“I’ve lost my motivation.” A commonly used phrase with absolutely no truth to it.
Not because you don’t feel motivated right now.
Rather, the truth is that motivation was never yours to own to begin with.
You weren’t born with motivation, and the high-performers you observe who seem to be motivated consistently, day-in and day-out have a different medium that fuels their habits.
The fuel they use is intention.
If the goal is to cross the finish line with your daily habits, intention is the fuel to get you there.
Simply Setting An Intention Is Not Enough
People intend to do things all the time, like going to the gym and eating more healthy foods to lose weight. But without a way to measure when and where they will act on the intention for accountability, their intention is truly just a desire rooted in instant gratification.
Instant gratification is the desire to experience pleasure or fulfillment without delay or deferment, and in this case, without doing the actions that will create the desired result.
Ever changing desires are a product of your fickle brain, attached to the next thing it thinks will bring it and sense of comfort and pleasure.
Intentions come from the most authentic place in your being. The voice inside of you that so desperately wants your attention, but gets ignored more times than not.
And the more you ignore it, the more anxiety, frustration, doubt, and guilt you will feel.
Luckily for you, the smartest brains of our generation came together and created a “smart” device that feeds your brain’s hunger for instant gratification. Subconsciously programming you everyday to believe that everything you want is at the click of a button, while simultaneously making it more challenging than ever before to create habits that serve you, like creating and maintaining a healthy body for optimized energy, performance, and longevity.
Proof That Motivation Does Not Create Habits
Enter one of my favorite research studies done back in 2001 by the British Journal of Health Psychology. The researchers took 248 people and divided them into 3 groups to create better exercise habits over a two week span.
Group 1 was the control group. They were simply directed to track how often they exercised.
Group 2 was the motivation group. They were directed to track how often they exercised and were also given reading material like magazines on the benefits of exercise. This is back before your favorite youtubers and instagram models were on your news feed and televisions.
Group 3 was given the same direction and resources as the motivation group in addition to making a plan for when and where they would exercise over the two weeks. Individually, they were directed to complete the following sentence “During the next week, I will partake in at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise on [DAY] at [TIME] in [PLACE].”
The results were revealing.
In group 1 and group 2, 35-38% of the members exercised at least one time per week. Showing that the sources of motivation given to group 2 had no significant impact on their behaviors.
But 91% of the members in group 3 exercised at least one time per week.
As you can see, setting an intention, with when and where as personal accountability measures to act, more than doubled the rate of groups 1 and 2.
I use the study as the foundation for a practice that has brought hundreds of my clients fast results in creating new habits I call Intention-Action Alignment.
This practice increases the effectiveness of the study’s results by having them write down their intentions, as group 3 did, every morning in their journals and on sticky notes while creating their new desired habit.
Handwriting has been scientifically proven to improve learning, which leads to better retention and recall of the information.
Leading to a greater conscious awareness of your intentions, and the likelihood that you will take action on them.
Simply writing down your Intention-Action Alignment on a sticky note and placing it in what I call “danger zones” can yield impactful, and lasting results.
A danger zone is an area where you would go against your Intention-Action Alignment.
How To Easily Implement
For example, if you struggle with eating unhealthy snacks at night and you know that is inhibiting your weight loss goal, you would place a sticky note on your pantry that says, “I will not eat any unhealthy foods on Monday after 8:00 pm that are in the pantry.”
Then you would repeat this sticky note everyday until the habit was broken, and in turn, your actions will become more closely aligned with your goal to lose weight.
On average, it can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days for you to form a new habit and 66 days for a new action to become automatic.
But the term “average” never sits in the mind of a consistently high-performer.
The amount of time is up to you, and Intention-Action Alignment can fast track your results, and your long-term success.
Creating new habits can be a difficult and complicated process when left to the impulsive desires of our erratic mind.
But when you set an intention from your authentic voice, and write down a detailed, albeit simple plan to act.
Creating new habits can be quite easy.