Controversial or not? You decide.
A common catch cry across fitness and outdoor exercise providers is the need for MOTIVATION to get people up and moving forward towards their challenge goals. This simple message seems perfectly good, and works well for many people but is there a better starting point?
The basic motivational model is:
MOTIVATION – ACTION – CLOSER TO GOAL
Of course this is an oversimplification of what works best for most people. Motivation is not self-sustaining, it needs to be nurtured through positive actions and probably re-invigorated through attainment of many small goals along the way. Basically, motivation will fade over time if we don’t find new ways to stay motivated. This leads us to an improved model:
MOTIVATION – ACTION – MORE MOTIVATION — CLOSER TO GOAL
I guess this model will resonate with many of you, as will motivational fade. So, have we got the whole model wrong? Is motivation not the ‘get moving’ panacea we have all believed? Food for thought definitely.
For many their goal becomes their motivation, consequently it seems sensible to place the goal ahead of motivation in the model:
GOAL — MOTIVATION – ACTION – MORE MOTIVATION — CLOSER TO GOAL
If we consider this model and take on a new goal, does this really provide the motivation we need to get moving? Goals are very important in the overall success of any endeavour and frequently make the difference between success and failure. Set the goal unrealistically high and you are bound to fail because motivation wanes as the realisation of impending failure sinks in. When we get ambitious, such as when we decide ‘it is time’, our goal setting is likely to be overly ambitious as well. The secret is to develop a series of smaller goals that lead to the pinnacle you are seeking (nurturing motivation). But is this really what gets us up and moving?
Think having a goal and associated motivation will work for you? I suspect that if you are really honest with yourself you will admit that goals and motivation can be thought provoking but not necessarily sufficient to get you started. Sometimes it is the nature of the goal itself, or it might be the environment in which you need to train, or many other demotivating factors; whatever the reason simply having the goal and apparent motivation is not sufficient to get you started. So something is missing ……..
ACTION — MOTIVATION – ACTION – MORE MOTIVATION — CLOSER TO LARGER GOALS
There is a school of thought that proposes that action needs to come before motivation, that the process of doing is what ignites our motivation. The theory behind this line of thought suggests that goals and motivation mean nothing if you don’t act on them. Motivation remains an ambivalent idea until we make that start. Motivation is just an idea that can be utilised to drive us ahead, but only once action has commenced. Therefore, goals/motivation might be the mental catalyst for action, but without acting upon them they remain just thoughts and it is the actions that are key to building motivation. Once you have made a start your motivation really kicks in and becomes an important driver of persistence and drive towards your goal.
Interesting thoughts to ponder in this idea. Really is a no brainer in some respects because we all know that goals always remain dreams unless we act on the motivation they generate. Is the action argument just being pedantic about the fine differentiation between motivation and action? Are motivation and action mutually exclusive or bound together as one? I’m guessing that many of you would say you need the motivation in front of you before you would make a start, in which case this article will be presenting a controversial point of view. For some, the idea of actually starting before the motivation is truly ignited will be the more believable model. Of course there will also be a few that see this as trivial pedanticism that isn’t worth reading, but I guess they won’t have read this far anyway.