Get Motivated with the Grim Reaper

Updated: Sep 4, 2019


In today's society, it is all too easy to fall into the trap of comfort and contentment, which can ultimately (if you're not aware of it) lead to stagnation and non-achievement.

But why should you motivate yourself to be any different? You may think you're comfortable in your place so why should you change it?

You get to ask yourself honestly, are you really happy with where you are and with what you are doing? Do you feel like you are achieving your goals? If the answer is no then here lies the start of why you should motivate yourself. If you have any inkling that you want to live a different life, a better life, a more fulfilling life, then get up and get motivated!


But hold on a minute you say... that's so much easier said than done. Yes, it is, but once you understand the formula for creating motivation it can all be a little easier.


Firstly you have to understand what it is that motivates you and you should get very real with yourself here (no pussyfooting around). There are many reasons to strive for better, and you have to find what resonates with you. Our reasons probably aren't your reasons, so find whatever pulls at your heart, not allowing any others to dictate it for you. Once you decide your reason, use it as a drive to get you to where you want to be. Every time you stumble, every time you fall or you think you're gonna quit... REMEMBER YOUR WHY. Recall your reason for starting in the first place, for it is the basis of all change and it will be your biggest motivator.


Secondly, you want to stay positive throughout the process. One excellent way to do this is to praise and reward yourself for every forward step you take. Focus on feeling good and celebrating yourself. You are the catalyst for changing your own life.


And lastly, make sure you succeed and succeed often because watching yourself win is what spurs you on to keep going. The way to ensure success is to keep things simple and break big goals down into little goals. The more times you can tick off a box and shout "YES!" (even if it's just within your head), the more motivated you will be.


So, there you have it. A three-step formula for building and maintaining motivation.


If you want to get all the details including how the reality of death can get you into gear, check out episode #004 of The Podcast.




PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION #004

Matthew  

Hello, and welcome to Episode Four of Foxes Collide. My name is Matthew..


Ellen  

and I'm Ellen.


Matthew  

How are you today? 


Ellen  

I'm brilliant. How are you?


Matthew  

I'm good. 


Ellen  

That's good. So what's our episode about today babe?


Matthew  

Today it's about motivation. Self-motivation, motivating yourself. The main three steps that I've found that are important in initially building motivation, and then maintaining it.


Ellen  

Okay, Awesome. What's the first step? Let's get straight into this.


Matthew  

Okay. So to begin with, it's about having a strong why. It's really important to have a good reason. Because you'll find almost all the time we can even look back at school, probably almost everybody had a subject that they didn't particularly enjoy, and we can hazard a guess that they probably didn't put that much work or effort into that subject and the reason is because they didn't care that much. Maybe if they did, it's because they had a bigger reason. So maybe they thought, well, I need to do well in the subject, even though I hate it because of this, whatever it is, their motivation may be to get into university or whatever it is, but they had a reason to push themselves through the discomfort. I think most of the time, we don't have good reasons for why. And in some sense, our culture now has created a sense of comfort, which enables us to not push ourselves too hard, then we just don't form a good reason why to do something. So to begin with it's about having that reason, it's about what it is you want to move towards, or perhaps what you want to move away from. 


Ellen  

That's great because I think a lot of people and myself included, we look at what we want to move towards, but we don't necessarily look at what we want to move away from and what we don't want to have in our life anymore. So that's cool. Maybe even writing out what you want in your life and then also write out what you don't want to keep in your life, the habits...


Matthew  

It can even be emotions, feelings, it can be things that you're experiencing, something you experience regularly. It could be anxiety, it could be insecurity, worry, you can break those things down, look at them and think well where's this coming from? How can I remove this? Probably best to do examples, right? So we can look at health and fitness, an obvious one. So you can think about what you want to move towards in terms of a healthier self, a healthier body, a healthier mind. But maybe there are things you want to move away from, maybe every time you wake up you have an ache in your back. I used to wake up with an ache in my back. 


Ellen  

Yeah, you did.


Matthew

I don't have that anymore.


Ellen  

Yeah. So that would be something that, maybe whether you were conscious about it or not about saying I want to move away from this, I don't want to have this anymore in my life and I'm going to therefore within my fitness routine, bring in practices that are going to help remove that from my life. I'm not sure whether you were conscious about that or not, but it's been something that has occurred due to what you've been doing and the input of your fitness routine.


Matthew  

Yeah, there definitely was a conscious element. There was a piece of me that thought, I don't want this for the rest of my life, I don't want to be aching, I'm not old. Even then you know, you can be old and not have aches. 


Ellen  

That's a really brilliant little line there, that you can be old and not have aches and when I was working in the nursing home and studying nursing a lot of people have this mindset that growing old, you start to deteriorate, which your body does, yes, there's things that happen with the body system, processes slow down, skin gets thinner. All these small things, but just like dementia, aches and pains don't have to be a normal part of ageing and dementia as well is not a normal part of ageing. So people have these ideas about what ageing is and that, oh when I get old, I'm going to be in pain, my body's not going to work so well. But that doesn't have to be the case. If you take care of it and you're aware and you're conscious about the way you age. So I just thought I'd put that in there because I really liked that little bit. 


Matthew  

Yeah, that's good. So... what you're moving away from or moving towards.


Ellen  

Yes, haha getting back on track here.


Matthew  

Yeah, if you can get clear on that, that's a very big thing. It's actually quite a good place to start in terms of getting rid of things, and simplifying and removing. We are wrapped up in a culture that is all about accruing more stuff, getting more things to make yourself feel better and so, it's quite humbling to look at what you can maybe strip away. So there's plenty of reasons and yet, the truth is, most people don't push themselves and I can look back at my life, and I can look back and see almost everything we've just spoken about and not a lot of it was enough. Maybe I was just too lazy. Maybe it's the way we're raised or maybe it's certain factors that occur in our life, but we don't all push as hard, some people just don't and It's not necessarily a flaw, it just means you've got to find something to grip on to, you've got to find something that pushes you, something that motivates you and for some of us, it occurs in events.

Sometimes we go through life, maybe not very motivated, maybe drifting somewhat, and things happen. One thing happens, maybe a second thing a third thing or a fourth thing happens and these are unpleasant experiences, a lot of the time. These are things that make us feel low, make us feel weak, that make us feel unhappy. Maybe that first time or second time, that third knock on the door is still not enough to shift us but eventually, maybe you hit a point and some people would class this as rock bottom, something else steps in and gives you a slap in the face and wakes you up and that becomes your motivation. Maybe not to feel that way ever again, maybe to make your life into something greater, to get out of that place and not return to it. 


Ellen

A lot of people see those rock bottom places and those times where they feel so low and so bad, they see it as such a negative thing and it does feel like that at the time. But most of the time, from my own experience, those low times, those rock bottoms, it has been the thing that I needed to turn my life around, to shift my way of thinking, to be my motivator. I needed that. The first, second and third times, you're right, it wasn't enough, it didn't push me enough, it wasn't uncomfortable enough to make me change, but then a big fat slap in the face, that was enough. I was at the point of, right I have to do something.


Matthew

I think now with a greater perspective we can maybe not manufacture one of those moments for ourselves but we can certainly make ourselves feel more uncomfortable. Because the core aspect of those rock bottom moments is discomfort that makes us take action and makes us shift in some way and how we can then do that without necessarily reaching that lowest point is to remove comfort from our lives and to really take account of what we have with us and around us that we're not happy with. I think we have these passing thoughts of, oh I'm not very happy with the way I look, maybe it's just whenever you look in the mirror, but you try not to think about it any other time, you distract yourself with this, this and this. So it's not enough, you're not being in that full discomfort. You're distracting yourself. We're in a world now, where we can distract ourselves all the time.


Ellen  

And the majority of the population, spend their lives distracted, trying to move away from discomfort.


Matthew

Their own discomfort. The work here is to look at it, the work here is to face it, turn and face that and embrace it, because that's what motivates you. That's what creates change. You'll never create change if you keep running. So we can lean towards it step by step a bit at a time, find something that's maybe a source of insecurity like I'm not happy with this, so I'm going to work to change this. Not until I truly feared for my health did I actually quit smoking. I knew I wanted to quit. I knew I didn't want to do it for the rest of my life, surrounded by people who also said the same thing, I'll quit in a few months, Quit next month, whenever it is, never today, it's always tomorrow. It wasn't until it really hit me how much it was impacting my health, that I was willing to make that change.


So we are in a world that does contain quite a lot of self-destruction and a lot of habits like this, that we know aren't good for us, but we still do them and that's because there isn't a big enough reason to not do them. There just isn't a big enough reason to actually say, I'm going to stop doing this to myself, but I do think we can begin to manufacture it if we make ourselves a bit more uncomfortable. If we really look at the feelings behind it, how we actually feel about it, we don't just go, Ahh I don't feel good about this, but...


Ellen  

..oh well I'm just gonna keep doing it and stay in the same place and not move forward, not change. 


Matthew  

You gotta work to find that why because the why is the thing you're always going to go back to whenever you're doing something and you hit a hurdle that why is going to be there. If you want to do this job just to make some money, and you're not getting that money straight away, you're gonna lose your motivation very quickly. You've got to have a reason that really holds true to you and that really pushes you forward and that's where we'll go a little bit deeper into this avenue and we'll talk about death. 


Ellen  

Yes, I love this topic, even though it sounds pretty morbid to say I love this topic. But, in order to really start to live your life, you have to come face to face with your mortality, and everybody else's mortality. That means looking at your friends and your family and really taking note of how much time you have left with them, on this earth and with yourself and when you really start to understand and get grounded with your mortality and realise you've got a set number of years left here, then you can really start to go, I'm going to use my time, I'm going to count up, how many years, how many hours, how many seconds, you know, make it realistic, and go, Whoa, okay, I've got this much time. These are the things that I want to do in my life. These are the people that I want to be around. 


Matthew  

So there's the statistic about your family and this idea that, by the time you are in your late teens, early 20s, you've spent most of your time that you will, with your family. Up to 90/95% of that time, because you were living with them, you had seen them every day, day after day. And then you get older, you spend more time with your friends socialising, you move out, you've got work, you've got all these other obligations and even if you are close to your family, even if you live in the same town as your family, those minutes and hours and days don't add up to a lot compared to what you spent with them as a child.


Ellen  

It's such a sobering thought and it makes you grateful for the time that you do spend with those people that you care about, with your friends and family. Because if we only do have 5% of our time left with our family, you don't want to spend any of that time with them wasting it. You don't want to spend any of that time arguing. 


Matthew  

Not even just in terms of people and the time spent with people, but what is it you want to do with your time on this planet? What do you want to see? What do you want to experience? Again, you can use death and your limited time here to push you forward and motivate you. 


Ellen  

That's such a strong motivating factor, death and our time.


Matthew  

Yeah, if nothing else is strong enough. If getting a better job is not enough. Then think about spending that time that you have alive in that thing you hate. Think about the fact that work takes up more time than anything else in human life, work is where you're spending the majority of your time, so make sure you enjoy that time. 


Ellen  

Exactly. When you're lying at the end of your life on your deathbed, and you think, wow, what did I do with my life? I spent 60 years in a job that I hated. 50 years, 40 years, 30 years, that job...


Matthew  

It makes you want to quit. Just that thought makes you want to quit. The very least you begin working out how you can, you know if you're in a situation where you can't just drop everything. You build that plan in place straight away, you've just got to figure out how do I get out of this as soon as possible? How can I change this as soon as possible?


Ellen  

Because you don't want to be lying there on your deathbed, regretting those 30, 40, 50 years that you spent in something when you could have been doing something else. Most of the time when people are lying on their deathbed. They always say what they didn't do, what they regret not doing.


Matthew  

Yes, there's a lot to do with regret.


Ellen  

It's all to do with regret. I didn't spend enough time with my family. I didn't tell them how much I love them enough. I didn't pursue this dream that I had. I didn't follow this passion that I had that was always there niggling at me. I never followed it because I thought I had to do this, or I thought I had to follow in this person's footsteps. I thought I had to achieve this because the world and people kept telling me that I had to achieve something else.


Matthew

So coming out of that place. 


Ellen  

Yes. That deep, heavy place. 


Matthew  

It's a little bit heavy but important. Yeah, very important, it's crucial, I think, for a lot of people. It's what motivates a lot of people. I can say for sure that facing death and facing, the way I'm spending my time and what I'm spending it on and not being happy with that, that's what shifted a lot for me. Recognising that maybe I could be doing something a bit better, and enjoying things a bit more, in the brief time I have here.


Ellen  

To be honest, it's something that's come up a lot recently for me because I have been thinking about that. I hadn't really been introduced to that idea before, no one had brought it into my awareness that that's how much time I've got left. I think it was only the other week or the other month and we were talking about how much time we've got left with our family and I think I wrote it down. I calculated it and that was what made me go, wow I want to spend more time around my parents, I want to see them more because if I've only got 5% left of my time, I don't want to waste that. I want to tell them how much they mean to me. 


Matthew  

Moving forward. After you've got your strong why it's important to stay positive and there are many methods for this. So that's what we want to talk about now. When you're pushing towards something, and you're going to maybe hit some hurdles, some roadblocks how can you keep yourself up, keep yourself strong? And that's why of course having that reason, that why, to push you is very important, but you've got to enjoy it, you have to enjoy it. We don't stick with things we don't enjoy for very long. You see that, you look at any statistic to do with dieting, you'll find that most people who've been on a diet end up putting all the weight back on, maybe even more than they had before and it's because they've restricted themselves in a way that provided them with discomfort and unhappiness.


Ellen  

They didn't enjoy what they were eating, or they didn't enjoy the exercise that they were doing. 

Matthew  

Absolutely and that takes some thought because people don't diet on McDonald's, so that means you've gotta change what you like, you've got to think about what it is you like and how you can turn that into something healthier. Whatever it is, if it's fitness, exercise, certain forms of exercise are mind-numbingly boring or just horrible, you just don't want to do them. But there are a lot of forms of exercise and you can find something that you do enjoy, something you do attach to, and feel excited about. So the last point I want to mention in terms of staying positive is to do with community, who surrounds you, and just ensuring that those people support your goals. There's just so much there isn't there? 


Ellen  

Yeah, there is, I think it's important to have people around you that really lift you and keep you on that, track, that positive track haha might sound funny, but yeah, there's people that you'll find in your life and you'll get to gauge it better, the more you are aware of it and the more you become more conscious of it, there are certain people that you're around that don't necessarily lift you up to continue achieving the goals you want to achieve that don't push you to become a better version of yourself. You want to make sure that you surround yourself by the people that do and that will help you to achieve your goals more. You'll find that brings you a lot of positivity, a lot of great feelings, a lot of energy that you get when you're around these people. 


Matthew  

Because you're sharing the excitement. You're sharing the excitement around that goal and achieving it. 


Ellen  

Yes, especially if you're also helping them to achieve their goals and back and forth. So you'd have great friends and family that would support you, I'm sure, in achieving the goals and the things that you want to achieve and there'll be people in your life that you'll want to do that for. So making sure that you just spend your time surrounded more so by those people.


Matthew  

Third, and lastly, is succeed, it's important to succeed, and you associate succeeding probably with the end, the result. Like that's it, I've done it and you would also associate it with this idea that you have to have that motivation first, to then be able to succeed. But it's been shown now that what actually creates massive motivation is watching yourself succeed.


Ellen  

Boom. Yes!


Matthew  

Right? Watching yourself succeed and I can attest to this, you can attest to this. When you start to set yourself into some goals, and you start to see one little thing fall in place, and then another little thing fall in place and you pat yourself on the back and you say, Well done, I did it and you do it again, you do it again, you do it again. That is where the motivation sets in. That's where you start to get into a stride with it. Would you agree? 


Ellen  

Yes, I agree. One hundred per cent. I think when you see you're small successes or your big successes along the way it just pushes you to keep going because you want to keep succeeding, you just see so much...


Matthew  

Growth, and progression. 


Ellen  

Yes. Yes! Matthew, you always have the words, you always have the words when I don't. I love it. Thank you. 


Matthew  

And the best way to experience that success is to set your goalposts a little bit closer, have those goals be a little bit smaller, a little bit more attainable. So then you have that reason to celebrate, really bring it into the small, the micro-scale. This one thing you did that day and celebrate yourself for that, that's a success, I did that today. That's when you have that feel good, that feel-good emotion. You have those feel-good hormones, everything comes in, you feel alive, you feel powerful, you feel motivated. And that's the key of it. Right? 


Ellen  

Yeah! You go, Yes! I achieved that and I can achieve more and I can keep going because you realise how much you're capable of you realise that you can do it, you can get to where you want to get to. It's all up to you. It's all up to you to push yourself, to keep yourself motivated and just stay positive through the process and celebrating yourself. Essentially it comes down to celebrating you and celebrating what you've achieved and what you can do.


Matthew  

Yeah, it makes it all feel more possible. I think that's, that's another big thing, is maybe not always believing that what you want to achieve is possible. I think that's a very strong one that most people struggle with, this idea that I want to do this thing, whether it's a career goal, health goal, whatever it is, but am I even capable of doing that? Is that even something I'm even made to do, am I built to do this? Can I be that person? Maybe you were told you couldn't be that person when you're younger, whatever it was, but you had certain stories in play, that just made it seem a little bit out of reach. So when you have these successes, when you have these, you start to stack that up, you start to believe more in yourself and self-belief is the crux. You've got to have some self-belief. 


Ellen  

Absolutely. I think a lot of the time people put things on pedestals, as if they're so out of my reach, because this thing, I don't feel like I can do that, that must be for people that are really, really good at this thing, but the difference between them and you, those people that have succeeded is because they've pushed themselves to get there. They're only there because they've tried and they've pushed through all this pain, all the heartache, all the suffering, everything that they've gone through, they've pushed themselves, they've motivated themselves, they've celebrated themselves. So you can do it too. It's not on a platform that's out of reach.


Matthew  

There's a formula. 


Ellen  

There's absolutely a formula and it's about understanding that formula and putting it in place so that you can get to that pedestal for yourself. 


Matthew  

There we go. So I think those three points are very big, definitely where to start when it comes to motivation. Have a good strong reason for why you want to do what you want to do. Stay Positive through that process and succeed. Succeed on any level, even on the smallest scale, and just stack those wins up, to keep yourself in the game.



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