zenhabits : breathe

Top 20 Motivation Hacks – #3

Quick intro: I first intended this Top 20 list to be in a single post, but I decided that breaking them into separate posts would allow me to concentrate on each a little more. So, I present my list of the Top 20 Motivation Hacks.

A number of people have commented that I must be dedicated to achieve some of the goals I’m going for: exercise, frugality, organization, healthy eating, etc. Well, I don’t believe in someone being naturally “dedicated” … it’s all a matter of motivation. You can achieve anything if you motivate yourself enough.

Motivation Hack #3: Create a friendly, mutually-supportive competition.

We are all competitive in nature, at least a little. Some more than others. Take advantage of this part of our human nature by using it to fuel your goals.

How to do this? If you have a workout partner or goal buddy, you’ve got all you need for a friendly competition. See who can log more miles, or save more dollars, each week or month. See who can do more pushups or pullups. See who can lose the most weight or have the best abs or lose the most inches on their waist.

Now, I understand that such a contest might not be fair if you are of different capacities. Your SO might run faster than you, or be much more experienced. Then set different goals, or weight your performances. You might try losing a certain percentage of your weight or waist, or increasing a certain percentage of your mileage or savings. You might see who can save a certain percentage of your income. Or give the weaker competitor a head start — and let the other try to catch up. The key is that if the competition is too unbalanced, you have to adjust it somehow so that it’s a lot closer, otherwise neither competitor will be motivated much.

Set up a challenge, where each person publicly challenges himself/herself, and tries to meet that challenge. Each person’s challenge will be different, but the competition is to see who can reach their challenge.

Why mutually-supportive? If this competition is truly friendly, you will want your friend to do well. Thus you will help him or her along, even if you are in a contest. I’ve run a half marathon while cheering on my fellow competitors … I cheered on one guy while we ran several miles together, and he did the same for me. We were running a race, but we both wanted the other to make it to the finish. It didn’t matter so much who crossed the finish line first — as long as we both did our best, and we both finished.

Another tip: compete with yourself. If you’re logging in your goal, such as workouts, then you can compete with yourself from week to week. This can be a lot of fun too.
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