Getting out of bed…

This morning I was "motivated" to get out of bed by my 9-month-old baby daughter loudly proclaiming that room service was not to her satisfaction. What got YOU out of bed this morning? More importantly, continuing our theme of looking at how to run your brain, HOW did you get out of bed this morning?

The problem with asking you this is, of course, that you've been running your getting out of bed strategy automatically and unconsciously for ages and you may not have even noticed that you are using a strategy. So here are a couple of hints to spark a few ideas:

Many people use a variety of the "voice, picture, bad feeling" routine. The alarm goes off and you look at it. You lie down again feeling how comfortable you are. An internal voice starts to talk about consequences If you stay here… etc. Then you make a picture of a time you were late before. You feel bad but not bad enough to move. You then go round the cycle again until you are motivated to move out of bed.

If you use a variation of this approach then you probably motivate yourself by generating unpleasant feelings until you’re motivated to avoid them. Some trainers believe that this kind of anxiety is good because it gets you to do things and if your motivation strategy runs on anxiety then they are probably right.

A less common approach is to lie in bed picturing all the things you are going to do during the day and feeling good about doing them. These good feelings then pull you out of bed. Using this approach you generate the good feelings you will have when all your things are done. People who use this way of motivating themselves often break an unpleasant task down into smaller chunks and picture themselves having good feelings as each chunk is done. People motivated this way tend to move toward what they want to have happen and often live in a world without the anxiety, unpleasantness and stress that many people experience.

Now you may use a combination of the two - moving away from what you don’t like and towards what you do like - and if it gets you out of bed then don’t knock it. You’ll find that your motivation strategy is pretty common across the rest of your life and if you listen carefully to people talk, you can find out what their motivation strategy is as well.

Imagine how useful it would be to know whether your partner, family, team or boss were motivated by moving towards things or away from them. You would then know whether to talk about the prospect of reward and success (the carrot) or about fear of the consequences of not doing it (the stick). After all, it’s no good frightening your team with the stick if they are motivated by the carrot and equally no good talking about the carrot to someone who needs a large dose of anxiety to get them moving.

So, this week, do you move away from lying in bed or towards your day? And what is everyone else doing?


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