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Power Motivation Techniques: How to Effectively Motivate Yourself & Others

by Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc. M.Sc(Hons)

The secret to motivation is the way you communicate - with yourself, and others. Communicate in a particular way and all you'll get is resistance and apathy; change your communication style and you will get enthusiasm and positive action - from yourself and in those you coach!

WHAT IS MOTIVATION?
What is motivation, and where does it come from? How do we 'get motivated', and how can we motivate others in an effective manner? How come some people always seem to have so much motivation and energy, while others struggle with apathy and lack of direction?

Put simply, motivation is an energy - an energy to do, to accomplish. In order to understand this energy a little better, take a few moments now to think of a specific time when you were really motivated - a time when you felt that energy to do, strongly. Take the time to remember where you were, what you were thinking, and how you motivated yourself. How did you communicate with yourself in order to get motivated?

You will no doubt have found that you used one of two simple motivation strategies - either a positive motivation strategy, or a negative motivation strategy. Now in this context 'negative' doesn't necessarily mean 'bad', and positive doesn't necessarily mean 'good'.

I define negative motivation as a form of motivation that moves you away from a negative happening or experience - moving you away from something you don't want to happen. The essential motivating part of negative motivation is the thought of something 'bad' happening. Negative motivation often comes from an external source with the threat of some kind of punishment if you don't do something. For example, your parents telling you you have to clean up your room, or mow the lawn, or you won't be allowed to go out on Saturday night. Or your teacher saying you must have the assignment handed in by Monday morning, otherwise you'll get detention. Or your coach shouting that you should concentrate harder or you'll never make the team. And so you motivate yourself to do whatever it is, because you don't want those negative consequences to happen

Of course, you can also motivate yourself in this negative way - for example, leaving early for work because you don't want to be late; doing your homework assignments because you don't want to fail; watching the foods you eat because you don't want to get fat.

POSITIVE MOTIVATION
In contrast, positive motivation is a form of motivation which moves you toward a positive happening or experience, moving you toward something you do want to happen, and the essential motivating part of positive motivation is the thought of this 'good' experience or result happening. Some examples of positive motivation are someone working out at the gym four times a week because they like the way they look and feel when they work out regularly; or working to a study timetable because you want a good grade; or putting in 100% effort in training because you want to be in the starting lineup for the game on the weekend.

It's useful to recognise that while both negative and positive motivation can have important roles in motivating us to avoid personal danger, get out of bed in the morning, earn a living, keep healthy and fit, achieve recognition in our sport, and so on, there is a significant difference in the consequences of using each type of motivation in your life.

Negative motivation can result in excessive anxiety and tension, while positive motivation tends to positively energise and arouse you. Negative motivation causes you to think about what you don't want, while positive motivation gets you focused on what you do want. Having a positive focus, particularly as a sportsperson is just so important - because we move toward what we think about. I like to say that human beings are like guided missiles, and the guidance system of us is the thoughts we think. Think about not wanting to go into the water trap or the bunker when you're about to hit your iron off the tee, and that's often where your end up! Think about not wanting to get nervous and mess up the important speech, and that's often just what you do! Think about not being late for that important meeting, and often everything seems to conspire to make you late!

We move toward what we think about, so it's important to imagine and picture what we want rather than what we don't want. It's been identified that the top performers in any sport are invariably more positively motivated than negatively motivated - what motivates them are strong desires for their dreams and goals, and this is one reason why having goals (discussed in my previous article) is so important.

HOW DO YOU COMMUNICATE?
One way to identify your current motivation strategy is to simply pay attention to the words and images you use when you're motivating yourself, or others. What words do you use when you want to motivate yourself, or someone else, to do something? How do you communicate with yourself and others to achieve motivation?

If you're saying to yourself things like, "I have to go to training today"; or "I've got to improve my fitness"; or "I must concentrate harder"; or "I ought to practice more"; then you're using a negative motivation strategy, and you're not managing yourself as effectively as you could.

Remember, positive motivation grows out of desire and wanting - not from should's, have to's, ought's, and must's. I believe the more you can choose to live your life and do every task from a "I'm doing it because I choose to and want to" way of thinking and talking to yourself, the better your life works, and the more successful you are in the long run. Working in this way with yourself, you manage yourself better and you don't get 'resistance' from yourself because you feel forced to do something again your will. Remember how you felt when your parents said you had to help with the dishes, or had to mow the lawn, or had to do some other chore, when you wanted to watch television or play with your friends? You felt pushed and of course you resisted, and as a result your heart wasn't in it when you did the chore, was it? The same thing happens if you communicate to yourself in that way - if you use "have to's", "ought to's", "should's" and "must's", then you'll find yourself unconsciously resisting yourself, even if it's a task that's worthwhile, for a cherished goal you want to achieve.

The thing to realise and understand is that often in sport the only thing that keeps a competitor going is their heart - and if your heart isn't in something, you'll eventually give up. Communicating with yourself using negative motivation language is a sure way to lose heart, and you're too good for that.

So from now on, every time you hear yourself say "should", or "ought to", or "must" or "have to" about any task that you're undertaking ..... stop, and deliberately change your language to 'want to". You want to "want to"! Rather than should, ought to, have to and must, use words like want to, like to, desire to, love to. You want to do this to enhance your motivation!

Of course, if you're a coach, or manager, or personal trainer, or teacher wanting to build motivation in others, then this information is doubly important, isn't it? Listen to how you've been talking to your staff, players, students or clients lately. Have you been building "want to's" based on strongly desired goals and dreams, or have you been telling them they "should" train harder, or "have to" concentrate more, or "must" be more determined to win?

SIX TASKS
I encourage you to try it right this instant. Right now, think of six tasks that are on your agenda to do this week. They might be work tasks, an assignment due for some course you're doing, home chores, or training for your sport - it doesn't matter. As you think of each task, rather than say to yourself, "I have to do such-and-such", think instead: "I want to get that report to my boss by Friday morning"; or " I want to go to the gym three times this week"; or "I want to practice my chipping for an hour three afternoons this week"; or I want to get the washing and ironing done tomorrow". I now use this process for everything I choose to do - including wanting to put in my tax return on time!

Did you notice the difference in the way you felt about the tasks when you changed the language you used? You would have felt more relaxed and at ease about doing the tasks, and felt more 'motivated' to do them.

MOTIVATING OTHERS
I recently read that because so many people are so used to motivating themselves negatively, in order to be most effective in motivating others, first state what you DON'T want, and then state what you DO want - in the same sentence.

What is important is the sequence in which the negative and positive aspects of the directions are given. For instance, if I were giving instruction to a football or basketball team about improving on their defence, notice how the order of what I say influences your response. Which of these two statements is more appealing to you? :

"This time, let's start aggressively and maintain concentration throughout the entire match. No missed tackles, fumbles, or sloppy passing." OR "This time, no missed tackles, fumbles, or sloppy passing. Let's start aggressively and maintain concentration throughout the entire match."

Most people find the second statement more useful, because you are made aware of what to avoid, and then given a positive direction or goal at the end - which is what remains most clearly in your mind. Of course, in my opinion, an even better alternative would be a pure positive motivation statement such as : "This time, make every tackle, hold on to the ball, and pass accurately. Let's start aggressively and maintain concentration throughout the entire match."

Why accede to others' negativity at all? Let's teach them how to be positive!



About Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc.(AES) M.Sc.(Hons)
Jeffrey Hodges is a performance consultant to elite athletes, sporting teams and corporate clients. He is the author of the widely acclaimed "Sportsmind - An Athlete's Guide to Superperformance Through Mental & Emotional Training" and "Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings"; creator of the Sportsmind performance enhancement workshops and audio tapes; and Director of the Sportsmind Institute for Human Performance Research.

He is a NLP Master Practitioner and Associate Trainer, and his Sportsmind programs have been endorsed by the NSW Dept Sport & Recreation, and recommended by top sportsclubs and successful athletes. Jeffrey has competed in many sports, notably Volleyball, Squash, Soccer and Golf, and currently trains in Aikido, holding a black belt.

Some of his clients to date include :
Australian Rugby Union
St. Joseph's College
Woodlands Golf Club
Financial Institutions Remuneration Group (FIRG)
Societe Generale
Qld. Swimming
Network for Fitness Professionals
North Sydney and Penrith Rugby League Clubs
Qld. Athletics Assn
NSW Netball Assn
Northern Inland Academy of Sport
Victorian Soaring Assn
Orange Agricultural College Equestrian School
Qld and NSW Departments of Sport and Recreation
Qld Academy of Sport
and the RAAF.

For more information, contact :
SPORTSMIND , 77 FLAXTON MILL ROAD
FLAXTON Qld. Australia. 4560.
PHONE 61 7 5445 7994
email : jh@sportsmind.com.au
website : www.sportsmind.com.au

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The Power of Commitment: How to Develop Irresistible Momentum

by Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc. M.Sc(Hons)


BUILDING CHAMPION MOMENTUM
The key to your achieving success in your chosen sport, or any endeavour for that matter, will not be as a result of a different diet, or through a new cross training regimen, or with the latest technologically advanced running shoes, or the latest software package, or gee-whiz laptop computer - it will be a result of your ability to establish and maintain physical, emotional and mental momentum toward the realisation of your personal vision.

Understanding, and employing, the principles of making things happen allows you to turn a vision from an attractive dream into a fulfilling reality - by chunking it down into achievable goals and action plans. In this article I will show you how to generate irresistible personal momentum to turn your dreams into a reality.

MAKE YOUR SPORTS DREAMS A GOLD MEDAL REALITY
After you have committed yourself to a personal vision which you feel truly passionate about achieving - the next step is to go about achieving it! Having dreams is important - but lot's of people have dreams, yet they never achieve them. So how do you turn a dreams into a reality?

The most important thing is to understand how you got to be where you are now - because where you are, now, was at one time just a dream wasn't it? Isn't it true that there was a time, for instance, when you hadn't even started playing or competing in your chosen sport, or working in your current career - and to reach the level or position you're currently at now was just a dream?

How did you make that dream happen? Essentially you made a decision to do it; to follow a particular path.

Your decisions precede all your actions and so determine who you become. Everything in your life, including your current sports performances and your current level of financial and career success, is determined by the decisions you have made, and are making right now. Your decisions determine what you think, how you feel, what you do, and who you become.

DECISION POWER
If someone is achieving greater success than you, the reason is simply that they have made different decisions.

Different decisions about their approach to training and how they spend their time; different decisions about how they respond to obstacles and problems; different decisions about who they hang around with; and especially, different decisions about what they want to achieve in their sport, career, and personal life.
Unfortunately, most people don't make these kinds of decisions consciously - they just hope they do well, and then wish they had done better! However, hopes and wishes are not good enough to succeed at a high level. If you don't consciously make these kinds of decisions - about what level of performance you expect of yourself, and what you want in your life - then you've really decided to let other people, or the whims of the environment, direct your destiny.

Do you like to think that your life is controlled by someone else? Yet I hear outside excuses from people all the time about why they haven't achieved more in their sport, in their career, or financially. "I'm not the right build"; "I'm too young"; "I haven't had enough experience"; "I haven't got the opportunities or contact they have"; "I don't have enough time"; and so on.

You've heard similar excuses, and perhaps you've used some of them yourself - I know I used to, and I still occasionally fall into this trap. Yet I soon realise, as you do, that these are just conditions - and it's not the conditions in your life that hold you back, but rather the decisions you make! Your performance is determined by what you decide to do, given whatever conditions you currently have in your life - that's what makes the difference.

Some people are born with a natural sports physique, have large financial resources, or live in an ideal environment. However, lots of those people, even given these advantages don't achieve their potential, do they? They're not as successful as they might be.

However there are others who come from a poor background with physical, environmental and social limitations who throw off the bonds of those conditions to achieve sporting, career, and financial successes way beyond expectations.

How do they do it? Simply by making committed decisions. A committed decision has enormous power to positive affect your performance.

REAL DECISIONS
For your decisions to make a real difference in your life, they want to be true decisions. Many people use the word decision to mean preference - things they'd like to have happen, or hope or wish to happen, rather than real decisions about things they will make happen.

When you make a true decision, it engenders a feeling of firm commitment to make it happen, leaving no choice for any other option. For instance, if you really decide to give up smoking, then you'll do it. If you really decide to reduce your golf handicap to single figure over the next twelve months, then you'll do it. If you truly decide increase your monthly income, then you'll find a way to make it happen.

Most people just list preferences rather than make committed decisions: "I hope I get the promotion"; "I'd like to earn more money this year"; or "I hope I'm selected for the team". These are just wish lists, and have no power to positively change your life or enhance your sporting performances.

MAKE YOUR GOALS DECISIONS
Right now think of a true decision you've made recently - something you decided on, and followed through with. Perhaps a decision to move house, take up a new job, start some kind of study, or maybe even the decision to buy this magazine! Notice how you thought about it, and identify the exact moment of decision, when you said to yourself, "Yes, do it".
Think of something now that you haven't made a definite decision about yet. Notice how you think about that, and compare the differences in what you see, hear, and feel to the time you made a definite decision. You'll find that you think about the two experiences very differently.

How have you been thinking about your sports goals and dreams? Do you think about them more like the time you made a definite decision, ...... or more like something you're just 'considering' but haven't really committed yourself to yet? Think about achieving your dreams in the same way that you think about buttoning your shirt, or driving your car ...... simple, easy, no questions - I'll just do it.

COMMIT TO ACTION
Remember, true decisions are always followed by actions.

If you truly decide to get a new job, you'll check out the papers on Saturday morning, or take your resume to an employment agency. If you truly decide to end a relationship, you'll confront your partner and talk about it, or you'll pack your bags! And if you make a true decision to play to a higher standard in your sport, or reach a cherished sports goal, then you'll do something about it - you'll take some action. Until the point of action, it's just been something you've been 'considering' - action makes it a true decision.

When you make a definite commitment to a particular decision, it also unlocks the energy within you to achieve it. I'm sure you've had the experience of agonising over a decision about something for weeks or even months - you know how such indecision can totally sap your drive, because you have no clear direction. However, as soon as you've hopped off the fence and decided one way or the other, you're able to start moving again.

So, right now, you could use the power of a true decision to change your life. The question is, will you? The motivation, the power, the energy to succeed comes from making committed decisions. Why not make some for yourself, today?

About Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc.(AES) M.Sc.(Hons)
Jeffrey Hodges is a performance consultant to elite athletes, sporting teams and corporate clients. He is the author of the widely acclaimed "Sportsmind - An Athlete's Guide to Superperformance Through Mental & Emotional Training" and "Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings"; creator of the Sportsmind performance enhancement workshops and audio tapes; and Director of the Sportsmind Institute for Human Performance Research.

He is a NLP Master Practitioner and Associate Trainer, and his Sportsmind programs have been endorsed by the NSW Dept Sport & Recreation, and recommended by top sportsclubs and successful athletes. Jeffrey has competed in many sports, notably Volleyball, Squash, Soccer and Golf, and currently trains in Aikido, holding a black belt.

Some of his clients to date include :
Australian Rugby Union
St. Joseph's College
Woodlands Golf Club
Financial Institutions Remuneration Group (FIRG)
Societe Generale
Qld. Swimming
Network for Fitness Professionals
North Sydney and Penrith Rugby League Clubs
Qld. Athletics Assn
NSW Netball Assn
Northern Inland Academy of Sport
Victorian Soaring Assn
Orange Agricultural College Equestrian School
Qld and NSW Departments of Sport and Recreation
Qld Academy of Sport
and the RAAF.

For more information, contact :
SPORTSMIND , 77 FLAXTON MILL ROAD
FLAXTON Qld. Australia. 4560.
PHONE 61 7 5445 7994
email : jh@sportsmind.com.au
website : www.sportsmind.com.au

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The Power of 'Will'

By Jeffrey Hodges

To successfully attain a lofty goal in elite sport – or in any endeavour for that matter – you want to understand and fully appreciate the different levels of motivation and personal ambition, and the driving force underpinning all successful achievement.

Volition – human WILL – is the power that nurtures and maintains all of our physical, emotional and mental actions and behaviours. Even the tiniest movement of the body, or any act of thinking first begins with the will to do so. Without volition we cannot walk, talk, think or work, and even our emotions involve a degree of volition ... to feel anger, or compassion, or boredom, or confidence you first must 'decide' to feel that emotion, rather than another.

So how is your will power?

An important aspect of will is that will involves decision . Ask yourself ... have you decided to achieve your goal, or is it just an idle wish or vague hope that you get it? Have you decided not only on the end result, but also on the process of getting there .... And have you also decided to accept and to do what is required?

Examine your thoughts, feelings and actions regarding your goals. Do you have a clear vision of the exact future you want? Are your goals just something you hope will happen to you? Are they mere wishes based on luck and good fortune coming your way? Is the force of your desire for them easily extinguished by setbacks, or distracted by other activities or people? Have you acted and persisted in your actions in the face of the inevitable challenges, criticisms, doubts and setbacks that have come along? Do you learn and adapt after each attempt and action step? Are you enjoying the journey ?

To merely 'hope' for something is to be a passive victim of the will of others, or to want to be 'lucky' that the whim of circumstance falls your way. To wish for something begins to awaken the will, but wishing is the weakest form of human will, for it is primarily in the imagination and rarely leads to success.

A desire is a stronger wish, which starts to not just engage the mind but also the emotions, and is often followed by fitful efforts to bring it into action... however specific desires can quickly fade or be replaced by other competing desires.

An intention or a determination to act is a more powerful act of will in that it is a strong desire expressed through action for the accomplishment of a specific purpose .... Such an intention however can often be discouraged by challenges, setbacks, opposition or failure to achieve the desired goal as expected or after a few unsuccessful attempts.

The most powerful form of will is a volition – which is inspired by a vividly imagined future outcome, fuelled by a passionate desire to achieve it, and which involves a continuous series of dynamic, undiscourageable determinations and acts until the result is attained.

The mantra of volitive action is "will and act until victory is attained". No matter how challenging the goal, or how impossible it may seem at the moment, the volitive athlete never stops repeating determined, conscious acts of intention to achieve it as long as they live.

Will gradually evolves as we grow, from the automatic 'physiological will' of the new born baby that cries as it tries to remove the discomfort of the first painful breath as the lungs begin their lifetime activity for the first time. The young child then develops 'unthinking will' – that of unquestioningly following and obeying its mother, up until about the age of 2 – 3 years of age at which time it develops its own sense of self, and begins to express resistance when its desires conflict with parental or others' instructions.

In this first act of obstinacy, the child has developed the next stage of its evolving will – that of 'blind will'. The will at this stage is called 'blind' will because if is not usually guided by wisdom... but rather the will is used in an explosive and reckless manner, rarely pursuing any worthwhile purpose and wasting energy and effort on ungoverned appetites and fleeting pastimes.

Eventually, with experience and through recognising the consequences and futility of blind will and the application of discrimination, the youth learns 'thinking will'. If one's thinking will is made to revolve around a definite purpose, it becomes volition.

A powerful will, by its own dynamic force, creates a way for the fulfillment of its intention – understand that the human will is an electromagnetic power that broadcasts vibrations into the ether and nature responds accordingly by creating favourable circumstances.

While the development of will for one's own personal aspirations is important, it is helpful to remember that will derives strength from honest and lofty purposes and through collaboration with others in a desire to advance the good of all.

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What Clients Like About Sportsmind & Jeffrey Hodges

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