but it can also be directed towards goals you want to accomplish.
Jealousy can drive you to improve your physique. Anger can push you to increase income from a side-hustle. And even gluttony can drive you to exercise more (sometimes when I know I’m about to eat bad, I’ll exercise beforehand to “even it out”).
It’s all about finding productive outlets for negative emotions. So instead of denying a normal, human part of us instead, find a way to use it to create good in your life and make it even better.
“Put your heart, mind, intellect, and soul, even to your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.” – Swami Sivananda
3. Associate with those who are successful but don’t ignore those you do NOT want to be like
Think of a person in your life who you do NOT want to be like. It could be an incompetent parent. An unreasonable or lazy boss. Or an unethical leader of some kind. So long as this person brings out a sense of shame and disgust, you’ve found a good mark.
Got your person? Perfect. Next time you find your parenting to be lacking… or your after work habits to be lazy… or your managerial style to be shameful… think of this person. Think of how upsetting their actions are and how you are “toeing the line” of being just like them. Once you do this, you’ll instantly find your actions changing so you don’t become like them.
This is actually a pretty powerful motivational technique because it creates both emotion AND action in you. And a combination like this is sure to get you moving so you achieve your goals much more effectively.
Remember that when it comes to motivation, the goal is NOT to feel good or inspired – it’s to take action on your goals. That’s the ONLY goal. And whether the source of that motivation makes you feel positive or gives you anxiety…does it really matter? Results are the name of the game in life. And with these “dark” tactics, I’d expect your own life to have more motivation and success because of it.