Getting Over the Gap with Mitchell Langbert
In This Episode…
How to piggyback on feelings of motivation to foster consistent action toward goals
Why you need to develop good habits in the right order
How role models empower you—and where to find them
What to do when you're overwhelmed thinking about how to achieve your goals
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In order to turn the inspiration into behavior, you have to develop the right habits.
People have trouble motivating themselves because of prior habits. Habits are easier to set when we are young, but they become difficult to break as we grow. Both strong, emotional beliefs and incentives can help us change our habits, but the new pattern needs to be repeated many times. Pavlov, Thorndike, Skinner and other behaviorists emphasize association of reinforcement with behavior to change habits. However, strong beliefs can motivate action too—perhaps more so. Think of Marines or religious zealots who act in unusual ways because of their belief systems and training.
There are two basic theories of motivation, extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic motivators are incentives like buying yourself a present if you do something for which you’ve set a goal. Intrinsic motivators are feelings, beliefs, or mental states. Intrinsic motivators include a sense that you are actualizing yourself by pursuing a path or accomplishing something. Intrinsic motivators are the most powerful and long-lasting. You are more committed to practicing and fulfilling activities when you are intrinsically motivated.
In goal setting, affirmations may be cliche but can help you clarify the results you want.
Without motivation, there's a gap between feeling like doing something and doing it. Once you get over that gap to make a habit, working toward your goals gets easier.
Goals should be useful. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based. The most successful people don't set goals too easy or too difficult — they are challenging but still achievable.
You must be willing to put up with rejection or failures along the way. It's a part of the process. Repeated failures means that you're "failing up" because each failure teaches you about what not to do next time.
What You Can Do
Develop skills in the right order. Work in the area where your goal lies. Taking a side job develops skills and habits for that area–which is not your goal.
Having models leads to your empowerment. Spending time with people who are like-minded achievers (or higher achieving people than you) you get ideas, guidance and support to motivate you to keep practicing or moving forward with the tasks related to your goals. You learn successful habits by imitating successful people. If you hang around people who are models that are rewarded for their successful habits, you're more likely to imitate them.
If you feel overwhelmed or stressed about the process of accomplishing a goal, use the concept of "small wins." Break big tasks into smaller ones.
Connect with My Guest
Mitchell Langbert, Professor, Author