In the last article I proposed that we often confuse motivation with inspiration. This time around I’m going to discuss the second part of the equation, the discussion of values and purpose as it pertains to staying perpetually motivated — I may at some point use ‘why’ and ‘purpose’ interchangeably.
I’ve written about values and purpose briefly before, here.
Some people refer to this as the ‘inside out concept or approach’ and it has everything to do with developing ‘intrinsic’ or ‘internal’ motivation, within an organization or within an individual.
Which is the quality we are really looking for from motivation, mostly because of the lasting long-term effects.
I encourage you to read Simon’s Book or at least watch Simon’s TED talk (it’s free) and find a thought process that links you, as an individual — not a business, which is the nature of his talk — to this concept. Most people try to get fit backwards, they focus on what, some focus on how, but very few people focus on why.
They work from the outside, in, rather than from the inside, out.
The people who focus on ‘why,’ make fitness a part of their identity and have the most consistent success.
If you take nothing else from this, I hope that you learn to recognize that seeking out tools for success is futile if they don’t first align them with your own personal philosophy — everyone should have one!
Why are you doing what you are doing right now?
If you are trying to get fit, why are you doing that?
I’ll give you a hint, it is often deeper than, ‘I just wanna be healthy’ or ‘Doctor told me I need to lose some weight.’
You need to understand what drives you, or at a bare minimum the purpose of incorporating fitness into your lifestyle. What will it add to your why?
Once you’ve established a purpose statement, or found a strong link between fitness and your lifestyle. then like a compass and a map, purpose combined with values will help guide you through the journey.
Sit down right now, with a pen and write out 2-3 things about yourself that you truly value.
2-3 things that you would never give up on.
2-3 things that are so deeply entrenched in your personality, you could never separate those things from yourself.
When faced with death, you would choose sticking to these values or principles over selling out just to live, that’s how deep a meaning they should have to you.
It can be more than 2-3 — I have 7, still trying to whittle them down, this process probably never fully ends and I come back to them yearly.
Then write a paragraph defining what each word means to you.
Don’t use these just because I listed them but some ideas may include; health, freedom, financial security, integrity, honesty, loyalty, openness, kindness, control, balanced, passion, efficiency, etc…etc…
Once you’ve written these values down, start thinking about how they would relate to a personal philosophy. Define each with a paragraph; Not by their literal definitions, by their personal definitions.
Try writing yourself a mission statement or one or several guiding statements that encompass what you want to accomplish with your life.
Other things you could write includes a purpose statement, which is also called a tombstone statement or or you could do a SWOT analysis, or vision statement.
What in one sentence would you want others to say about you when you’re dead?
What is your personal motto?
Then work to define them in detail.
Just write, and write and write. Don’t worry about editing, you can edit later. *Little tip I’ve learned since I started writing.
Let it sink for a day or two, then come back to it and write some more or scratch out the irrelevant.
You should have a why statement at this point and/or a list of guiding values or principles.
This will enable you to work from the inside out moving forward and your decision making process will become much smoother.
Looking for examples?
Derek Sivers has an excellent example of 10 philosophical guiding principles here.
Google publicly posts their 10 philosophical guiding principles here. As well as having an ultimate guiding business motto, “Don’t Be Evil.”
For the record, I love this idea so much that I’ve been promoting my own personal motto, “Enhance Quality of Life,” for years now.
Coach John Wooden (one of my idols) had a whopping 15 principles, in his Pyramid of Success philosophy.
*It supposedly took him 12 or 14 years to develop this…who knows how much longer to refine…
The point is, that it doesn’t really matter ‘what’ you write, or ‘how’ you present this, or ‘how’ you go about figuring out why.
The point is that you are developing an understanding for why you do the things you do before you figure out ‘how’ to do them or ‘what’ you need to do with them.
In the end, if you stumble across inspiration regularly by putting yourself in the right environments, and discover why you do things, you’ll have all the motivation you need.
Purpose + Values = Long-Lasting Motivation