I’ve been thinking a lot over the past few days about the different ways I lose motivation.

This thinking arose from a moment in the bath when I noted a sense of frustration about the rate my business was (or wasn’t) growing. Nestling alongside that was a mild sense of anxiety experienced thinking about a project I’m working on for a client.

One single statement – a belief – was common to both scenarios: it will never work, nothing ever does.

First off, before we get to the customary list, this statement is palpably not true. Things are working for me. They’re working in ways I didn’t anticipate three years ago. Historically-speaking lots of things have actually worked.

Learning point: we would do well to be vigilant around the language we use to describe stuff about ourselves to ourselves.

All this got me thinking further about all sorts of other goals, projects, tasks, and ideas I’m investing in.

What if you were to extrapolate this damaging negative self-talk process (which we all engage in by the way, to a lesser or greater extent), and condense it into a kind of model or framework – the reframing process where one exchanges a negative with a positive equivalent – and apply that statement to any kind of goal-driven activity? What emerges?

I returned to the initial two-scenario setup to try and determine what the framework or model might be – the model I could rely on in the future

Looking at both the statement and the scenarios objectively, some thoughts arose:

    1. Is the underlying belief helpful? (Read it back now. Reads pretty shit, huh?)
    2. Does the goal seem impossible, untouchable, so unreachable – like an uncharted land.
    3. What has occurred so far that has got me to this stage already?
    4. Note: humans have a negative bias (because we’re descendant from chimps).
    5. What is the next, smallest thing you could do in pursuit of the goal?
    6. Note: We live in an on-demand world where we expect instant gratification.
    7. What is your dream timeline for reaching the goal? Add 100%.

Thinking is good; awareness is vital. Combine the two and there’s a valuable self-regulation process there waiting to be exploited – vital stuff for the success of a project. Keeping your own thoughts in check is as important as the actual tasks necessary for reaching the goal.

Being able to recognise what the thought processes are and the feelings that they trigger is vital for ensuring that the actions we take are benefitting us in pursuit of the goal we’ve set our sights on.

What I’m reminded of (yet again) in my practise as a coach is something I learned very early on in the training: monitoring what’s going on is as important as doing the thing that needs to be done.

But I’m adding one more thing to the list.

Adopting a greater sense of patience for the outcome may well create a more conducive spirit that hastens its arrival.