5 Science-Based Tools For Boosting Motivation

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1 year ago

"Lesson number 1, do not think, just do it.

Lesson number 2, do not forget lesson number 1".

In plain English, motivation is the internal process that initiates, or the force that guides or drives an individual to achieve goal or purpose. I am not saying without motivation, a goal could not be achieved. But with motivation, the route of obtaining whatever goal becomes easier and produces more effective result.

There are plenty of science-based tools to boost a person's motivation but I have selected the top 5 that I believe are easy, flexible and light to implement in your life.


1) Have a clear goal

“Our beliefs about what we are and what we can be, precisely determine what we will be”
― Tony Robbins

What is manifested to your brain is equal to what your brain will synthesize. How can you achieve your goal if you do not even know precisely and specifically what you are aiming to obtain. Doing without knowing precisely what you are aiming for is like 'running fast with a pair of eyes close'.

I rather run at slow phase but having my two eyes open wide.

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There was a research published in American Psychological Association, in 2010. Study on how setting, elaborating, and reflecting on personal goals improves academic performance. In that study, they did an investigation whether an intensive, online, written, goal-setting program for struggling students would have positive effects on academic achievement. 85 students that experiencing academic difficulty were recruited to participate in a randomized, controlled intervention. Participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 intervention groups: Half completed the goal-setting program, and half completed a control task with intervention-quality face validity.

After a 4-month period, students who completed the goal-setting intervention displayed significant improvements in academic performance compared with the control group. The goal-setting program thus appears to be a quick, effective, and inexpensive intervention for struggling undergraduate students. 

Help yourself to grab a pen, jot it down in a specific way of writing. Be specific on what, when, how to achieve it. Take note of those figures and numbers if your goal is a measurable target; such as weights or financials.

*If your goal is to cut some unwanted excess pounds from your body weights, check this out, my articles that many people find it useful. I provide guides and tips on weight loss based on my real experience 62.5kg to 47kg in 3 months, of being 'obsessed' Pt I and 62.5kg to 47kg in 3 months, being 'obsessed' Pt II. Proven effective.

**This entry written by me when I wasn't yet turned vegan. So you will find a paragraph or two of non-vegan-based-meal suggestion/s.

So now you have two eyes widely open and sharp like an eagle, how do you run without properly fueled?

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2) Take your time, prepare your own healthy breakfast

As per Dr. David S. Ludwig, a nutrition expert at Harvard-affiliated Children's Hospital Boston, you may start off with an energy deficit and have to tap into your energy reserves if you miss your breakfast. Our body consumes energy to digest the dinner that we had at night before we go to sleep. As we wake up, our body requires good nutrients to fuel and energize our day ahead.

There was also a research conducted by Masato Kawabasata from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore published in Nutrients MDPI, on April 2021. This study was conducted to examined the combined effects of breakfast and exercise on short-term academic and cognitive performance. 82 adolescents (64 female), were randomized to four groups over a 4-hour morning:

(i) a group who fasted and were sedentary (F-S);

(ii) a group who ate breakfast but were sedentary (B-S);

(iii) a group who fasted but completed a 30-min exercise bout (F-E); and

(iv) a group who ate breakfast and completed a 30-min exercise bout (B-E)

Individuals completed academic and cognitive tests over the morning. Adolescents in B-E significantly improved their mathematics score (B-E: 15.2% improvement on correct answers, vs. F-S: 6.7% improvement on correct answers).

The B-E group also had faster reaction times for congruent, incongruent and control trials of the Stroop Color-Word Task compared with F-S.

Good evidence demonstrates the benefits of regular breakfast intake on cognitive function. The immediate benefits of breakfast are evident on measures of memory and in terms of fewer errors on tasks related to attention. Satiation and hunger alleviation, improved fuel and nutrient provision for the central nervous system, and an increase in the synthesis or levels of brain neurotransmitters are all mechanisms via which breakfast may mediate short-term improvements in cognition.

Peanut Butter. Apple and Seeds Oatmeal

Lacking inspiration? Get some idea on how to prepare a quick and the most tastiest oatmeal ever. What you need is just 5 minutes of your beautiful morning to have this healthy bowl of Peanut Butter, Apple & Seeds Oatmeal as your day-starter to fuel up your motivation.

What is the goal and how to decorate your 'wall-of-success' are already well written too. Body is fueled with brilliant selection of nutrition. What is the next step?

3) Make your body sweats

Whenever you feel tired or feel weak, well, go hit the gym. If gym facility is not available at your living area, put your running shoes on and start running. Is this statement sounds absurd to you? If so, you definitely need to give it a try. If you do love a good, hearty gym workout, keep going. But if you don't, just getting off the couch and moving for a little while can help.

"Intentionally moving your body in more gentle ways throughout the day — like walking, stretching, taking the stairs, doing the dishes — can still add up in good ways for your mood." says Karmel Choi,  researcher at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

I did run a lot whenever I feel demotivated, whenever I'm not in a good mood or sad. When I'm mad, I prefer to do weight lifting or whole body workout. Squat jump combined with mountain climber is one of my favorite super-set. As I am jumping higher, sprinting faster and crunching my abdominal tighter, I squeeze out my inner stress and let it absorbed by the ground, my motivation afterward is like a relentless warrior. 30 - 45 minutes decent workout per day, three times per week is sufficient enough to build your stamina, to boost your motivation and as a bonus score, you gain great health and longevity. Isn't that a good trade to execute?

Vision is set, fuel is filled, physical gear is powered up. What next?

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4) Affirmation

Affirmation helps a person psychologically by initiating him/her to believe in the potential of his/her action(s). Positive affirmations do not only uplift your day, but also help to develop your self esteem and confident. Timely affirmations have been shown to improve education, health, and relationship outcomes, with benefits that sometimes persist for months and years.

A research published in Sage Journals, conducted by Rebecca A. Ferrer, MD in Basic Biobehavioral and Psychological Sciences Branch, National Cancer Institute USA, stating that  self affirmation - a theory based technique to affirm the adaptive adequacy of the self, can promote positive behavior change and adaptive outcomes.

Self-affirmation acts as a psychological trigger into a positive channel of resources that facilitate behavior change. With set of inspiring affirmations, your motivation will spike high throughout the day. This is one of my favorite guided positive affirmations. Enjoy!

5) Meditation

How can meditation related to motivation? Or setting/ achieving a goal?, Meditation, at its root, retrains attention, and different types boost varying aspects of attention. Once you are able to center your attention and focus on your goal, you will get directed to a smoother route of motivation and success. Like taking a straight highway, you could save a lot of time and energy.

Science now tells us the concept of attention refers not just to one ability but to many. One of them is "goal focus", or “cognitive control,” keeping a specific goal or task in mind despite distractions. Cognitive control lets us focus on a specific goal or task and keeps it in mind while resisting distractions. Even beginners in meditation can sharpen their attention skills, with some surprising benefits; a decrease in the activity of the amygdala; the brain’s radar for threat (in the midbrain’s emotion circuits) responsible for the fight-freeze-flight response. With an increase of activity in the prefrontal circuitry (behind the forehead), the brain’s executive center, which can learn, reflect, decide, and pursue long-term goals (basically what makes us humans).

Richard, one of the author of book, 'The Science of Meditation' and other neuroscientists had found that when anger or anxiety is triggered, the amygdala drives prefrontal circuitry; as such disturbing emotions reach their peak, an amygdala hijack paralyzes executive function. But when we take active control of our attention—as when we meditate—we deploy this prefrontal circuitry, and the amygdala quiets. The prefrontal cortex takes up a larger ratio of the brain's top layer. This neural zone, as we will see, holds the seeds of awakening to enduring well-being, but it is also entwined with emotional suffering. We can envision wonderful possibilities, and we also can be disturbed by worrisome thoughts—both signs of the prefrontal cortex at work.

A surprise: mindfulness that gained from meditation routine also improves working memory—the holding in mind of information so it can transfer into long-term memory. Attention is crucial for working memory; if we aren’t paying attention, those digits won’t register in the first place.

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You are now seeing with a very clear vivid vision through your two opened eyes, physically fueled and fully loaded with energy. Powered-up your gear with a strong physical body. Psyched-up your mental with hell-bent affirmation. Mind undisturbed and attention sharpened like a hungry tiger that is only seconds away from its prize, your are now ready to conquer the world.


Sources:

1) Morisano, D., Hirsh, J. B., Peterson, J. B., Pihl, R. O., & Shore, B. M. (2010). Setting, elaborating, and reflecting on personal goals improves academic performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95(2), 255–264. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0018478

2) Kawabata M, Lee K, Choo HC, Burns SF. Breakfast and Exercise Improve Academic and Cognitive Performance in Adolescents. Nutrients. 2021 Apr 13;13(4):1278. doi: 10.3390/nu13041278. PMID: 33924598; PMCID: PMC8068805.

3) Ferrer RA, Cohen GL. Reconceptualizing Self-Affirmation With the Trigger and Channel Framework: Lessons From the Health Domain. Pers Soc Psychol Rev. 2019 Aug;23(3):285-304. doi: 10.1177/1088868318797036. Epub 2018 Oct 7. PMID: 30295141.

4) https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/more-evidence-that-exercise-can-boost-mood

5) Goleman, G. Davidson, R. (2017). The Science of Meditation: How to Change Your Brain, Mind and Body, 92, 92-107.




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1 year ago

Comments

This is really informative article my friend. Iearned a lot from this. Me my friend, mostly I didn't eat a breakfast but when I read your article I decided that starting tomorrow I will eat a breakfast regularly.

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1 year ago

Awhh hey sweet buddy! It's heart-warming and comforting reading your comment. Thank you! <3 Definitely, you give it a try then bit by bit you will feel the different to your energy level and most important your motivation. As you keep continue practicing for 21 days, it will become your habit already. All the best for your journey and I wish whatever your goal/dream, you will manage to achieve it very soon. :)

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1 year ago

You're always welcome my friend. Thank you for this. This is a big help and this is a change for good because of your article I had a realizations. Thank you so much my friend. ❤️

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1 year ago

Amazing article, i learned a lot, i like how you used science-based facts to present your points, for a geek like me, cannot ask for more, ready to incorporate the tools that are lacking in my routine and test them for myself.

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1 year ago

Hey! Thank you for the comment. This is the least I can do, to share whatever good practices/experiences that I think could help other people too to achieve their goals. I wish you an amazing week ahead!

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1 year ago