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How to stay motivated and inspired

A brief look into collaborating with your brain and discarding all your unrewarding habits…

“I wish I didn’t have to go to work everyday.” “I am dying from these long hours.” “This project is killing me!” Even though everyone is familiar with a figure of speech, your brain has no sense of humour and it only picks up the words that you say and then implements a solution. Your mind will always remember what hurts you as to avoid it ever hurting you again. Therefore, all these negative words and phrases you feed yourself every day will send your brain into defence mode and as a result, your brain will work against you.

As Marisa Peer (world renowned speaker, Rapid Transformational Therapy trainer and best-selling author) reminds us, “we are hard-wired to run towards what’s familiar and run away from what’s unfamiliar.” In order to succeed in every aspect of your life, you need to reprogram your brain’s idea of ‘pain’ & ‘pleasure.’

A vital factor to maintaining your motivation, especially in the work environment, is to complete a specific task simply because you want to and not because you are trying to avoid the consequences of not completing it. Using negative motivation will lead to poor work quality and drastically decrease your determination to succeed.

Before you can unlock and utilise the better, stronger version of yourself, you need to be willing to change / improve your bad habits or weaknesses. Afterall, your life is essentially a product of your habits.

There are a few things to remember when trying to overcome your bad habits…

  1. You can’t eliminate a bad habit, you can only substitute it with a better habit.
  2. Identifying the cause of your bad habit is imperative to overcoming it.
  3. Most of the time, bad habits are a result of stress or boredom.

There are 4 stages of habit; cue, craving, response, reward. Since habits take practice and repetition to form, the same is true when it comes to breaking them, says Elliot Berkman, director of the University of Oregon’s Social and Affective Neuroscience Lab.

The cue will trigger your brain to engage in the behavior. Because your brain does what it thinks you want it to do, it will continually evaluate what action will lead to a reward. A cue is the first inkling that we are close to receiving a reward, which then easily leads to a craving.

Cravings are the next level of habit formation. Without the want or desire, without craving a change or particular result, we have no reason to take action.
The response is the actual habit you perform which can be a thought, feeling or an action.

Lastly, the response results in a reward. Rewards are the ultimate objection of every habit.

Bad habits are detrimental to your physical and mental health and hinder your ability to succeed at work or in your personal life.

Now that we know the psychology behind bad habits, how do we break them?

5 steps to overcoming negative habits:

  1. Choose a substitute for your bad habit.
  2. Cut out as many triggers as possible.
  3. Try overcoming a habit with a friend or co-worker that shares the same bad habit.
  4. Surround yourself with people who live and work the way you want to.
  5. Visualize yourself succeeding.

When things fall off track, remember to plan for failure to avoid wasting time spent being angry or upset. Try asking yourself these questions and rather choose to learn from your mistakes.

  • When does your bad habit happen?
  • How many times do you do it each day?
  • Where are you when you perform this habit or action?
  • Who are you with?
  • What triggers the behavior and causes it to start?

According to a study conducted by psychology researcher at University College London, Phillippa Lally, it takes more than 2 months to form a new habit — 66 days to be exact.

Remember to plot your progress as you go, use healthy rewards and always try to break down your obstacle/goal into segments!

Research taken from talks, articles, podcasts from Marisa Peer, Time Magazine, www.jamesclear.com

© Work & Co. 2019.