Some people don lucky hats first, others stroke a rabbit’s foot, tidy up their desk, home or office, and still other people follow a different set pattern of behavior before taking on a given task. They do it to charge up their energy, to get their thinking patterns focused on the mission that they want to accomplish, and because the soothing ritual is a gateway to subconscious insights that will thus reach conscious minds. Whatever the motivational effort, it precedes a desired sequence of events. The umbrella term for all that is “A Motivational Routine” and it has a respectable history.
Famous figures such as Anna Wintour, Benjamin Franklin, Craig Newmark, Oprah Winfrey and Steve Jobs have shared their motivational routines with the public. Their techniques run from asking self-reflective questions to sequential routines that break down a day into specific tasks at specific times. Scheduled breaks are sometimes included in a person’s motivational routine. Breaks allow for reflective thought, plus focused and startling insights that can prove to be helpful.
Motivation can be a puzzling concept as this motivational 10 Mindful Minutes TEDTalk indicates, but then meditation isn’t for everyone. Some of us need physical acts that we repeat at will, to get our productivity pumping. As a November 6, 2013 article in Forbes magazine explained, “Motivation is a Muscle.” Like all muscles, it requires constant, consistent efforts to maximize its potential. By the time you and your mind become accustomed to the manner in which you motivate yourself, you’ll have developed a very, very helpful habit. Your default setting will be for productive behavior and thinking. That’s a power setting for people who meet up to exercise with each other at gyms or on jogging routes, for individuals who must manage staff, family or classroom members and/or only themselves. They fulfill their assigned or chosen obligations no matter the interruption due to ingrained habits that result from motivational routines.
Psychology professor Dan Ariely breaks motivational routines down to an understandable science in A Mental Trick to Help You Accomplish Challenging Goals.
Many homes and offices sport motivational messages on walls or desks. Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are full of them. Those mottoes make the difference between inactivity and productivity, even when a person needs to rest.
Other advantages of motivational routines aka habitual behaviors are that they put the person on auto-pilot and competence mode. People whose minds and bodies flow with familiar patterns tend to address all relevant issues with a given task, not neglecting important details. This can be a lifesaver among healthcare workers, first responders, teachers, factory workers and people in other occupations. So the next time you want to roll your eyes at someone repeating a favorite motivational mantra, you can choose to forgive them instead. Perhaps your sense of annoyance is your conscience, prickling you to come up with one of your own.