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“I should be more motivated!” Ever said that? “Just get motivated and you’ll do better.” Ever heard that?  Are there things you want but can’t find the energy to get? Have you looked for the switch, but can’t find it? We’ve all been there! Clearly something’s amiss.

Or more accurately, something’s missing. Motivation is one of those life skills that’s never taught and often misunderstood. It’s not just a goal; it’s not just an attitude; it’s not just a dream that calls to us. Those tactics work … sometimes. They pull us onward.

But there’s an opposite force that can sack our dreams. It’s the push away of the not’s – “it’s too hard,” “I’ll probably fail,” “there’s not enough time, money, or support.” Ignore these and their power grows. Then motivation drops.

Motivation is a skill, an ability to get the inner, driving, enthusiastic energy going. To get it, you need to use both the push and the pull. Think of it as a scale. The pull forward desires and push back resistors can tip either way. When the can’t’s are heavier, that’s the place to start.

How? To pluck a can’t off the scale, avoid measuring how heavy it is or examining how bad it is.  Instead, ask a simple question: “How can I change that?” Hit a plateau in a sport, job, or relationship? Your “how change” answer might be adding a training session, finding a mentor, or creating surprising treats. If the can’t’s still arise, go for even smaller changes. Finding a mentor is huge; getting advice from a colleague or reading a book by someone you admire is easier, doable, and energizing.

The secret to motivation is not goal setting. That’s the direction finder. The real key is knowing what to do when goals and “get going” directives don’t work. Making small changes that unbalance the push aways is the missing link!

In brief …

Robert Frost, American poet (1874 – 1963), gave us a simple action plan.

“The best way out is through.”

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About the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA)

The USDLA, a 501(c) 3 non-profit association formed in 1987, reaches 20,000 people globally with sponsors and members operating in and influencing 46% of the $913 billion. U.S. education and training market. USDLA promotes the development and application of distance learning for education and training and serves the needs of the distance learning community by providing advocacy, information, networking, and opportunity. Distance learning and training constituencies served include pre-K-12 education, home schooling, higher education, and continuing education, as well as business, corporate, military, government, and telehealth markets.