Motivation Mistake: Setting the Bar Too Low
“I’ll do my best” sounds like a worthy vow to make, but it can actually suck the motivation right out of you. “This type of vow is vague, making you more likely to procrastinate,” says Gary Latham, Ph.D., a professor of organizational effectiveness at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. The result? A mediocre or disappointing performance.
Solution: To step up your game, set attainable goals that are clear and challenging and give yourself a deadline. “Specific goals help focus your attention and increase your effort, which helps you persist longer,” says Latham. And since you have a plan of action and a time frame, you’re less apt to put things off. Another important point: Concentrate on three to five big goals at a time. “Any more and your eyes glaze over and you burn out,” says Latham.
2. Motivation Mistake: Testing Your Willpower
We spend three to four hours a day resisting the things we desire, says Roy F. Baumeister, Ph.D., coauthor of Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength. That’s why you can turn down that frosted doughnut in the morning but have a harder time resisting the drive-through after work. Willpower can be exhausted from overuse, research shows, and when this happens, your brain either makes impulsive decisions or stalls out. “You shy away from complicated decision-making when your willpower is depleted,” says Baumeister. “Rather than trying to perform the mental trade-offs to decide what’s best, you look at one factor such as which item on the menu is cheaper, and base your choice on that.” And, he adds, “the more often and the more recently you’ve resisted desires, the more depleted you are and the more likely you’ll give in to the next one.”
Read More: womenshealthmag.com