Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

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It’s the worse feeling to be unmotivated! No one likes to be a slacker!

“I know I should do better at my job, but I just don’t feel very motivated.”

“My wife is bugging me to work on my anger and I know I should. One of these days…”

“My finances need to get in order, but I just haven’t gotten around to it.”

OK, you get the idea. There are things we need to do, but don’t, because we just aren’t motivated. Well, a couple of researchers who study motivation and behavioral science give us insight into what the key to motivating ourself just might be. What does it take to move yourself from not doing to doing, especially when you know how to do something?

You might think, I just need to find those highly motivated people and get advice from them. Or maybe I need an expert to tell me what to do. Turns out, neither of these are very helpful strategies.

Instead, you motivate yourself by giving advice to others. Surprised?

Here is what happened in the study. The researchers asked people who had problems with motivation in a particular area to give advice to others regarding that same problem. When the study participants gave advice to others, it wasn’t that the clouds parted and new knowledge appeared. What did happen was that by giving advice on a problem-area they had, their confidence increased. And that increased confidence translated to more motivation to do what was needed.

Think about it. The reason for low motivation wasn’t because the people in the study didn’t have knowledge about their problem of self-control. They actually knew a lot. For example, those who needed to lose weight knew a lot about weight loss, or those who needed a job knew what to do to find one. But the act of giving advice on their areas of knowledge somehow empowered the person to get active. As they were helping others by giving advice, they could hear their own words. This process helped motivate them to action on their goal.

So the next time you feel unmotivated, think like this. If I really don’t know how to do something, I can ask for help. But if reaching a goal is something I do have knowledge about and know what to do, then giving advice to others might just be the kick in the pants I need.

After all, it is more blessed to give than to receive!