The Science Behind Motivation

So, if you’re anything like me, you have a folder on your phone/computer FILLED with motivation sayings/memes. The folder in my phone currently has 149 of them. and I know there are more that haven’t been moving INTO the folder yet. I haven’t been in that folder lately, but I’ll head in there real quick and let you know what the most recent 3 said… one moment please *cue music*…

  1. Let go of what’s “been” to take hold of what’s “becoming.” #GODFIDENCE
  2. Even if you decide to be “normal”, some people will still misjudge you. That’s part of life. The best thing to do is BE YOU!
  3. If, on a single day, you suddenly came alive and chose to express who you truly are and to pursue what you truly desire of life, LET THIS BE THAT DAY.

thought anchorWith good intentions I saved these to my phone, but I’ve come to discover that just seeing, reading, or hearing motivational messages isn’t enough to actually be motivated. It takes more than that to create action.

Some scientists in England decided to to a study on the best way to motivate oneself. And I don’t mean some small randomized test with 100 participants… I’m talking about over 44,000 participants participated in the study! And they found a clear winner!

They used 3 basic methods of motivation:

  1. Self-Talk – Participants were instructed to use positive self-directed phrases such as “I know I can do better this time” or “I can respond faster than before”.
  2. Imagery – They were asked to imagine (visualize) themselves as doing/being better, or responding faster.
  3. “If-then planning” – This is what people typically use… examples might be “If Mary offers me a second dessert, then I will run screaming from the kitchen.” or “If I start feeling anxious, then I will take a walk”

Here’s what the 44,000 person trial discovered – Self Talk was the CLEAR winner, followed by Imagery and last but not least was the If-Then planning*.

So, what’ your take-away from this? The words we use with ourselves, the mental chatter in our minds has a very real effect on how we interact in the real world. Wherever possible, be your own cheerleader! If you’re going to have all sorts of motivational messages hidden away somewhere, get them out and about! Surround yourself with them so you see them as reminders!

Speak them over yourself. And to make them even more valuable, begin to use imagery as well to further implant these positive messages.

*If then planning has been found useful for some areas however such as weight loss and other real life challenges.