If you want to generate energy and drive, you need self motivation. There are three ways to do this, and an acronym to help you remember is AWE:
- A = Autonomy: Establish control and self-determination.
- W = Why: Ask why this is important to you. Link tasks to meaningful values.
- E = Establish choice: Make a small decision, then act on it.
I wrote about autonomy in my previous post here, because in order to self-motivate you need to have a sense of control and self-determination. Here are the other steps:
“Why?” Link Purpose and Value to Tasks
If you want to stir up motivation and energy, ask yourself why a task is important. Why should you do this? Then ask the “So what?” question five times, drilling down to core values about why even the smallest of chores will lead to important results.
Here’s an example:
- Why is it important you finish your report?
- Reason #1. So what? Why is that important?
- Reason #2. So what? Why is that important?
Unless you know the big picture reasons for doing something, you won’t be self-motivated. Knowing the “why” behind a task can turn any chore into a meaningful challenge because you associate it with a purpose, passion, or desire to be of service to others. It is often easier to make efforts for friends or family or for a cause greater than ourselves.
Establish Choice, Then Act
One way we prove to ourselves that we have control is by choosing and making decisions. To create self-motivation, take advantage of opportunities to make choices which provide a sense of self-determination.
This suggests an easy method to trigger the energy: find a choice; make almost any choice that allows you to exert control.
For example, if you need to write an article, make a list of possible subtopics you want to cover. Or start by writing the conclusion. Whatever small choice you make will start the project and generate self-motivation and energy.
It’s the feeling of self-determination that gets us going. When we can link it to why it matters, to our noble values and sense of meaning, it is even more powerful.
There’s a lot of truth and wisdom in the 1930s Serenity Prayer that can be applied to almost any situation:
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. ~ Reinhold Niebuhr