We’re nearing the halfway mark for 2017 and that means that the New Year Resolution you made has either been nailed by now, you’re still making headway, you decided to wait till next year, or…you said screw it and never even started. Whether your goal was to lose weight, become a more effective manager, increase profitability or improve company culture, the reality is that many people never take that first step.
Let’s use exercise as an example. Most of us know that transitioning from a sedentary lifestyle to an active lifestyle is not without reward. Everything from lower cholesterol, decreased body-fat, improved circulation, improved sleep, and a better sense of well-being can be achieved through exercise. The best news is that these benefits are available, to some degree, to almost any individual that decides to build exercise into their daily routine. Hopefully as a leader you’re taking time to focus on your own health and inspiring your team to do the same (soap box). Waking up at 5AM to exercise, taking time to increase and improve communication with your team or making those additional two sales calls each day can be daunting however the effort pays dividends.
The hardest part of starting down any new path is just that, starting. But it’s important to remember that it’s the start that stops most people. I don’t know of anyone who really wants to make an additional 2-3 sales calls at the end of the day. I haven’t heard of many CEO’s too enthusiastic about carving out time in their schedule to check in with individual team members. However after we take time to do the things we desperately need to do we simply feel better afterwards; and therein lies the answer to the mystery of motivation. Many of us wait until we feel motivated to start an exercise program only to find out that the overwhelming feeling of motivation doesn’t always strike when we would like it to; such as after an all-you-can-eat buffet. All kidding aside, it is important to understand that motivation is an action, not a feeling.
Think about the last time you went for a nice long walk or jog on the beach. Initially, you teetered between feelings of dread and feelings of personal responsibility. Finally, after pushing aside the desire to stop in your tracks and nap in the sun, you completed your workout. What did you feel? I assume that you felt a sense of accomplishment, clarity, energy and finally, motivation. The feeling we get after a good workout is always motivating, thereby bringing us to the conclusion that the act of movement leads us to feelings of motivation. Once we understand that motivation is an action and not a feeling, we can finally start down whichever path we choose and know that success is in the making. There’s no better time to start exercising, start communicating or make those calls you’ve been putting off than now. What’s stopping you?