We've just had a dusting of snowfall on the mountains. The cold winter wind can feel harsh on the body but energising to the mind. As soon as winter hits, I tend to feel a rush of motivation.
So where does motivation really come from? Why are some things easy to find motivation for and other things hard?
Understanding the origins of what is motivating you can be a great way to do more of what you love and to let go of what’s not working. It can also be a great way to build an exercise routine and stick with it.
Motivation is cyclical. Your deepest needs create feelings. Your feelings create intentions. Intentions create actions, your actions lead to what you become. So it's a self perpetuating loop.
If we dissect this, motivation can be explained quite simply with neuroscience (bear with me). You see, your needs come from different parts of the brain. Simply put, our cortical brain is about all about “us” (creating connections for long term survival) whereas the subcortical brain is typically about “me” (keeping you alive right now which can be at the expense of others). Here’s some examples:
So the habits and things you do that form lasting motivation (makes it easier to get out of bed) are typically anything motivated by the higher centres (cortical brain). This is because it’s linked with positive emotion like friendship, connection and fun. If we take this a step further, this part of your brain is connected with how you interact and express yourself with the world.
So the pivotal ingredients of motivation are the ability to express yourself within meaningful connections. We can use this knowledge in two ways;
Find deeper motivation in creating and achieving goals
Audit aspects of your life that do not honour this principle
As motivations work in cycles, where previous motivations may have been subcortical (driven by anger, distress, fear and pain), these will create feedback loops and you’re going to end up where you started - with more fear, anger, distress or pain. Conversely, cortical motivators driven from connection, enjoyment and self expression will create positive feedback loops and help to grow these parts of you. Cool right?
So, truly look at yourself and what lights up your heart. Even if it's just a start, it can start the planning of something much bigger.