New goals for the new year? Let’s talk a little about motivation as you try to get those new goals accomplished. Whether they are personal goals or ones you’re setting for your organization, here are some of the ways to motivate yourself and your team toward action. Change management is always about taking the right action to move you forward.
Dopamine is Your Friend
Both the desire to do things and the act of getting them done are linked to the neurotransmitter dopamine. Your brain lights up its pleasure and reward mechanism when dopamine hits it. So accomplishing things generally feels good and it tends to motivate us to want to do more. You know when you get started on that big presentation that you really feel like putting off and suddenly 15 minutes into it you’re not quite as overwhelmed? That’s dopamine surging and prompting you to keep going.
What gets you more dopamine? All the stuff your mother told you was good for you: sleep, working out, eating your fruits and veggies, and play and social connection. So yes, go out with friends to the bar – just maybe have one drink, eat a salad, and be home at a decent hour.
Set a Low Bar
Deciding to do something and then actually doing it grows your confidence. Whatever that something is – whether finishing that leadership book or getting that report done. With this confidence, you can build your motivation to try other goals. Change happens when people are provided the right combination of motivation, the right level of ability and some type of trigger – but all at the right time. BJ Fogg, founder of the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford, suggests lowering a task’s difficulty to meet your ability is a great strategy. You can break down your big goal (read the whole book) into smaller goals (read one chapter a week and apply one learning at work each week).
Connect to the Why
And of course, knowing your why is the key to making any lasting changes. Instrinsic motivation, those connected to our core values or sense of identify, is more meaningful and lasting than external rewards. Simon Sinek suggests asking yourself “And why does that matter?” as you evaluate your reasons for putting those new goals on your to-do list. You may find that connecting with the why you’re reading that
Take any small action toward your goals! Small actions build you into being a better leader able to connect and motivate you team and drive change in your organization.