As we inch closer to 2017, now is a good time to do a little bit of self-reflection. Around this same time, we tend to start planning out our vision for the upcoming year. While actionable goals are important, what is even more important is your purpose.
Your purpose feeds your motivation.
Without purpose your motivation is fleeting, as it is an external incentive. Compare someone exercising in order to fit a certain size (Lady A), as opposed to someone trying to get stronger and healthier (Lady B). Which one do you think will result in long-term changes? Obviously – the one with the bigger picture in mind. Lady A will be motivated until she finally fits into her chosen arbitrary size, while Lady B will continuously improve. Lady B’s motivation is internal. She has her own purpose.
The hardest part about this aspect is actually finding your purpose. Not many people know what they want. Normally, we look externally for society to show what we want.
“Oh, look. Those bikini models have thigh gap and people are celebrating it.” I want a thigh gap so I can be celebrated.
“That family looks so happy.” I need to get married and start a family to become happy.
“Look how she juggles a career, family obligations, and a fit body!” I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing. I need to learn how to prioritize my career, family and fitness – simultaneously.
While there is nothing wrong with wanting to achieve any of these goals, there is something wrong with the motivation. In each example, social media/society told them what to work toward. This is not sustainable motivation. You will work toward your newfound goals until you forget why you’re doing it – whether you lost track of the photo you saw or you start finding new photos to obsess over.
A good place to look for internal motivation is to ask the question:
What does your perfect day look like?
Imagine that all chores and errands are completed. Imagine that you have enough money in the back to sustain you comfortably for the next six months. Imagine that you don’t have kids or they are away for a few weeks. What do you want to do with your free time? This exercise is all about you.
Some of you will say, “I want to just lie down and watch TV because I need a break from life.” Yes, we all have those moments. Say that you are recharged – what do you want to do then? Because after so many days of lounging while playing online or watching TV, you start to get antsy too. What do you want to do? Learn to paint? Compose music?
What makes you smile the minute you think about it?
My perfect day is waking up to write, shoot a few portraits, editing beautiful images, challenging my brain by reading something thought provoking or learning a new skill, eating a healthy meal to keep my energy levels up, and work up a good sweat.
There – my whole life purpose. It thoroughly explains why I do what I do and how I have been able to sustain it.
You will not come up with multiple things like I did on your first try, but you will come up with at least one. From there, your purpose will guide you. If the dream lies true, you won’t need to look at external sources to feel motivated.