One Question Can Spike Your Motivation

[3 Minute Read + Activity] Try this alternative approach to goal setting that’s targeted at unlocking your inner motivation.

Discover more about your bold mind every Monday

One Question Can Spike Your Motivation

Do you find most goal-setting questions somewhat anodyne and unrelatable? Try this alternative approach to goal setting that’s targeted at unlocking your inner motivation.

I’d like to share with you one of the best goal-setting questions for supercharging your motivation that I’ve ever heard.

I first heard it posed by Justus Murimi, a business coach with capitalism.com, who was running a course I attended.

I’ve worked as a business consultant my entire professional career, which is nearing 30 years. I’d hate to try to translate that into the number of goal-related questions I’ve asked or answered. So you can appreciate the delightful, intoxicating feeling of hearing Justus’ question. That question is:

What would I be proud to say I have accomplished 90 days from now?

A good question has the power to move mountains. It can trigger your worldview to pivot in a moment and fling the doors of possibility wide open. Justus’ question wasn’t just good; it was outstanding.

He didn’t ask what I could accomplish, or what I should accomplish.

He asked what I would be proud to have accomplished.

Why is that so powerful? It’s because it flips the script on most goal-setting questions.

Most of these questions are extrinsic – focused on external factors like earning money, delivering outcomes for others, or measuring yourself against others (or beating others, particularly in the case of some sportspeople). Essentially, you’re doing it because you want to earn a reward (or avoid punishment).

I felt proud to finish the Andes Challenge in 2017

However, Justus’ question unlocks your intrinsic motivation – which is all about what drives you internally – what makes you happy and fulfilled, regardless of what’s going on in the outside world or what other people are doing.

Multiple research studies have proven that intrinsic motivation is the most powerful and sustainable form of motivation. It’s almost like flicking a nitro boost switch on your enthusiasm. Research by McKinsey revealed that when employees are intrinsically motivated, they show 46% higher levels of job satisfaction and 32% greater levels of commitment to their jobs.

At the same time, they’re a lot less likely to experience job-related burnout – which means that employees are a lot more likely to want to stick around with their employer.

I’d like you to answer Justus’s question – and perhaps pose it to your team members too. What would you be proud to have achieved 90 days from now?

Grab a pen and paper, or open the Notes app on your phone, and jot down your thoughts. You might be surprised at the motivators it could unlock – and the potential opportunities it could open up.

Discover more about your bold mind every Monday

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