Motivation? How I Trick My Brain Into Doing Hard Things

April 26, 2024

Learn a powerful method for the motivation needed for self-improvement.

Shanie Matthews

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500-hr-RYT, YACEP Yoga Alliance registered Yoga and Meditation Teacher and C-IAYT Yoga Therapist trained by the Ananda School of Yoga & Meditation.


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Do you ever feel stuck, like you want to change but can’t seem to find the motivation? I’ve been there. I hit rock bottom, feeling overwhelmed by the many things I wanted to improve in my life. But then, I discovered a simple yet powerful method to kickstart my journey to self-improvement. Here’s how I tricked my brain into doing hard things:

Step 1 – Focus on the ONE THING for motivation

Barry Schwartz once said, “Learning to choose is hard. Learning to choose well is harder.” I realized that trying to change everything at once was setting myself up for failure. So, I decided to focus on just one thing: exercise. By simplifying my goals, I could make meaningful progress without feeling overwhelmed. Motivation is easily killed off when we feel like there is just too much on our plate.

Step 2 – Motivation = Fun

Exercise seemed daunting at first, but I knew I had to find a way to make it enjoyable. Instead of forcing myself to hit the gym, I revisited activities I loved as a child: mountain biking and hiking in the mountains. Getting out and enjoying the great outdoors with friends not only made exercise fun but also helped me establish a consistent routine. Motivation is a partner to fun. Make the two dance together in your life.

Step 3 – Find good role models for motivation

Seeing my parents prioritize fitness inspired me to do the same. Their dedication to staying true to working out in a way that made them happy every day showed me the power of commitment. Surrounding myself with friends who shared similar goals further motivated me to stay on track. As the saying goes, “We are the median of whom we hang around.” Do the people in your life bring you motivation?

Step 4 – Low stake incentives

To overcome my reluctance to go to the gym, I created low-stakes incentives. I told myself that even if the worst thing happened (seeing attractive people at the gym), the best outcome (getting in shape) made it worth it. This mindset shift helped me stay focused on my goals. Motivation doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep things simple.

Step 5 – The formula for success

My life formula, SU (Show Up) + DTW (Do The Work) + I (Improvement) = Massive Success, has been the cornerstone of my journey. It’s simple: show up, do the work, and constantly look for ways to improve. By following this formula, I’ve achieved success in various aspects of my life, from fitness to business. So in other words…motivation is equal to showing up and doing the work so that we enjoy the success we deserve.

Making hard choices may seem daunting, but they lead to an easier life in the long run. By simplifying the process, finding enjoyment in the journey, and surrounding yourself with positive influences, you can trick your brain into embracing challenges and achieving your goals. Remember, life will be hard either way; it’s up to you to choose the hard that leads to growth and fulfillment.

Onwards and upwards!

Interested to learn more. Book a free 30-minute consultation to learn more about how I can help you create the life you want to live.

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