Post By: Steve Graef, PhD | Tuesday, March 3, 2020


It's one thing to identify a goal, it's another to remain motivated enough through the year to pursuit it! Hopefully, the tactics we discussed in yesterday's article, Start with One, can help, but we need all the support we can get! For starters, you might be one that cringes when you hear the word “motivation.” Images of parents, teachers, and coaches stating things like “you're just not motivated”, “you need more motivation”, “the key to success is motivation” might be filling your noggin. Ugh, enough with the motivation already! But much like many of the life lessons we hate from those in authority when we are young, truth is, they're actually kinda right. I know…damnit. You see, though we can do a lot of things without much motivation, either out of habit or having to (which interestingly does have some under the surface motivation), we could also do ourselves a service by leveraging aspects of motivation to help enhance the likelihood of us continuing with our 2020 goal pursuits.

But what exactly is motivation? Motivation is that psychological fuel that propels us towards a desired goal. Motivation can come externally, it can come from within, and it can come from a variety of sources. Money can be motivating. So too can the desire for self-growth. I could go in depth about all sorts of motivational theories and sources, but that would overwhelm you and I need additional content for later posts. What up content calendar!? So today, let's just start with one…the power of social motivation.

Social motivation is a scientifically supported source of motivation and is not surprisingly defined as our ability to be motivated by, and for, other people. Unless you're in the bush of Alaska or deep in the Amazon jungle, my guess is you are surrounded by people daily. Whether at home, at work, or out and about, people…are…everywhere. As such, we might as well use them to our advantage, especially for something as positive as accomplishing our 2020 goals. Want to know how? Here are three ways.

Community. One major way that we tend to use others as a source of motivation is when we choose to enter into a team. Once we are on a team and we have a common goal, we tend to not want to let our team down. Whether we did it for our mama, our hometown, or for the United States of America, joining in and identifying as part of a team are crucial for staying motivated. Want to commit to fitness? Join a bootcamp. Want to get better at public speaking? Attend toast masters. Want to read more? Start a book club. The team atmosphere feeds off of each other. You don't want to loaf, not show, or forget to read. You want some motivational fuel? Use others to fill up your gas tank!

Call it out. Has a friend of yours ever asked you to attend an event, but in the moment you didn't have the heart to say no? What happened? If you're like me, and many others, you probably went to that damn event because you didn't want to go back on your word. Yep, once you put your decision out into the universe for others to witness, it takes on a whole new power. You see, we don't want to go back on our words, nor do we want to be that asshole that says things and never follows through. We can use this social commitment to our advantage. Did you decide on a key goal for 2020? Awesome! Call it out to the important people in your life. Shoot out a post on social media letting your followers know what you've committed to. Doing so strengthens your commitment not only vocally, but behaviorally. You're going to think twice about skipping the gym if you know your Starbucks barista is going to ask about it. Need another way to leverage social motivation in your 2020 goal pursuit? Tell others about it.

Compete. Does competition ever sneak up on you? Even if you are not a super competitive person, I am sure there are those people or situations when that inner competitive fire gets stoked. When it does, what happens? Yep, you go revamp your own wardrobe. You go buy your own plane ticket. You also decide to start drinking a little less. Anything you can do, I can better…whether we say it or not, sometimes we think it, and “better” yet, we try it. So, in the final social motivation tip we can use others in our goal pursuits by deliberately competing with them. Want to go to the gym? Bet a friend that you will go more than she does. What to become more financially fit? Compare monthly costs with a co-worker buddy. Want to travel more? See who gets more passport stamps in 2020. Yes, us social animals like to commune, but we also like to compete. Use that reality to our benefit. Your goal can't be beat, if you compete.

Conclusion. We often forget about the others in our lives. Not only from an appreciation and gratitude standpoint, but also as a source of challenge and significant motivation. As such, consider your tribe, your squad, your crew, and either join their cause, tell them your goal, or offer up a challenge. That is how you harness the power of other.