Develop motivation through short wins

Develop motivation through short wins

The development of motivation can be assisted by setting and achieving short wins. Essentially short wins are mini goals that are in line with your personal strategy. These mini goals are usually progressively more demanding because as you progress you are confronted with situations as yet beyond your experience. In these cases your ability to cope is continually tested. The advantage of having successfully completed previous challenges provides you with the confidence to try and cope with more difficult situations. This need not be a fortuitous experience as you can set up your own mini goals on the way towards your intention to give you short wins. 

Through scaffolding short wins you can systematically increase your confidence level. In the movie Touching the Void, the climber with the broken leg decided to set mini distance goals that he had to achieve within a defined time frame. This process kept his momentum and ultimately got him to safety. Once you have achieved a short win it’s advisable to celebrate in some way as this reinforcement enhances momentum and motivation. 

Try using music to motivate

Music is commonly used among athletes in training and prior to competition to trigger or regulate their motivation. Sydney Olympics rowing gold medalist, Tim Foster, now a coach, uses music to punctuate all of the indoor training sessions that he leads. Specifically, during circuit training or rowing ergo meter intervals he puts on loud fast music, whilst during recovery periods he plays soft slow music. Therefore, work and recovery times are regulated by music. Research from Brunel University indicates that this approach increases work output, reduces perceived exertion and improves the pleasure experienced during the activity. 

Positive self-talk can motivate and eliminates excuses

I am not an advocate of the type of mental preparation that uses loud self-talk to get hyped up. In my opinion it is self-indulgent when someone is shouting out words like yes, yes, yes in preparation for an event. I believe with this type of self-talk one runs the risk of losing composure.  However, I can fully understand people celebrating and expressing their delight and relief after achieving something significant and loudly exclaiming whatever they like.  

Nevertheless, I advocate positive self-talk as a preparation technique or as a means of establishing or reestablishing appropriate concentration and enhancing motivation across a wide range of achievement domains. The technique makes use of your powerful inner voice (not outer) to reinforce important aspects of your performance. It is claimed that, with appropriate repetition, self-talk can ultimately affect your belief system. Positive self-talk is the ability to hold inner conversations reflecting on your good performances that lead you to sustained performance improvement through positive self-reinforcement. 

Auto suggestion – includes negative and positive reinforcement

Positive self-reinforcement is a part of the broader concept of auto suggestion. However, auto suggestion includes the possibility that you are doing the opposite i.e. using negative self-talk and therefore generating negative self-reinforcement. It seems that most of us habitually use negative self-talk without consciously considering the negative self-reinforcement and therefore the performance consequences of this habit. It is claimed that we receive our most important messages from the inner conversations we have with ourselves, not from others.  When negative self-talk becomes pervasive you can deal with it through thought stoppage using trigger words or gestures. 

As people use positive self-talk to encourage themselves towards their intention they will usually develop a confident attitude which has the accompanying benefit of making less or no excuses. 

Develop motivation through short wins, try using music to motivate, positive self-talk can motivate and eliminates excuses, auto suggestion – includes negative and positive reinforcement

Dr Steve – Mind Doctor

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