2023 June 20 Reality check motivation reminders

Jun 20, 2023

Hi, this is Jim Cranston from 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com, the podcast and website about reimagining your life. Thanks for joining me tonight to talk about what motivates you. So let's get started. If you like what you hear tonight, please leave a like, tell your friends, and send me a message.


We've talked a lot about motivation over the past months, including a lot of goal setting and envisionment techniques, positive self-talk and a lot of positive techniques to motivate ourselves when things get a little tedious.  Tonight I also want to talk about the other side of motivation. It's not negative motivation per se, because it can still motivate us in a very positive direction in our lives, but this type of motivation is being aware of the potential negative consequences if we don't follow through on all our positive techniques.


It starts a couple steps back in the process, even before you start trying to make any changes in your life. Your brain is busy throwing up all sorts of reasons why you shouldn't try and change, in order to keep you safe and in your comfort zone. Remember that the number one priority of your brain is to make sure that you stay alive, that you stay where you're going to be safe. That's typically in your comfort zone, things you're familiar with, on the premise that if it worked yesterday, it'll probably work tomorrow.


The first reality check is simply to ask yourself, Am I happy and satisfied doing what I'm doing now? The fear of failing could often be considered a fear of making yourself unhappy or unsatisfied. If you're already unhappy with a particular situation or unsatisfied with it, then recognizing that fact will make that fear of the unknown far less daunting because you at least have the chance of discovering a more satisfying path.


Think about it. A lot of times when you don't make a change, it's because, the only thing good about this job is the money, but the other side of your brain is saying, But the money's okay. So do we really want to risk making a change right now? A lot of times, we keep ourself in the same place because we're not sure what might be coming on the other path.


This isn't about just trying any old thing on the assumption that anything is better than what you're doing now. Rather, if a potential change, after careful evaluation, seems to have the ability to bring you closer to your preferred life, then this is the way to not just let your brain dismiss it because it's different, so it's scary. It doesn't have to be scary. It's only scary if we don't really address it in a reasonable fashion. 


We see how thinking about a possible realistic outcome can help us make changes in our lives. Once we've changed, it can also be used to help us stay on course and not slip back into old habits. Assume you've made a desired change. Let's pick a really common example. You started to lose weight and you're getting in better physical condition. This is a pretty common example. Hopefully you made SMART goals. Remember, SMART goals are goals that are specific. They're measurable. They're achievable or actionable, and they're relevant. They're still reach / stretch goals, and they're time-based. They have a deadline. 


So you've made this SMART goal with a defined target. Let's say it's 10 pounds in three months and the ability to walk a mile. Something that has real, measurable achievements, but that aren't crazy. Now, after the first month or six weeks, your initial motivation is starting to wane a little bit, and you're already feeling a little bit better. You're going to the gym in the morning, but this morning, you get up and you really don't feel like going to the gym. It's kind of rainy out, and it's nice in the house. You forgot you had that extra donut yesterday. Your brain is telling you to remember, you used to feel pretty good when you didn't go to the gym


This is when those old habits will make their last appeal to get you to go back to your old ways of living. It will tell you that you've done enough, that you deserve to sleep in, that you can start again, and on and on and on. You've probably heard this story in your head for various things over time. This is when a reality check review can really help to remotivate you when you're tempted to abandon your new habits.


Just think about how you felt before you started to change. Do you want to feel like that again? Think about all the compliments you've been getting. Do you want them to stop? Think about the plans you're making for a more athletic vacation. You wanted to go places you always wanted to go, but didn't feel you had the energy to do. Do you want to have to cancel those plans and that trip because you can't walk that mile again? 


Yes, it's certainly a tough, self-love talk, and it can't be your primary motivation. But sometimes when you're badly tempted to give up on yourself, you may find it helpful to remind yourself of everything that you've gained that you put at risk if you don't follow through.


This is absolutely an emergency motivation. It doesn't work long term, and it can be even detrimental if overused. It's useful just to give yourself a few seconds of extra motivation to get you out of there before your old habits trick you into trying to give up.


Let's review the overall approach again to keep things in perspective. Ideally, you developed a vision, then you've made some SMART goals. The SMART goals we just went through help you make decisions that move you towards being your best self, and to live towards your vision of a life that you really want.


By using all those little aids we've talked about, such as managing negative self-talk and replacing with positive comments, or celebrating each and every little win - because when you do that, it shifts your whole life direction to the direction that you want. 


Your brain will still be concerned. It wants to keep you safe. Safe is doing familiar things. Even though your conscious mind is supportive, your subconscious mind is still a little bit concerned, a little hesitant. Then some stressful situation arises. It could be an internal or external stress, it doesn't matter, but something comes up unexpectedly.


Even doing something that's normally totally non-stressful changes that dynamic. This is when your inner mind will kick in and try to get you to return to familiar patterns. Don't talk to strangers. Don't get up and present in front of the audience. Don't skip that meal. Go have that dessert with your friends. This is when doing a quick reality check on any potential decision is a good emergency motivation to stay true to my goals. Use it sparingly and briefly, but I find that the occasional burst of energy that comes from thinking about what happens if I don't follow through on my goals is usually enough to get me over that brief hump and avoid the temptation.


That's it for the week. I hope you found this additional little emergency motivator tip useful for those unexpected moments when you feel like giving up. Your homework (optional, of course) is to think about why you chose some of your goals, and then think about what would happen or not happen, if you gave up on them.


Bonus points if you turn those into reality checks and turn them around and turn them into additional positive motivations. Every success builds upon the foundation of previous successes. So with some practice, most times you wouldn't even have to use the emergency motivation because you'll think of even more positive motivations when you start to feel tempted and it'll just power you through, because a positive goal is a lot more powerful than the negative ones. So you really want to build up a whole backlog of positive reasons why you want to do stuff, and that'll get you through almost every situation. Your brain likes successes, and the more you can associate success with your new goals, the easier they will become. 


That's it for the evening. Thank you very much as always. UKR7.com. Remember, the war in Ukraine is certainly still going, it's in high gear right now. If not Ukraine, there are other disasters with people who need assistance. If you're able and interested. There are lots of links on UKR7.com, including links to the World Central Kitchen. WCK.org. They're active all over the world in areas where disasters have happened. 


Remember that one of the best ways to care for yourself is to care for others. So if you can and you're able, please check it out. Anything you can do in any particular situation to help others is a really good way to help get out of yourself, look at the rest of the world, and see what a positive impact you can have on the rest of the world. 


As always, thank you for stopping by. If you found something interesting or useful, please pass it along. Please hit that like button. If not, please drop me a comment as to what you'd like to hear. Have a great week. Remember to live the life that you dream of, because that's the path to true contentment. Love and encouragement to everyone. See you next week on 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com.  Thank you.


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